Category: Mobile Apps

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Credit control by phone

Credit control is an area of telephone sales that is often overlooked. Traditionally, professional firms have sent to clients an account of their fees, followed by statements at regular intervals.

Unfortunately, this method does not guarantee timely payment, and extracting fees from clients can be a painful exercise. It is sensible to agree payment terms before actually starting any work.

Stage payments have much to recommend them, since the client can write several small cheques rather than a single large one, and the practice will have a regular income of funds.

However, there do exist clients who are in the habit of holding invoices for as long as possible, despite having agreed dates for payment. These people have no difficulty in consigning a statement to the wastepaper basket without a second glance.

A telephone call direct from the credit controller, on the other hand, is far more difficult for them to ignore.

Debt-chasing by telephone does have its drawbacks. You may not have the resources to assign somebody else to do it and have to perform the task yourself, and it can be a time-consuming exercise.

Perhaps you will be concerned that a more active pursuit of overdue debt will damage your relationship with a client. You may even feel that clients who have to be chased aggressively for debts are not worth having in the first place.

On the other hand, the use of the telephone to collect outstanding funds is very effective. Making one call can be more productive than sending half a dozen statements or red letters.

In a direct telephone conversation you will compel the client to tell you precisely why he or she has not paid. After such direct confrontation, payment is usually soon forthcoming.

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Tips for getting the most out of your mobile app

Your firm has taken the next step in online marketing with the purchase of a firm app, now what? It can be tempting to take a step back, assuming the hard work is done but in reality, you will need to put a little effort into marketing your firm’s app to ensure it is utilised.

Use these three tips to get the most out of your firm’s mobile app:

Promote your app
There is essentially no point in having a mobile app if your clients do not know about it. This is why it is important to promote your app with every customer contact point. Mention your app to your clients’ in your next conversation, create a flyer for your office, add a link to download your app in your email marketing campaigns, and advertise the app on your social media pages.

Integrate with other marketing
Ensure your other marketing channels, such as your website, email marketing and social media pages include a link to invite users to download your app. This will help prompt your existing clients and new website visitors to download your app. Another option to create online advertisements for your app which are promoted online and on your social media.

Encourage feedback
Strong ratings are important when your app is featured on the App Store. Encourage your clients who are using the app to submit their feedback and ask for any suggestions to improve. You may even create a survey to gather more detailed feedback from users who have downloaded and used the app.

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Mobile websites vs mobile apps

The argument for a mobile website against a mobile app is hotly contested.

Many people feel that a mobile app is not required and that a website that looks good on mobile devices will do the trick. Others argue that mobile apps have benefits not available on a mobile website. Who is right?

All firms need a responsive website that looks great on mobile. It’s not difficult to get a mobile friendly website and there are no real downsides.

Visitors are going to view your website on their devices and you need to support that. It’s obvious that you need a mobile friendly website, but is a mobile app required? Is a mobile app going to serve your firm and clients better than your mobile website?

Here’s a summary of some of the arguments for and against each option to help you decide whether a mobile app or a mobile website is best for your firm.

Mobile website
In most cases a mobile website is not a separate website, it’s a mobile device friendly website that works for all screen sizes. Mobile visitors can access most of the content you have on your full website, but displayed optimally for smaller screens.

Given the ease of access, all firms should have a website that is mobile friendly. The arguments for and against are really just for comparison to a mobile app.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Works on all devices
  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • No push notifications
  • No offline access
  • No app store presence
  • Limited internal app
  • Poor design can cause problems like:
    – Performance issues
    – Cluttered design
    – Poor usabilityA well-designed mobile website can be a huge asset. Given the amount of internet traffic on mobile devices, it’s clear that all firms need one, but it still can’t do things a mobile app can do.

Mobile app
Mobile apps have a number of advantages over websites, i.e., push notifications and offline access, but they also have cons. However, many firms can benefit from one. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Push notifications
  • Offline access
  • Faster performance
  • Less cluttered
  • Improved SEO
  • Get on the app stores
  • Strong marketing message

    Cons

  • Costly setup
  • Costly maintenance
  • Limited use offline

The best choice
The winner depends on your firm. For firms with a limited budget looking for a mobile presence, the mobile website wins. Firms with the financial means, looking to expand their marketing and to demonstrate to clients that they are changing with the times, the mobile app wins.

For many firms, the winner is a combination of both. A two-pronged mobile strategy can leverage both a mobile site and an app for maximum distribution of your content.

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Why get a mobile app

Launching a mobile app for your firm adds another contact point for clients and a marketing channel for new prospects.

Having a firm-branded app in the Apple and Google Play store demonstrates your technical smartness and makes it easy for your clients to download and start using.

Ease of Sending Notifications
Email has been the most widely-used business communication tool, until now. Firms have extensively used email to reach out to their users. As a result, email has lost some of the effectiveness it once had.

Enter mobile app notifications. Push notifications are notifications which users can receive regardless of any activity they are doing on their mobile device. Use notifications to remind clients about important events.

Increased brand presence
Users spend a substantial amount of their time on mobile devices and view the apps installed on their devices almost every day. This routine encounter is an ideal branding opportunity for firms with the mobile app icon acting just like an innovative ad-banner.

Even when users are not actively using a mobile app, they are still reminded of the firm brand associated with the app, the presence of the app can subconsciously influence clients’ perception about a brand.

Mobile device features
Mobile apps have the advantage of utilising features of a mobile device like camera and contact list. Such device features, when used within an app, can make the user experience interactive, interesting and productive.

Apps can utilise native features of mobile devices to enhance user experience. The device features can significantly shorten the time users take to perform a certain task in an app and can even boost conversions.

New Branding Experience
Since a mobile app is distinct from a firm’s website, it offers a new branding experience to users. It means that your firm can experiment with new branding styles for the app, which can be different from the regular brand style of the firm’s website (or the firm altogether).

Going a step further, firms can build mobile apps specifically to transition into a new brand style for themselves.

Apps Can Work Faster
A well-designed mobile app can perform actions much quicker than a mobile website.

Apps usually store their data locally on mobile devices, compared to websites that generally use web servers.

In addition, mobile websites use javascript code to perform most of their functions and the framework that mobile apps use can run almost five times faster than a javascript code.