We get a lot of questions from businesses in the Miami / Ft. Lauderdale area–both current and prospective customers–about the need for Mobile Apps in their business. Usually, these are local, established businesses wondering whether they need to develop a mobile app solution, how to go about it, and why this might help their business. On some level, they see the trend towards mobile solutions, but they just aren’t always sure how to make Software Technology work for their particular business. It’s a great question, and one that we decided to explore a bit more based on our experience as a local custom software developer operating in South Florida for the past 15 years.
There are really only two main reasons why an existing business might want to explore mobile software solutions: they either want to service their existing customers more efficiently, or, they want to manage their business more efficiently as it relates to internal communications and exchange of information. In some cases, their needs involve both. In the end, though, the ultimate motive for any business is to increase revenue or reduce expenses, and all technology investments are usually weighed against this.
In this blog, we’ll explore the first scenario in more detail – businesses looking to service their existing customers in a better way.
To begin with, we note a lot of similarities that are consistent with nearly all existing small-to-medium size businesses in South Florida that we speak with:
• They are profitable and generating revenue – i.e. they have been successful to date and have customers
• There is no in-house software development team – most businesses can’t justify having in-house programmers or project managers due to the expense and the size of their company
• They are hesitant on some level to change how they interface with their customers or employees – the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ mindset
• There is a general awareness that their customers and employees increasingly expect to be able to interact via mobile or web – but there isn’t clarity on how or if these trends apply to their business
• There is a strong focus and concern about the expenses involved, the return on investment, and how the software development process works – open ended costs and timelines can be frightening to a small or medium sized business
Given all of the above, the business owner or stakeholder has a lot to consider. The reality is that the recent mass-adoption of mobile devices have created customers who increasingly expect to be able to transact business online or through their mobile device. A car dealership might want a better way to show their vehicles or financing options to folks looking to buy a car. An online learning center may need a way to enhance the accessibility to their curriculum and tailor content to specific needs. A catering customer might want to quickly and easily see meal options and photos of recent events. An insurance customer would love to check their policy, payments, or even get a quote easily and without waiting for a phone or email to be answered. A dentist might want a better way for customers to make appointments, change appointments, or see what’s available. A restaurant customer may wish to browse the menu, and even place an order, using their tablet. A customer who orders regularly from an office supply company may expect to be able to do that automatically, without picking up a telephone or sending a fax.
This shift in customer preference can be a scary thing for businesses – after all, it’s harder to provide the personal touch to a customer you don’t actively talk to much. And yet, the goal of all businesses should ultimately be to provide the level of service their customers expect. Smart businesses know this. If a customer can’t interact with a business in the manner they prefer, what happens one day when they find a competitor that does support that type of interaction?
This communication or exchange of information, in a seamless and convenient way, is central to the success of businesses in the long term. Those that embrace this software technology fast and early will maintain a competitive advantage against those who don’t.
The business owners we’ve worked with are constantly asking themselves: Am I doing enough to meet the needs of my customers? Am I interacting with them in the most efficient way possible, and in the way they want me to interact with them? Am I developing a competitive advantage over my competitors by utilizing software technology?
We offer South Florida businesses the opportunity to have these discussions with us and draw upon our years of experience doing these type of projects. Our clearly defined process helps pull back the curtain on the software development process. Our consulting team helps define the most successful options for your business. And our full team of project managers, web developers, graphics artist, designers, and software architects guide businesses through the brainstorming, wireframing, project specifications, planning, development, testing, and execution that are all part of a successful software technology project.