Smartphones and tablets have reached a point of ubiquity in modern society that makes them nearly impossible to ignore. Approximately 62 percent of respondents to a Deloitte survey said they check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up each morning. What's more, the study that 93 percent of those polled use their smartphones for work. To a great extent, the personal smartphone has replaced the office phone, and businesses are beginning to adapt to the new expectations and possibilities that come in a mobile-enabled world.

Building out customer relationship management systems that are optimized for mobile can enable organizations to take the benefits of smartphones and tablets to another level. On its own, CRM supports cohesive customer journeys by giving stakeholders quick access to accurate, up-to-date client information across organizational boundaries. If a salesperson makes a note about customer feedback given during an upsell, a customer service representative will see that note when bringing up the account the next time that client calls in for help with something. This kind of visibility is invaluable, but it becomes even more powerful when it extends out to mobile devices.

Mobile-enabled CRM systems empower workers to create positive customer experiences.Mobile-enabled CRM systems empower workers to create positive customer experiences.

Considering the potential of mobile devices in work environments
A Government Technology report uses a hypothetical story to highlight how smartphones and tablets change work possibilities. In this tale, an employee 15 minutes away from a big presentation gets new data and is asked to incorporate that information into the upcoming presentation. Instead of having improvise with that information and point out that existing presentation materials are outdated, the individual simply opens up an app on a tablet and quickly edits the presentation is a couple of minutes prior to entering the meeting.

This same functionality can extend out to customer interactions. If you're on the road about to meet with a client and that customer asks for a custom project, you don't need to wait to be back in the office to file the request and get estimates. Instead, you can use a mobile CRM app to quickly file the order, alert your production team of the request and get an on-the-spot estimate. This type of customer-focused coordination is possible with access to smartphones and tablets.

Besides this specific type of process coordination, three major benefits of a mobile CRM are:

1. Simplify data management
Keeping customer information up-to-date and correct can become frustrating when users are forced to take notes when they are in meetings and traveling for work and then add those notes back when they are in the office. Empowering employees to complete key customer-related processes while on the go ensures that those workers can get the job done in the most timely, simple manner possible. 

The key to success here, however, is to ensure that the CRM is optimized for mobile. Having to access a cloud app through the mobile web can lead to clunky interfaces, poor performance and an increased likelihood of error as mobile web interfaces are often not well suited to enterprise-scale operations. Conversely, a mobile-optimized app can provide the quality user experience needed to make data management simple for users on the go.

"Mobile devices are giving employees opportunities to work in new, more flexible ways."

2. Keep stakeholders informed
Ideally, a sales worker meeting with clients outside of the office will have access to accurate, up-to-date information about the client relationship. In practice, many sales people dealing with locally-hosted CRMs end up checking on client records before they leave and hoping for emails and similar messages with any updates that happen while they are on the go. Moving to a mobile CRM solution ensures that employees with a stake in the customer relationship get updates immediately, regardless of where they are working, allowing your employees to stay ahead of client demands and create positive experiences.

3. Establish a single source of truth
Data tends to become scattered when users are forced to jump in and out of different systems depending on their location. This can create a situation in which the most recent, accurate information about customers is spread over a variety of formats, ranging from notepads and emails to text messages and social media updates. Bringing customer data under a common umbrella with the CRM and giving users access to the application through their mobile devices makes it easier to record and update data in the same place, allowing for a single source of data truth that can be consistent across the entire business.

The growing role of smartphones and tablets in the workplace is giving employees opportunities to work in new, more flexible ways than they have in the past. This potential is only reachable, however, if organizations give workers the apps and services they need to get the job done any time, any where. Mobile-enabled CRMs represent a key tool in this process. MC Services has been developing a new Sales Tracker CRM system that offers this functionality, and we offer technology consulting to help your organization maximize the value of your mobile workforce.