Enterprises need to be agile and tuned to their customers’ needs. Apps have proven they can be transformative technology that no business can ignore. Dan Richards, Head of Client Services at Insight Group, shares his thoughts about the importance of integrating this technology in an Adviser business. 

The first mobile phone call was made over 30 years ago. Since then the mobile has become ubiquitous. There are now nearly 40 million smartphone users in the UK, with eMarketer predicting that 85 per cent of all phones in use will be smart by 2019.

Smartphones offer businesses a conduit to their customers and clients that simply hasn’t existed before. Add to this the burgeoning use of apps and anyone can now make a fast, intimate and commercial connection with their clients. Scott Fleszar, vice president, Strategic Marketing at Tax & Accounting, Thomson Reuters comments: “The mobile app enables practitioners to bring their clients a whole new dimension of functionality while maintaining their own branding and identity. It’s a way to collaborate and stay productive without being chained to a PC, to automate the delivery of information and build better relationships, and to provide a level of service and sophistication that wasn’t possible for small and mid-sized firms in the past.”

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The app has become an essential tool for businesses. Having powerful applications in the palm of your hand is a transformative paradigm that all businesses are realising. According to Nielsen the average time using Apps has jumped by over a third. Content is the key to making any app indispensible for its users. Financial tools are an excellent example of how apps can deliver these services on a platform that is now at the centre of business management. Apps can include tax calculators and other applications with up-to-the-minute information delivered instantly via push notifications.

In their 2014 Mobile Behaviour report, ExactTarget state: “Whether it’s push notifications, text messaging, emails, or something else, brands must provide overt explanations of forthcoming value, respect time and frequency of consumers’ communication preferences, and ultimately be honest about what consumers will receive in return for messaging privileges. Once the opt-in is garnered, consumers will warm up quickly if the benefits are tangible—just look at the 91 per cent of consumers who subscribe to brand text messages and agree that they’re useful.”

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The level of personalised interaction that apps now deliver is unprecedented. With app usage spanning a wide age and geographical range, businesses can leverage their apps as the foundation onto which their marketing activity is built. The personal connection that apps deliver can’t be underestimated. The app economy is alive and well, developing its use of in-app purchasing, which will eventually make the app a one-stop-shop for not only business advice, help and support, but also a trusted channel to make purchases across.

And apps can be a huge differentiator in the marketplace. As all businesses are now expected to have a website, today those enterprises that have had the foresight to develop their own app are illustrating their understanding of how apps are transforming their client’s businesses. This understanding is ensuring their businesses are standing out from the crowd, which clients gravitate towards when looking for innovative and proactive services delivered to their smartphones and tablets.

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It’s the always-on profile of the app channel that makes it so attractive and powerful. The immediacy of the services delivered by an app but also its ability to make timely one-to-one connections to clients is how apps will develop into the future. Integration will also continue, as firms place their apps in the centre of their marketing strategies. Today, marketing is becoming app first and other channels second.

Apps also make it possible to connect clients to other sources of information that had previously been siloed either in their own businesses, or with their financial advisors. Apps are a superb way to leverage back office information a detailed commercial insight using systems such as intelliflo that can seamlessly connect to clients via their app. This information is released and can be leveraged to massive advantage by an app.

Jason Butler, senior partner, Bloomsbury Wealth said: “We wanted our own app to provide a way of staying top of mind with potential and existing clients, professional connections and media contacts through their smart phones and tablets. The app has several useful tools and features, including the Bloomsbury Wealth Alert. The alerts refer to both new content on our website and standalone short bulletins on relevant private wealth related developments. App users receive a notification to their device every time we issue a new alert.”

As smartphone ownership continues on an upward trajectory, every owner is a potential client of your app. The app economy is expanding and will become as an essential business tool as the Web is today. Developing an app now places your business on the cutting-edge of dynamic marketing, but your app delivers something more fundamental – a new communications channel your clients want to use.

You can get in touch with me here if you would like to discuss how to make App Technology an integral part of your client engagement strategy.

Dan Richards, Head of Client Services at Insight Group.

@MyFirmsApp

http://www.myfirmsapp.co.uk