Homeworking Employees Need Mobile CRM to Be Productive
Remote working has been much in the media lately, I even wrote a blog about it before! Because ever since Yahoo sparked off a firestorm of debate by banning work at home a couple of months ago, with various commentators debating whether it is good practice. Despite Yahoo’s anti-homeworking stance, the trend of doing business outside the confines of the traditional office marches on. And it isn’t just about telecommuting from home.
Figures from the UK government’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure show that 20% of the working population was functioning remotely in 2012 – whether from home, on the move or in client or satellite offices. And Eurostat figures show that nearly half of the businesses in the European Union have provided their employees with portable devices, such as laptops and smartphones, to give them the opportunity to work remotely. BYOD (bring your own device) is also on the rise, with recent YouGov research showing that 73% of UK employees now use one or more personal devices to do their work.
Indeed, companies and their employees today rarely operate solely from the office. The way people do business is increasingly flexible, with employees not only working at home, but hot-desking and setting up virtual desks on the road. Businesses therefore need to be equipped with systems that enable their people to do their jobs – and do them well – no matter where they are. This is particularly crucial for those working with prospects and customers. In this increasingly mobile business environment, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems need to be accessible anywhere, anytime.
And at a time when there seems to be a little hope filtering through in the UK and the rest of Europe, with some economic projections being adjusted upward, companies need to be looking to gain an edge over competitors as opportunities begin to open up. A 2012 Nucleus Research survey of CRM decision makers found that organisations can significantly increase returns on their CRM investments by adding mobile functionality; Nucleus found an average productivity gain of 14.6% from mobile capabilities.
Clearly, this off-site working needs to be supported by enterprise applications, as more and more remote workers require the same access to information that they would have if they were firmly ensconced at their desks. This is especially important in areas of the business that involve dealing with customers. Businesses need their people to have on-demand access to comprehensive and accurate information on customers and prospects – products they’ve bought, services they’ve had, appointments they’ve scheduled, communications they’ve received, previous enquiries they’ve made and any other interaction.
Research conducted by Maximizer last year indicates that businesses are already starting to do this, as the survey of nearly 1,400 small and medium-sized firms in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) revealed that 46% SMEs with CRM systems in place have now upgraded them to include web-accessibility. Nevertheless, the results demonstrate that more than half of them are at a real competitive disadvantage, unless they make moves to empower employees working out of the office to tap into their CRM systems.
Companies can ignore the realities of the modern working world and pretend that all work can and should be done in the office and during regular hours, but that attitude is going to cost them business and make their employees less productive. To allow employees to communicate and interact more effectively with prospects and customers – enabling sale reps to close deals more easily and ensuring that service people always have the latest update on a situation – businesses need to have a web-accessible CRM platform. Mobile CRM functionality gives employees the tools they need to do the best job they can whenever and wherever they are working.
To see what you could do with mobile CRM, why not take our mobile app for a test drive?