One of the key benefits to having a smartphone app is the closeness it gives you to your customer; once you’re on their phone, your customer literally takes you everywhere with them. But you also need to be mindful of the agility required to maintain that immediacy.
You need somebody to manage, update and maintain the app on a daily basis, to ensure it is up to date, that you can communicate quickly with your customers and that you stay on top of customer trends.
Also, if you’re having to rely on your IT department, or app development company to update the app all the time, it can get very expensive, very quickly.
We’ve found the best solution for this is to develop apps around a robust Content Management System, CMS. This enables Administrators to quickly and safely upload files and amend content, without having to tamper with the source code. The CMS can also be used to provide valuable feedback to Administrators on usage of the app and other statistics, for instance sales and pipeline information.
The key to success, of course, is to understand from the outset what you want the Administrators to be able to do. Here are some things you need to consider before development begins:
The obvious use for a content management system is, of course, to be able to manage the content in the app. But think beforehand what content you will need to manage.
Is it simply updating text and imagery? You might also want to consider the file types you may wish to upload, for instance simple PDF certificates or video content as these will affect the layout and presentation of the files in the front end, as well as necessitate some compression or even streaming functionality, particularly with video files, to ensure the app will continue to run smoothly.
Push notifications particularly are an excellent way to alert users to new offers and promotions or to send them reminders of upcoming events. The ability to send out push notifications to a user can be incorporated to the CMS so that all your Administrator has to do is type in a message and send it out as a push notification.
You may also wish to include user groups so that only certain subsets of your user base receive certain messages, or even a single message to a single user.
You can also make communication two-way, with customers able to open a chat window and speak directly to somebody in your office.
Of course, this does rely on the app being administered at all times to avoid delays, so that is something else to consider.
Have a think about the information you want to be able to view in the back end of the app.
Within your CMS, you can have a wide range of graphic displays presenting detailed information, but in order to display that information, the app has to get it first.
Have a good idea from the outset of the type of information you want to see in the dashboard, eg. Sales figures against monthly targets, and the app can be developed to gather that information from the outset.
The CMS can also be configured to integrate with existing internal systems.
This includes your CRM and any reporting software you may already be using, for instance booking software or stock management systems. This can also be used to beef up your dashboards and integrate data gathered through the app with data gathered through internal resources.
With 11 years of app development under our belts, we have learned a lot of lessons along the way – some of them learned the hard way.
If you’re thinking of developing an app or if you have a problem for which you believe an app may be the solution, get in touch with AtomicMedia and one of our team will be happy to discuss the options with you.