9 Things Your Customers Can Do On Their Phones

The smartphone has gone from being a novelty, to a necessity, to an item so ubiquitous it’s always within reach. Waiting on a line? Time to get on your phone for some momentary distraction or to check something off your to-do list.

Entrepreneurial-minded small business owners and startup founders can leverage this ever-present connectivity with moves that push their business forward wherever their audience is. Here are nine delightful ways your customers are using their phones to make their lives easier.

1. Make payments

The introduction of Apple Pay meant that customers have one less thing they need to carry when they leave the house—who needs a credit card when you can pay at many places with your phone screen? But even for those who aren’t quite on board with Apple Pay yet, there are plenty of apps and options for making payments with just a few taps on their phone screen. Venmo is a popular choice—not only for making payments between friends, but also for very small business owners, like street artists. Meanwhile, PayPal, an early giant in the payments space, continues to dominate with its mobile app, and Square has become the app of choice for small businesses confronting an increasingly cashless society.

2. Join a queue

Time is the only currency we can’t get more of, and there’s no more frustrating waste of time than having to stand in a physical line, unable to do anything except, well, look at your phone. Thankfully, there’s now an app for that: Qtrac, a self-described “world-leading queue management system.” Customers can join the queue from their phones, giving them the time to do other things—shop, work, or relax—until they receive notice that their turn in the queue has arrived. It’s been a huge benefit to customers at establishments from regional banks to construction warehouses.

3. Take surveys

Wouldn’t it be great if you could collect your customers’ feedback immediately after they’ve finished their interaction with your service? With apps like SurveyMonkey, customers can take surveys from their smartphone or mobile device in a format optimized for those devices. The ability to make their feelings about their experiences known gives customers the sense that the companies they buy from and work with understand them, and thereby improves customer loyalty.

4. Scan QR codes

QR codes are everywhere, and it’s an interactive way to connect physical media (like flyers or print advertisements) with a digital strategy. Curious customers who see a QR code can do a 1-second scan with their phone’s camera app and open a web link to exactly where you want to lead them. It’s no surprise that QR codes are now ubiquitous in marketing campaigns: it’s a fun way for customers to interact with new and familiar brands without having to install any additional tech on their phones.

5. Translate speech

The Babel Fish in the novels of Douglas Adams allowed instantaneous translation between languages from opposite sides of the universe. Adams’s invention lent its name to one of the first online translation applications, and the descendants of that pioneer are making his speculative idea a reality. While the technology is far from perfect, apps like VoiceTra and SayHi contribute to breaking down the barriers of language in personal and professional settings. When you encounter a customer facing a language barrier—and in an increasingly cosmopolitan marketplace, that’s far from uncommon—apps like this are essential to getting you to a place where agreement is possible.

6. Compare prices

An informed customer is generally a happy purchaser. No one wants to pay more than they need—and no one likes seeing a recent purchase on sale for less at another retailer. Price comparison apps allow customers to spend their money more intelligently. That’s where apps like ShopSavvy and Flipp come in handy. For retailers, apps like this provide a warning: they need to keep their prices (or service) competitive, or customers will go elsewhere. For customers, they’re just another way having a smartphone on hand makes life easier.

7. Keep track of expenses

Sometimes your customers are business owners themselves, or part of your B2B audience. It’s a headache for them to keep a bundle of receipts and printouts—whether for tax purposes, reimbursement, or other reasons. It’s such a natural area that someone would create a more convenient (think digitized!) method that the market is now full of apps to fulfill this very purpose. The variety of alternatives fill different niches, from Quicken (for individual money management) to Shoeboxed (for entrepreneurs and small business owners).

8. Speak with a chatbot

Chatbots are exploding all over the internet—for any business that fields a high volume of customer communications, they’ve become a must-have. If you can’t afford to always have a human customer service representative on the other end to field customer inquiries, it’s best to keep staff in reserve for unusual situations and let chatbots handle the bulk of customers’ issues. With apps like Twilio's MessagingX, you can create high-quality, near-human interactive experiences to speedily and effectively handle whatever questions your customers may have.

9. Complete and sign documents

Manually signing hard copies creates barrier after barrier. Conversely, customers can be hours, not seconds, away from their laptop. Any delay in signing is a friction point for them—and you. Customers expect that if they can securely transfer money, buy retail products and more on their smartphone (as we’ve shown above!), they should be able to easily sign a document, from approving a purchase order to signing a waiver.

Apps like Docusign eSignature play an essential role in document completion and signing, enabling your customers to securely review and sign documents from anywhere, at any time. A smartphone in the palm of their hand becomes a low-cost, 24/7-available extension of your sales, marketing and legal teams. Your customers are used to mobile convenience in every other area of their lives—shouldn’t the e-signature experience offer the same ease?

Smartphone apps that speed, inform and remove barriers are a delight to your customers. Get the free Docusign mobile app and join the mobile revolution today.

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