Tablets and CRM, Part 1: A Plus for Productivity
When tablets are brought to CRM and customer service, "virtual teams are able to operate around the world without restriction in supporting customer needs," said James Berkeley, managing director of Ellice Consulting. "Customers have at their fingers tips an abundance of information. That power has dramatically changed the purchasing process and the customer relationship needs, skills and competencies."
The CRM case for tablets is quite clear: Workers are more mobile than ever and need to be able to access their systems on the go. Ditto customers and the workers who service them while on the go. Tablets are more robust tools than smartphones and allow for even greater functionality.
Somehow overlooked in this business case, though, is the productivity factor. CRM applications enabled for tablet use also enhance productivity, in some instances to a great degree.
'An Abundance of Information'
Office productivity technology is poised to deliver significantly more productivity enhancements than it has to date, according to a report from the UK's Center for Economic and Business Research, which predicts further growth of 22 percent by 2020.
One of the tools that will deliver these enhancements is the tablet, suggested Colm Sheehy, senior economist at CEBR.
Now, extend this premise to CRM and customer service.
In a way, this conclusion is a no-brainer, says James Berkeley, managing director of Ellice Consulting.
"Virtual teams are able to operate around the world without restriction in supporting customer needs," Berkeley told CRM Buyer. "Customers have at their fingers tips an abundance of information. That power has dramatically changed the purchasing process and the customer relationship needs, skills and competencies."
'A Transformative Impact'
The upshot is that whole industries are in the process of being disrupted by mobile telephony and tablets, Berkeley said. For example, the speed and quality of graphic images and data potentially transform the entire life and health insurance sector, he said.
"With an increasing trend of B2C rather than B2B -- public and private health insurance exchanges, for example -- the adviser/platform administrator at the point of sales can plug in, analyze and model in front of the client visually alternative life and health insurance coverage in 5 minutes when it took 5 days to present and make a sale."
In geographies such as China, in fact, "where large life insurance agency forces still dominate, tablets have a potentially transformative impact on increased sales and lower overheads," he said.
'A More Efficient Platform'
While software is clearly key to these initiatives -- CRM applications that have been designed for the tablet and not just right-sized from earlier mobile initiatives -- the tablet makers themselves are also playing a significant role, as companies take steps to wring out further productivity gains from tablet-friendly CRM apps.
For example, Apple's latest operating system, iOS 7, has enhanced collaboration features that can increase enterprise productivity, J. Schwan, CEO and founder of Solstice Mobile, told CRM Buyer.
"Its Airdrop feature allows for the sharing of content in real-time through WiFi or Bluetooth, providing a more efficient platform for presentation and collaborative projects," Schwan explained. "If enterprises choose to leverage capabilities such as Airdrop, and they should, then they will have more productive employees that drive sales with collaborative apps on tablets."
Mobile access increases salesforce productivity by almost 15 percent, Schwan noted, pointing to a 2012 study from Aberdeen.
"These productivity numbers will continue to rise," he predicted, "not just because of the new devices, but because of contextual, powerful enterprise mobile apps that employees can access on tablets."