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The future? Look at your phone

Last updated 12:18 21/02/2013
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Being able to predict what your customer wants will keep you ahead.

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Your customers want - and demand - anytime, anywhere connectivity with you.

Small business owners in New Zealand, like anywhere in the world, struggle daily with the demands of customers, who seem to expect more and more, 24 hours a day. One of the reasons for growing consumer demand is the fact that we are all switched on, all day, every day. And that's not about to change.

With exponential growth in social media and the availability of mobile devices, it's really important to understand what this means to you and your business.

Around the world smartphone ownership has grown to the point where Deloitte* predicts that more than 60% of mobile phone owners will have smartphones - crammed with features and applications that are data hungry.

In fact, more than 44%** of Kiwis now have a flash, high-end smartphone, 3G iPad or tablet, and they are using them to communicate by voice, email and text and to search online for businesses like yours, from the comfort of their couch or in their favourite café.

So it's important to have your business connected to the web, 24/7. That way you can keep your finger on the pulse and be available to your customer. If they are looking and wanting to connect with you anytime, anywhere then it's important for you to understand how you can stay connected to them.

But you need to really smart about it otherwise it could quickly become a costly exercise.

Changing with the times

1. Make sure you have an online presence

Consumers are searching for information online so you need to ensure that your company is there as well.

Building and maintaining a website is super cheap and easy these days, but shop around for the best deals. Make sure that you cover off the mandatories, including your company name, what you do and how your product or service is better than the rest, your contact details and where to find you.

Make sure that you also set up a reply system - so that if someone contacts you over the internet that they get an immediate response saying that "thank-you, and you'll be in touch as soon as possible".

Increasingly important is also having an understanding of social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. This is where you can see what people are saying about you or your competitors and where you can also give your customers exciting and relevant news and information. It's also one way to start a two-way conversation with existing and potential customers.

Instant updates (or feeds) to your mobile is a great way to keep on top of trending topics, questions and even potential complaints so you can react speedily to solve problems or take advantage of an opportunity.

2. Staying in touch when you're on the move

Many businesses are recognising the benefits of having a mobile workforce. They find that it helps drive greater business efficiencies, makes a better work-life balance, and even can help them save on costs.

Today's mobile technology enables you and your business to work from anywhere there is coverage, so if you have a mobile workforce or are looking to create one it is always good to ensure you have the right devices, gadgets and plans that will best suit your needs. With so many different options of smartphones, tablets, iPads, USB modems, and monthly mobile plans in the market, 2degrees can help you stay connected and take the confusion out of selecting which one is right for your business.

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Here are a few great examples of some of the products and services that 2degrees could offer you to help you stay mobile, while keeping your costs down:

- Shared Data: All of 2degrees' monthly business plans come with great value mobile data that you can share across your devices or even with other people. With Shared Data you now no longer need to manage multiple data plans for each device, as you can simply share your monthly mobile allowance with up to 5 other devices or even other staff  who are using a 2degrees SIM card.

- Mobile Broadband: USB Modems are another hot device for people who are always on the move as they allow you to send and receive emails, access the internet, download files or connect to the office from your laptop or tablet without being tied to your desk or an office broadband cable. 2degrees offer a range of monthly Mobile Broadband plans to suit businesses needs from 1 GB up to 12 GB of data.

3. So what's next?

Ensure that you have the right tools for your business. Chances are if you have a small business you will depend on your phone. You also need to stay connected while you're on the move; you'll need a plan and a device that will meet your needs whether that's checking your email, your website, download documents or checking out the opposition.

At 2degrees we want to help your business stay connected and with the flexible plans and services available we can help you do this every step of the way.

Talk to 2degrees today and let us help you discover a better way of working and staying connected. Or check out how 2degrees helped other small businesses like Kiwi Canvas Company and iSign with their mobile needs.

* Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu; Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions, 2013

** Google; Our Mobile Planet: New Zealand Understanding the Mobile Consumer, May 2012

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