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For a Small Business, Mobility Is Your Competitive Advantage

Make your customer's life easier and it will pay dividends over time in big ways.
For a Small Business, Mobility Is Your Competitive Advantage
Image credit: Shutterstock
By Entrepreneur Partner Studio Staff

A small business doesn't have the same resources or capital as its larger competitors, but it does have something that can be even more valuable: agility.

When your business is agile, you can pay more attention to individual customers, change more quickly in accordance with their needs, and provide a better overall customer experience. But you need technological mobility if you want to fully harness that natural competitive advantage.

Read on for three real stories of small businesses that used solutions provided by Sprint Business to get agile and change the game.

More personal support.

Agile small businesses can deliver a higher level of personalized customer support. As one HVAC business learned, however, it helps to have mobility.

The business had a fleet of technicians on the road to respond to customer problems, but a number of issues stood in the way of delivering a high level of customer support:

  • When receiving emergency calls, it wasn’t always clear where the closest technician was, so getting a quick response wasn’t always possible.
  • During a repair, new parts would occasionally be needed, and technicians didn’t always know if a compatible unit was available -- or whether a nearby store had one.
  • Invoices had to be generated at HQ and then emailed or mailed to the customer.

By bringing on a new fleet management solution and upgrading their mobile services, this HVAC company was able to solve all three of these customer-facing problems in one go:

  • They could track the locations of every van in their fleet, dispatch the right one at the right time, and get back to the customer with a clear ETA immediately.
  • Their technicians could use smartphones to check what parts were in stock and see what stores would carry any other parts they needed.
  • Mobile invoicing allowed invoices to be generated on-site, immediately after rendering service.

Throughout the business, from dispatch to invoicing, increased mobility gave customers more confidence in the company and helped get their problems solved faster -- helping this small HVAC company gain the trust of its customers and grow faster.

More flexible growth.

When they’re more mobile, small businesses can adjust more nimbly to their customers’ demands and the demands of the market.

For one dry cleaning business in Kansas, the market was crowded. Competition for customers was stiff, and the owner needed to do something to stand out. Enter the idea of free pickup and delivery.

Offering this free service brought the company a lot of new business. It also brought a big problem: all of the extra driving. The attendant gas and maintenance costs were putting a dent in the company’s growth.

By working with Sprint Business to install a centralized tracking dashboard and GPS, the company could improve its routes.

They could fit more stops into each driver’s drop-off route, and if a new customer called for pickup, they could find the closest driver and dispatch them rather than waste the time of a driver farther away.

Not only did implementing fleet management make it possible to continue offering free pick-up and delivery, it allowed the business to expand even further. As they drove the cost of free pick-up and delivery lower and lower, they were able to reduce the minimum order size required to qualify for it, opening their business up to even more growth.

Better customer experience.

Great companies are always looking for opportunities to make life easier for their customers.

For one science museum, that meant a point of sale solution. While the museum had regular visitors, not accepting credit cards was dragging down their donor numbers.

Putting a mobile point of sale in place, in the form of a Vantiv Mobile Accept, allowed the museum to begin accepting in-person credit card donations alongside cash and check, improving the customer experience from end to end.

Donors can now swipe with a tablet card reader and pick how much they want to donate on the screen. Afterward, they get an email receipt to use for their taxes. And for the museum, which saw a 15 percent increase in donations after installing Vantiv, this meant being able to offer extra events to their visitors and drive more growth.

How to make agility your advantage.

Your ultimate goal with technology should be building trust with your customers. Do that and you create a stable foundation for growth.

Mobility can help you build this foundation by giving you the tools to:

  • Figure out the resources that you need, and how to get them faster.
  • Respond faster to customer needs and deliver those resources.

These are the essence of any strong business -- so never think that small means lesser. Your small business’s agility, when properly outfitted with mobility-building technology, is a true competitive advantage.

Bill Ford Jr. Looks at the Future of Mobility and Sees It Being Built in Detroit