Running a small to large business requires communication with both customers and team members to be efficient and effective with delivering the product and services to market.
A great way to make sure all teams are communicating effectively is with a smartphone or tablet. These give users the communication technology required to call, text, email, and access client record systems with a touch of a button. They give team members the ability to work from anywhere, meaning you can get the most out of their time in and out of business hours, and they make the users work life easier because of the convenience and simplicity of the technology.
8 out of 10 adults now use a smartphone, so the learning curve of introducing these into your business as a tool is far smaller than introducing tech that they may have not come across before.
“I want my team to use smartphones and tablets – what do I need to consider?”
The first thing to consider is the device itself. Are your users working in an office environment? Do they work and drive? Perhaps they are in construction and need a more robust device, with water & screen protection? Does a visual aid help with articulating what service and products you sell? Would these devices need to be put in front of the customer?
Smart devices and tablets can be protected with accessories such as a case, screen protector & suitable carry cases – it is easy to overlook these products to save money, but if you are looking to kit your teams with suitable communication technology, they are at the mercy of everyday use and bumps and scrapes, so making sure they are protected before leaving the office is a must – as this may result in cracked screens and repairs you have not budgeted for.
Most providers offer insurance for gadgets, so this might be something else to consider if you want that additional security when distributing business assets to users. This would also need to be considered if financing the kit, rather than purchasing upfront, or rolling into a contract, as the asset finance company will likely want the device covered, as technically they own it until you have made all payments & completed the agreement.
So, you know what devices you want to acquire, and you have the necessary protection – what now?
You need to look for a network that has a good service level in your local area and any other common areas your field-based operatives are likely to work in.
All the major UK networks have a coverage checker on their website, so you can find out if you have things like 2G -5G coverage, Wi-Fi calling, free to use Wi-Fi hotspots, maintenance periods, outages and reported faults in specific areas. These checkers are pretty accurate overall and will give you a good guide as to knowing in advance of any mobile signal issues you may experience with a certain network.
EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone are the major networks in the UK – any other brands like TESCO, giffgaff etc. are going to be using these networks to offer the service – so if you want to use a network that isn’t one of the big 4, you can easily find out who they use with a quick Google search. For example, you may love the latest deal with TESCO you have seen online but you might want to check that O2 has good service in your area before committing to anything…
“What is the best tariff for me?”
This largely comes down to how much data you need. Most tariffs will come with unlimited calls and text because the networks know this is not necessarily the most in demand service for most customers – so they don’t bundle this call type like they did before.
What you will need to know is roughly how much data you need to get off on the right foot.
Networks now offer 30-day terms for customers – meaning you can purchase a device and test SIMs, before you commit to anything. You can then use this for 3 months and look back at your data consumption over this period and have a pretty good idea of how much data your users are going to need & if the network offers a service you can rely on.
The difference between an unlimited voice and text SIM with 5GB of data tariff vs. an unlimited call, text and data tariff is marginal – say roughly £10.00 per month – so some companies may just want the peace of mind of giving the users unlimited everything, as the small increase in monthly costs is minimal compared to the benefits of users just getting on with it and always having enough data to do the job. Limited data plans and spend caps can cause disruption but are there to give the business as much control over spending as possible. No-one likes a bill that comes in over budget.
We have had customers who just want a device for lone worker protection, and customers who give the device to salespeople. The salespeople are heavily depending on the device to be connected to a network to pitch and present their product or service, so a network with poor performance could easily have a negative impact on sales. This is where doing your due diligence will prove extremely valuable if you rely on the device and network to sell and manage your products and services.
“I know what device, what protection and what network I want – what now?”
The other thing to consider is the ongoing management of the account. Who are you going to be speaking to when you come across user issues like; poor coverage, billing issues, replacement SIMs, additional SIMs, additional handsets & handset faults? It is one thing to start on the right foot with your product and services, but another thing to make sure you have support when anything was to rock the boat.
Purchasing from a network directly can give you that feeling of peace of mind – but most resellers are going to have far more time to understand how your business works, the nuisances in the challenges you are having and have a more than suitable solution to remedy the problem. One size will certainly not fit all when it comes to business mobile and management.
Make sure you are being offered a dedicated account manager. One email or number, to a human, that allows you to problem solve, get advice, and sort issues out quickly. If there is one thing we know about business mobile, is that half of the success is down to the initial due diligence, and the other half is the ongoing support that a customer is going to receive when challenges are faced in the future.
The last thing you want is to sign up to what appears to be a great deal – only to be left in the dark when you are coming up against challenges with the account management, handset, and network performance.
“We have lots of sensitive information on our smartphones, how can we protect this?”
Consider that the device is likely to have sensitive information that you would not want third parties to access. A company can spend tens of thousands on their IT security but forget to include the smart devices they have which contains just as much sensitive data as the desktops and laptops in circulation.
Most major networks will offer a mobile device management solution, which is basically an app on the phone that allows IT to ‘see’ it, and push company policies to the devices over the air.
Perhaps you have users bring their own device to work but they want to use work apps on their personal phone, or you have a larger business mobile fleet, and you want to make sure Facebook & YouTube are not accessible on the device – an MDM solution will allow you to do this.
An MDM solution can help speed up rollouts of devices, keep them secure with compulsory passcode policies, push Wi-Fi and email to the device instantly. We would highly recommend getting a demo of the product before using the service, and make sure you have the necessary skills in the business to manage the product, as they can be intricate and require a lot of attention at the start to make sure they are set-up correctly and the policies are accurate.
“How can Wintercomms help with my next business mobile agreement?”
If you are looking for help with any of the above advice or would like to speak to one of our dedicated account managers, call us today on 02394 213 800
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Wintercomms have been working in the business mobile industry for over ten years and are proud to put the SIM into simple.