Mentor and mentee talks: Mobile technology in a modern business
Claire Mackay is nationally recognised as one of Australia’s pre-eminent financial planners. She is passionate about improving financial literacy for all Australians.
Dean is a green-star certified, licensed carpenter and builder – with a green conscience.
They met to discuss mobile technology in a modern business for an upcoming podcasts as part of our beautiful business campaign.
What impact does mobile technology have on running a business?
Dean: “It’s critical for us. Our guys can literally sit on site and get access to everything they need on their mobile device. We’ve set up timesheets and, if they’ve got the right permissions, they can access any of the financial details they need to. We’ve got Google Drive, which allows them to access all the files on staff from their phones. We’re set up with Trello for creating a handover lists to make sure all the items are updated and actioned. And we’ve made sure Fulcrum’s mobile project-management software is available to the guys. Because of these programs, we’re well ahead of the curve in the construction industry.”
Claire: “It’s given me the flexibility for me and my team to work from anywhere. I travelled to America for work last year. Not only was I in a different time zone, but I had a jam-packed schedule the whole time. Being able to seamlessly work with my team, and my clients, is essential. A few of my clients had some major transactions happening while we were travelling, and we were involved in talking to their lawyers and the like. We were still able to do it, and it didn’t matter that we weren’t based in the office.
“It’s also meant that when any of my team have had personal stuff happening, they’ve been able to work from home. We’ve been sure of providing seamless support to our clients. We’re a family business, and our clients are families, so it’s great that we don’t have to be tied to the office.”
How does mobile technology improve customer service?
Dean: “It adds a level of professionalism for our staff and our customer service. Having all the information in one place saves us the hassle of putting handwritten notes into a spreadsheet and relying on the formulas and calculations in there, or doing the maths themselves.
“Nor do they have to worry about coming in and transcribing their notes about the time spent into an email, and sending it off to us to get paid. They can enter the info then and there and get it over to us. And the same with the client. So it comes down to the feel and the professionalism of the business take comes from our staff being able to read, accept and receive everything online.”
Claire: “I’ve got clients based all over the world now. I’ve got some who are taking a 12-month sabbatical. They go back to where their own families are from, and get their kids immersed in other cultures and languages. These are invaluable experiences. But they’re still able to see where their financial situation is at. We’re still able to have meetings as if we were just on the other side of town. The tyranny of distance is lessened in that regard. Time zones, we can’t control. But with the technology, we can work around that.
“I think that being mobile speaks to the customer experience. Clients want the personal touch and we can have that. Even if they’re not based in Sydney, we can still have a face-to-face interaction. With technology and apps these days, it’s just looking into a computer. You almost feel like you’re there with them. It doesn’t mean it’s all via the written word. It’s much more immediate, and you can continue to have that personal experience, which is why clients partner with us.”
How can these mobile apps help businesses grow?
Dean: “It’s super important for businesses to utilise and adapt to technology as it’s vital to expand your business. If you’re trying to avoid technology and stay in the dark ages of handwritten notes, paper invoicing and cheques, everything is slowed right down. Technology is getting faster and faster around us. Therefore, if you don’t adapt, you’re going to be left behind and your business is going to struggle. So it’s super important to constantly keep up to date with the apps that are most relevant to your industry so you can stay ahead of the playing field.”
Claire: “I guess the key thing from my perspective is that you don’t have to be huge to have good technology working for you in your business. You don’t have to have the buying power of a massive company – there are reliable, secure options available for startups, for businesses that are more mature, and for the larger corporations with thousands of employees. My clients are comparing me to some of the major financial institutions when they choose who to partner with. But it doesn’t matter that I’m sitting in the suburbs in Chatswood. I don’t have to be in the city to compete. I don’t have to have the international brand because my clients have seen that we can complete as to the depth and quality of service we provide.
“In that regard, it’s great. You don’t have to have the buying power of a large organisation to be able to provide a good service to your team, to your clients, and a secure service in this day and age.”
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Source: Xero Blog