How to Use Productivity Apps

Create a Digital Assistant for Your Business

productivity apps
Samantha Mitchell / Image Source / Getty Images

Small businesses live and die by their mobile phones because they don't operate big computer networks that are common at midsize and large companies.

Productivity depends on simplifying office busy work and focusing attention on tasks that will increase business value for customers. What's needed is a digital assistant to manage all that complexity in the background. What if you could rely on a digital secretary or virtual office assistant?

What tasks would they help you manage?

Today, small business owners are creating such an assistant by combining a handful of productivity apps on their smartphones. Let's explore how to use some simple systems to manage your voicemail, travel and business projects.

The Voicemail Lifeline for Small Businesses

Most new clients connect to the business through phone calls, so it's critical that every call gets answered. Yet too often, small businesses fail to answer the vast majority of their calls. This causes them to lose business and spend countless hours dealing ineffectively with missed calls, rather than adding value.

Many business owners are replacing the standard visual voicemail on their smartphones with new services. Some services even offer a visual voicemail app that greets callers by name, automatically blocks unwanted callers, transcribes voice messages into writing, and responds to voicemail messages via auto-text messages.

Small business owners who apply such personal touches to voicemail can project an enlarged image of their company's presence to clients and prospective customers. At the same time, they can weed out the glut of unwanted cold calls and pre-recorded spam auto-calls.

Travel Made Easy On Your Phone

More small businesses are using smartphone apps to streamline the planning and booking of business trips.

Some of the most popular sites for mobile apps include Expedia, Kayak and Hotels.com.

Hipmunk is a helpful travel app that integrates data from nearly all of the online hotel and airfare booking sites. Hipmunk also offers business options to coordinate group planning for shared trips among team members. In addition, it features city guides with local deals, including top attractions for some of the world's most desired travel destinations.

Becoming More Productive with Productivity Tools

Lots of new productivity apps are designed to help small businesses work faster, smarter and better. Evernote is a free workspace app that helps you manage the flow of ideas and content for your business. Evernote allows you to type notes, track Web pages, store images and save audio clips. Then it cleverly allows you to share all those files with fellow team members across different devices.

Another helpful productivity app is HipChat, which provides a hosted IM and group chat service. This service allows team members to stay connected with instant messages from diverse locations and devices. HipChat is especially useful after you close down your computer, because it can still divert messages to your smartphone if you so choose.

Building Loyalty One App at a Time

Building a homegrown digital assistant makes a lot of sense to solve business bottlenecks. Each small business owner should assess which parts of the workload are draining too much time and effort for the relative business value. Then decide which types of apps could be most helpful.

A digital assistant on your smartphone provides a clear strategy to simplify less important tasks and improve your small business's productivity. In so doing, you can improve your brand image while increasing customer loyalty.

 

About the Author:

Alex Quilici serves as the Chief Executive Officer of YouMail, Inc. Previously, Quilici served as Vice President of AOL Voice Services, where he played a major role in growing the unit to over 1 million paying customers. He has significant start-up expertise as the co-founder of Quack.com, which was successfully sold to AOL in August 2000.