Mobile phone internet usage is on the rise internationally, with Mobisites, websites developed specifically for display on cell phones, on the rise by 35% in the US. In South Africa, companies are realising the huge advantages of mobile phone technology to do business.
Channel Mobile, formerly known as AppointMate, has developed a product range to cater for this need in the South African business market. “Client-Customer interaction through SMS and Mobisites is not only convenient for the customers but is also an efficient way of communicating for the corporate,” says Rob Maconachie, Managing Director of the newly named Channel Mobile.
In the last year the company has seen a growth in turnover of 40% and gross profit of 35%. Boasting over 1000 corporate clients across all software solutions, Channel Mobile has in the region of 3000 active users.
The company has seen positive growth of mobile messaging and marketing solutions over the past five years and has expanded its own product range as a result. Channel Mobile has also invested in an innovative new company called PhoneFuel which offers prepaid mobile phone users the convenience of buying prepaid airtime online. “Companies are starting to see the benefits of mobile communications. We’ve learnt that offering companies customised solutions to suit their specific needs has the most successful results,” Maconachie comments.
Finding ways of improving service delivery is often difficult for businesses that rely on high numbers of staff. “By using SMS technology, you are actually standardising the service that your customers are receiving,” adds Rob.
In one instance, Channel Mobile has helped a company to drastically improve collection through developing a personalised SMS that calls the customer to action by allowing them direct access to their account on their mobile phone where they can pay via credit card. Maconachie explains, “The client has seen a significant increase in collections since activating the message manager application, and has managed to do so at a fraction of the cost of employing further debt collection staff.”
Mobile phone technology enables companies to accelerate account payment, reduce customer service costs, automate transactions, as well as standardise customer services in general. Not only this, but it gives customers the option of self-service, thereby creating a two-way communication channel – an essential aspect of today’s business practice.
“Over 80% of South Africans use a mobile phone and most only have access to the internet via their phone,” Rob points out. Digital networks in South Africa offer companies the means to communicate directly and effectively with customers with sharp efficiency.
With the increased penetration of internet-enabled mobile phones into the South African market and the comparatively low PC-based internet penetration rates, mobile internet is set to become the most cutting-edge, penetrative and cost-effective communication medium. Corporates are able to interact, showcase products and create purchase decisions all on the consumer’s mobile phone.