by Ty McDowell, on Wednesday September 2, 2015

Did you know that 70% of all online traffic now takes place via mobile devices? Your facility’s parents are probably wishing that they could do all of their business with you with just a tap on their iPhone or Android device. Being mobile friendly is something that is becoming more and more preferred and expected of you – it’s practically what parents consider as modus operandi for your facility. There are six questions that we’re typically asked as facility owners explore the mobile app investment. Hopefully, our answers can help you through your thought process and set you on-course for getting your own mobile app.

Why do many parents prefer using a mobile app?

We’re becoming one-device people. We don’t want to have to change devices to do anything – check email, text, check bank balances, post on Facebook, score our golf game, get the weather forecast or enroll our 5-year-old in gymnastics. So why not offer parents access to all of the activities your facility provides directly on the same device where you send texts, phone calls or emails?

It’s not just about the single device. It’s also about being able to manage things on the spot. Gone are the days when parents prefer to take care of business when they are in your facility. Gone are the days when they want to wait until they get home to login to a website to pay a bill or enroll their child in a class. They want to use the device they use for everything else at the time that it’s most convenient to communicate or do business with you – 10am, 3pm or 4am. So give them the ability to do that. (See related blog post)

Why does it make a difference?

Be informative, but don’t be annoying. Be totally accessible, but not in the way. Be transparent, but not verbose.

A mobile app enables you to be and not be all of these things because your parents choose when they use your app, whether they get communications and how far into their accounts they dig.  You’re not blowing up an Inbox or mailing out statements or leaving voicemails. (See related blog post)

You’re as accessible as it’s possible to be in just one tap from them on their mobile device. It’s a beautiful thing.

How can this amazing accessibility and transparency happen?

Your mobile app can integrate with your class management software. So it’s pretty much the same as if they logged into your portal from a browser – just easier. The app connects to your class management database so everything takes place in real time: no delays, no syncing, no omissions and no duplications. (See related blog post)

Does this have any revenue implications?

Stuff happens quicker via your app. When given the option to enroll or pay from their device as they are waiting in the carpool line, parents will jump on it. We love feeling productive during what would otherwise be idle time. Push notifications are proven to result in amazing immediacy. (See related blog post) You can promote events in ways never before possible and bring in results that translate into quicker fee collection and quicker enrollments – especially for special events. Early enrollment promotion via push notification can ensure your “preferred parent group” of getting their class preference and fill up your classes quickly as well. One client noted that their events attendance grew by 20-25% – just by making sign-ups available via a mobile app. I’d call that a significant boost to revenue!

A more subliminal revenue contribution to factor in is the improvement to your customers’ experience with your facility. They are happier so they become incredibly loyal. As a result of their loyalty (and ecstatic-ness,) they buy more services and refer you to friends.

With your mobile app, you have the ability to be ever-present since your clients are rarely without their smartphones. You’re visible at the moment clients want to act and can even encourage spontaneous decisions.

Is this only something that only interests existing customers?

No way! Your mobile app makes you the leader of the pack! You’re an innovator and a service provider who is willing to go above and beyond what others are doing to make your facility experience the best. All of this means that using your mobile app in your marketing campaigns is a must. It may be the very reason families select you over the guy down the street. (See related blog post)

Can a mobile app help me grow?

Yes! Mobile apps make you, your staff and your parents more efficient!  Many of the activities that parents love to do via the app, take work off the plates of your staff and allow you to get more done in less time – or even with less people. It has helped people see that they can expand without expanding their cost of operations. (See related blog post)

Mobile apps are definitely the platform that sets you up for accelerating growth – not just because it’s cost effective but also because it is what our “right now” mentality has embraced for the simple convenience of that it provides.