From iPads® to Xooms® and everything in between, tablets have burst onto the business scene as a new tool for better productivity and more fun. A recent Staples Advantage survey of 200 tablet users found that 60 percent of users get more work done using a tablet. A whopping 80 percent indicated an improved work/life balance as a result of the technology. Although all those surveyed had personally purchased the tablet, this survey indicates benefits in small businesses providing tablets or encouraging their use.As it turns out, many small businesses are finding creative ways to leverage tablets for creating better customer experiences. Consider these ideas for some inspiration in your own business:

  • Customer databases—Use tablets to easily manage your contacts on the go. Instead of directing customers to a website to sign-up for more information or to receive e-newsletters or even to register for events, hand them a tablet and allow them to do it on the spot. The same goes for social sites: Mount one of those bad boys on your wall and use it as a station that lets customers easily “like” your business or check in through location-based social networks as they pass through. Bonus points for rewarding them on the spot, too: On the iPad®, include a note to tell a customer service rep that they signed up and offer them a token of appreciation, like a chocolate bar with a custom thank-you note, a Mighty Mug with a Sleeve or a discount they can use right away.
  • Customer entertainment—Retail services that involve waiting rooms are rife with opportunity to use tablets as a means to keep customers happy and occupied. For example, nail salons like Tenoverten in New York have started keeping iPads® at each nail station to entertain customers as they wait for their services to be completed. Here in Canada, the swanky new Ritz-Carleton in Toronto plans to use iPads® as menus and customizable newspapers for its five-star clientele. Protect these shared devices with a tablet sleeve and keep customers charged with a universal charger.
  • Interactive experiences—Ditch the long-winded explanations of complicated products or services. Instead, develop slideshows or interactive infographics or 3-D tours and keep them loaded on tablets. Arm sales people with these handy demonstrations to help customers better understand what your small business has to offer. Pack your tablet up for on-the go demos in a tablet portfolio or chic messenger bag.
  • Point of sale technology—Mobile technology now allows tablets to process payments. What once required a large investment to begin processing credit card payments and purchasing point of sale technology like registers is now streamlined by the tablet’s slick capabilities. From restaurants to farmer’s markets to kiosks, selling things quickly, easily and affordably is now something for everyone.

Tablets and small businesses are shaping up to be a winning combination that’s both a fun and affordable solution to the customer experience.


“Tablets Improve Employee Productivity and Work/Life Balance, Survey Says | Small Business Technology.”
Smallbiztechnology.com: Tech Insight and News for Small Businesses. Web. 14 Sept. 2011.


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