13 Features You Should Have in Your Contact Directory App
The contact directory (also called people directory, phone directory or staff directory) is one of the most underrated tools of the enterprise these days.
It’s the place where you unavoidably have to go to when you need to call a colleague, match a name to a face or find someone’s job title — but it’s usually old fashioned, complex to navigate to, and doesn’t really do much.
What if you could hone its value and turn it into a tool that’s much easier to use, and enables your company to grow closer together, connect and do more in less time — a slick app that has every single colleague and their info just two taps away.
We’ll get you started by walking you through the uses, features – and how you can convince your boss that developing a contact directory app will bring real benefit to your business.
Why Use a Contact Directory App?
Chances are your company’s list of staff has grown and changed in the past few years. Maybe you’ve extended your operations overseas and now you have a sprawling employee base that extends across several continents.
There are too many new hires to keep track of, and jobs roles are constantly changing. Then there’s a growing list of suppliers and corporate relationships to add to your woes. And adding to the confusion is the fact that so many of your employees are mobile.
Keeping up with who’s who is challenging, to say the least.
What are the key benefits of a contact directory app
That’s where a contact directory app comes in. You’ll no longer have to bother HR, or an annoyed receptionist, for someone’s contact information again. A staff directory app makes communicating with people easier, and communication is the key to your business working as a network of people with a shared purpose.
In summary, the key benefits of a contact directory app are:
1. Faster access
You can use an employee directory app to find workers’ details quickly. At the push of a button, you’ll be able to locate, identify and contact your staff – from anywhere.
2. Online or offline access
Finding people on the go, whether they are offline or online: right before a meeting, during your commute, or even during a meeting when someone joins and you have no idea who they are. Your directory app will always have the latest data (as of the last time you were online.)
3. Accurate and relevant information
The ability to update profiles when, and as needed. All data remains relevant and accurate versus a system that requires IT to update records on behalf of individuals.
4. Increased security
The app will be more secure than a standard contact directory due to the aforementioned encryption.
How to Build the Case for Your Contacts App Idea
The basics on mobile adoption
It’s a well-known fact that smartphone usage is on the increase. Almost 60% of the world’s population were expected to be using a mobile phone in 2016 – around 4.3 billion people – and app usage has also increased in response.
Another study reveals that global app store downloads are predicted to grow from 111.2 billion in 2015 to 284.3 billion in 2020.
What does mobile app usage mean for your business?
Now relate that information to your workforce: the smartphone-savvy consumers these reports talk about are actually the people who staff your business. Then there’s the fact that 42.5% of the global workforce, that’s 1.87 billion people, are expected to be mobile workers by 2022 – rising from 38.8% in 2016.
One of the most crucial considerations of companies going mobile is to keep a sense of oneness and consistency between departments and teams, in the same way as if you were all in the same place. And that’s where the contact directory app comes in.
What Features Can You Build Into a Contact Directory App?
You can build lots of different features into a contact directory app:
1. Contact Directory
This would be the core feature of your app. Add the contact details of everyone in your team, including emergency contact details. This is a more substantial feature than you might assume. These details can include:
- Name (includes profile photo)
- Location (city, state, country)
- Skills (recent projects, industry experience, previous clients)
- Phone Number
- Desk Number/Location
- Email Address(es)
- Languages spoken
Accessing details through an app like LinkedIn or Outlook may be the traditional approach to locating details of your colleagues, but a contact directory app has the advantage of being faster, and easier to use than both of those applications.
2. Verify directory details
Adding details to your contact directory is one thing, but ensuring that they’re always up-to-date and accurate is another thing altogether. The ability for colleagues to verify their contact details or report errors when they load the app for the first time ensures that the app (and your other contact databases) are loaded with the correct information.
Once you’ve found the person you want, you can contact your colleagues immediately through a built-in messaging service. Message or speak to them directly. In many cases, a quick message will be more effective than an email, which takes more time to send. Additionally, messaging features allow you to send and receive a wide variety of attachments.
Put a name to the face with employees’ pictures loaded onto the directory. This is similar to the contact details in the sense that the user will be prompted to confirm their photo (if it has been preloaded onto the directory) and ensure that it is an up-to-date, appropriate photo of themselves. They could even have a shortcut button to request a new photo.
5. Search & filter
With a search and filter feature, you can use different search criteria to pull up contacts quickly.
The powerful feature will allow you to quickly search contacts by any of the details that they have listed in the directory. Maybe you need to find the marketing director at the New York office of your organization – no problem, just set the filter for those parameters and you’ll instantly be displayed the matching employees.
With Fliplet, for example, all you need to do is tell the system which fields should be searchable and/or filterable, and the app does the rest.
Imagine being able to search for…
- People who have worked with a specific client
- People who have experience with a specific piece of software or skill
- Everyone who has worked in a specific industry
6. Data sync
You might be thinking, “this all sounds very well but who’s going to be updating the app every time someone joins, in addition to updating the other systems?” – that’s not an issue with Fliplet. You can choose a data source, such as your intranet’s contact directory, and set up Fliplet to draw the information from that source automatically every so often. That way no one needs to keep two or more different systems up to dat separately.
You can limit the access to your contact directory to only current employees and safely rely on 256-bit encrypted data to ensure your data is protected. Many organizations have been historically concerned that the confidential details of their clients, partners and employees have been accessible through each employee’s device. However, the increased security of a contact directory will protect the organization from any potential threats.
Thinking adding more features? Here are complementary features that will go quite well with a directory.
8. Corporate News or Blog Feed
A simple feed or newsreel highlighting the contact news and updates can be a positive addition to a contact directory app. This integrates an additional element of a stereotypical internal communications app.
9. Supplier/partner directory
Keep up-to-date with third-party contacts. This feature lets you store details of partners and communicate with them quickly.
10. Office Directory
A list of all the companies offices in a central list. This makes traveling to and from global offices much easier, listing advice on transport, accommodation and other details for employees.
With Fliplet you can also tell the system to collate any of the data in your contact directory into neat charts and graphs that give people an at-a-glance-look into your company.
The analysis and charts will be based on the live data and update themselves automatically.
12. Bilingual option
All directories can have a multi-language option available if required. For example, you can view a contact directory in French as well and English if you have Paris and London based offices
Set alarms for individuals to remind them to check their details on a regular basis and update them if they need too.
Let’s take a look at some practical examples where you might apply a contact directory into certain environments or departments.
Example 1: How communication impacts productivity
A survey by the Chartered Management Institute revealed ineffective management could cost UK businesses more than £19 billion a year due to lost working hours. It said a large part of this is due to poor communication.
If there’s poor communication in a business, staff aren’t made aware of what benefits are on offer and it also breeds mistrust among workers. This leads to greater staff turnover and sickness absence. Meanwhile, the reverse is true: where there is good communication, staff are more engaged and productive.
Engaging employees when they’re working remotely
It’s easy for people to drift off focus when they’re working from different locations. Use your contact directory app to ensure that staff are on-message and still working from the same hymn sheet.
Use the app to engage with workers who are on the move and keep them in the loop with what’s going on back at the office. While emails still have a place in business communications, they can easily get pushed to the bottom of a long list of unread messages.
But when your communications are packaged in a handy app that can be accessed anywhere, you’re more likely to connect with staff. You can communicate in real-time by sending updates and instant messages to people in your contacts list, allowing workers to catch up on relevant business issues on the go.
Example 2: Managing an emergency or crisis
One of the great things about a contacts app is that you don’t have to update information manually. So when you need to get in touch with an emergency contact in a hurry, you don’t have to waste time trawling through old records to find the most recent phone number.
You can quickly see who’s available to cover any absences using the app – you can also sync information like vacation bookings, out of office dates and locations. If you need critical information like emergency contacts in a hurry, an app like this provides a way to get in touch quickly, when every second counts.
Example 3: Selling made easier
The thing about sales is there’s no time to waste. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time – and fumbling about trying to find a contact when the lead is red-hot is simply wasting your time. And potentially missing a sales opportunity.
Adding sales contacts to your contact directory, including clients and sales teams, means you’re empowered with up-to-date information at the flick of a screen. You’ll be calling the right people, making fewer calls and increasing your contact rate, and ultimately increasing sales.
Want to learn more about how you can get started creating your first contact directory app?
There has been an unprecedented surge towards contact directory apps due to their simplicity and effectiveness. They can immediately have a positive impact on the performance of employees and offer an ease-to-use alternative to slower, less engaging options like outlook or LinkedIn.
You can check out our App Gallery to see examples of apps we’ve worked on, as well as finding out more about how you can develop your overall enterprise app strategy.
Already with Fliplet? Contact our customer success team if you need some help to get started.