Love: The Apptentive Framework to Improving the Customer Experience
We’re all about the love, but when we use the tagline “Spread the Love” at Apptentive, we are not just talking about sharing that wonderful feeling. At Apptentive, we use the letters L.O.V.E. as a constant reminder of how we should build our product and interact with our customers. It is a framework that we use to continually improve our product while keeping our customers in mind.
These four letters create a list that you should consider everyday when you think about how your app is interacting with your customers. Each aspect of the acronym is important and there is no order in which to follow them. Instead, it is understanding that there is a right moment (which could be all the time) to use each piece of L.O.V.E that is important.
Listening is the foundation of every positive relationship. We have all heard the adage, “hearing is easy, listening is hard,” but how does that translate to businesses and is it even important? Every customer has listened to another one for advice, suggestions, and warnings about a product. It is important for businesses to listen to the customer as well. In regards to mobile, much of the feedback can be straight forward, but take the time to digest the words being said as that can lead to a better understanding in general of how the app can be improved. For example, if someone comments on reducing the steps to access a certain feature, consider making it simpler to access all the features.
When somebody reaches out by sending feedback, asking questions, or commenting it means they care. Whether the messages contain praise or criticism, a customer is taking the time to send it. That alone gives it enough value to warrant a developers attention. For every customer complaint there are many others who feel the same way but remain silent. Ignoring negative feedback will result in some serious missed opportunities, and result in driving people away from your app. People leaving negative feedback want to use your app as much or even more so than those who provided positive feedback. Furthermore, negative feedback can provide developers with vital information on how to improve the app. In case you need any help handling negative feedback here are some tips to turn negative reviews into happy customers.
Listening is also about providing a place where you can listen and encouraging people to talk with you. This is why social media has become an integral channel to many businesses. Show that you listen to your customers by always commenting and thanking people through your social media channels. Often times people don’t reach out because they think there won’t be a response. Show them that responding is a priority. With a mobile app, any channel avoiding the app store should be used as an alternative as a place to listen (social media, blogs, forums etc.). At Apptentive, we want to make it easy for app developers to listen to their customers and provide a place in-app where customers can communicate with you, the app developer.
As 2013 picks up speed, it is clear that customers want a better customer experiences. It is so important that people will pay more for companies that provide great customer experiences. As app developers, having many different places where customers can go to be listened to is an easy step to use to start improving the customer experience.
Observing is about incorporating data to judge if something is significant or not . In the technical world of bugs, freezes, and crashes some problems may be hard or too time consuming for customers to thoroughly explain. Therefore, it is up to the developer to investigate an issue in order to come to a complete understanding of the issue. If app developers are focused on listening to their customers, there will be a large amount of feedback. Being able to observe allows app developers to be able to prioritize what feedback is most important and should be acted upon. In an ideal world everything can be fixed, changed, or added but that is not always possible, especially with smaller indie developers. Therefore, it is important to be able to discern what items are most significant. Don’t get sidetracked trying to improve features that only you think is important. Focus on what is important to the customer, or you won’t have any left. Apptentive provides data to app developers to more easily understand customer sentiment towards certain features and generally gathers feedback about what customers like or dislike about an app.
If it is difficult to ascertain what should be fixed through the data gathered, take a walk in the customer’s shoes for a day and use the app (or product) as if you daily life depended on it. That will help clarifying what to improve upon. You owe it to yourself to make the best app possible, because if you don’t take the time to make your app great, why should customers take the time to use it!
Now it’s crucial to validate the time spent by the person who provided feedback as time well spent. The most common mistake made by businesses, app developers, or anybody asking for feedback is not validating the feedback they receive. Saying thank you is not enough, and can even sound like a dismissal in some instances. Tell the people who provided feedback what you plan on doing with their suggestions or to fix their complaints. Make your customers feel appreciated by explaining to them that the app has been improved thanks to their feedback. App developers should feel obligated to reach back out after any interaction with a person using their app. Whether or not you asked for feedback, it is important to show your appreciation every time it is received.
By validating feedback app developers have a wonderful opportunity to create brand advocates out of everyone who uses the app. Letting people know that their feedback helped create part of the new release creates a bond between the customer and the app, so not only will they continue to use it because they helped make it better, but they will tell their friends about the app as well. And as we all know, nothing is more effective or trusted than word-of-mouth for acquiring new customers.
Engaging customers is the most dynamic letter in L.O.V.E. because it incorporates every other letter and is open to any innovative ideas one could have. It is important for app developers to spend time and energy engaging and developing relationships with people who use their apps. You can do this by offering discounts or invites to private betas of the app. Try sending out holiday or seasonal cards to your customers so they know that you are keeping them in mind. Consider dropping personal notes about updates and changes to the app to people who have provided feedback. Besides being personal, be creative with your messages (e.g. include a cat video link :D, or anything to bring out a smile).
Don’t let the customer have the last word in a conversation. Let the final interaction come from the developer side with a thank you note, or something as simple as wishing them a wonderful day. If need be, stay on the phone with them for 8 hours like the customer service agent from Zappos (check out the great re-enactment video).
Here are two things we like to do at Apptentive to engage others:
Be real. Real messages from real people. It is fine to give customers your personal/work e-mail and encourage them to drop a line at anytime because customers who talk to you trust you more. Provide information for them on how to stay connected with links to your blog, Facebook, twitter, or any other places where information is published to the public.
Create a presence outside your mobile app. Whatever your target audience is, host or help sponsor an event that your audience would be interested in going to. It doesn’t need to be about your app or your business. You can’t go wrong helping to nurture a community that is your target audience. If you don’t have the money to throw events, just show up to them. Being present, personal, and approachable will go a long way to helping people remember you. This also includes writing guest posts, being open to interviews, and participating in conversations around the internet.
At Apptentive the L.O.V.E. framework works great to make sure we are keeping our customers in mind as we improve our product. Each part of the framework is important as a business tries to establish itself or grow. Every time a new feature, direction, or idea is being discussed it should answer one key question. Is this something that customers want? Without our customers there would be no Apptentive. Join us in focusing on building a better mobile customer experience and sign up with Apptentive today.