Do You Know Your Mobile Customers?
Jason Fried, the founder of 37signals, posed the question “Do You Really Know Your Customers?” For most of us with digital businesses the answer is no. We would not recognize them on the street, nor have a casual conversation with one of them as a small storeowner would. However, customers are our lifeblood whether we interact with them or not. Fried urges us to ask ourselves, “How much better can we be if we know our customers for real, not just as data points?”
I’d have to say MUCH BETTER. Listening to your customers, valuing them, and really spending time to get to know them is the way we are supposed provide service. We should all be more proactive in understanding how we can really help our customers. There are useful tools such as Google Analytics, Flurry, and MixPanel that can give you robust data on the behavior of your customers. These tools are helpful, but there is so much more to know about your customers that these tools cannot tell you.
Whether you have an app you consider successful or not, do you wonder if it could be done better? Companies that have been extremely successful may shrug their shoulders and consider that they are doing enough. Not knowing customers is an all too often scenario in today’s digital world. Digital technology has changed the way we communicate and has made it so that in most circumstances not having a relationship with a company whose product you use all the time is normal.
I believe there is a huge amount of value for both businesses and customer to develop relationships and get to know one another. With this in mind, here are 5 reasons why we should talk to our mobile customers to get to know them.
1. When you talk to your customers, they talk back.
Customer feedback is one of the most essential resources for any company with a mobile app, and the best way to get it is by asking. Feedback serves as a tool to help prioritize features for roadmaps, improve your product, and understand how your customers are using the app. With feedback, companies can make quicker decisions faster and with more confidence that their customers will be happy with the changes.
Not all feedback is positive, but that negative feedback provides even better opportunities to learn and improve. If you develop relationships with your customers they will talk to you when there is a problem instead of you learning a week later about the issue. You can then fix it quickly so other customers don’t experience the same issue.
In general, feedback is the basis of conversation between you and your customers. Listen to what they say and you will have a better idea of what they want and how to improve your app.
Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers. –Ross Perot
2. Talking is the best form of customer support
Part of talking with your customers is to give them a good experience. The simple process of listening and responding to customers can go a long way, especially because in today’s app ecosystem most people are under the impression that apps don’t care about customer support. Having simple conversations can go a long way to providing a positive experience that customers want to share with their friends and family.
At 360iDev, Joe Cieplinksi gave a great presentation on “Customer Support: Building Apps for the Long Haul.” He points out numerous reviews and messages they received where customers were pleasantly surprised because the team behind the app cared to respond. We need to change these expectations as a whole, but support is a great channel for communication, learning, and that customer “wow.”
One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising. -Jim Rohn
3. Happy customers make you feel good
How often do you hear from customers who love your product? If you’re in a customer-facing role you may here it often, but as a developer it may be rare that you receive praise for your hard work or are even aware that people appreciate your efforts.
I recommend everyone in a company to interact with customers at some point. Having the experience of interacting with your customers can make you feel good, motivate you to continue working hard, and even provide inspiration on what to do next. Meeting the people who you help everyday can be as good for you as it is for them.
Don’t underestimate how important your own happiness is.
Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you. -Heather Williams
4. Unhappy customers create an amazing opportunity
Did you know that most unhappy customers never say anything at all? That means you should cherish the ones that do all the more. There shouldn’t be anyone more important to talk to and get to know than an unhappy customer.
If you’ve ever wondered why people stop using your app or never use a certain feature, these are the best people to talk to so take a moment to have a conversation and find out. Unhappy customers can be your greatest evangelists when you listen to what’s wrong and work to solve it.
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. – Bill Gates
5. Trust is built through relationships
“People who talk to you trust you more.” We believe in this quote at Apptentive and always have channels open for our customers to talk to us. We enjoy spending our time talking with customers, understanding their pain points, and what we can do to solve them in the most simple, effective ways possible.
Building a relationship should be at the core of how every company focuses on its customers. Customers are the most important person in a company, and developing relationships are essential to building a customer base that trusts you.
Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company. – Michael LeBoeuf
Do you know your mobile customers? No? Well, it’s time that changed. If we take the time to talk to our customers we can learn a lot, and in the end you may appreciate it more than they do. Start taking efforts to make digital technology a positive channel for interacting with your customers rather than a wall. It’s hard to know exactly how much better we could all be if we knew our customers but it definitely wouldn’t hurt anything if we tried.
Do you think it is important to know your customers as more than just data points? What are some of the best examples of companies making an effort to know their mobile customers in the digital world?