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Thanks for reaching out! While you wait for confirmation from an Apptentive team member, you may find these free resources to be of interest:

Guide

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Guide

The Five Stages of Reducing Mobile Customer Churn

Retention is a top priority for mobile marketers. Our new five-step framework is here to help you improve your existing strategy.

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Guide

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Guide

2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report

Apptentive’s annual mobile app engagement benchmark report serves as a baseline to help app publishers across categories understand their app’s engagement strengths and areas for improvement.

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Customer Experience

Three Proven Strategies to Create an Exceptional Mobile Customer Experience

Erika Englesby  //  February 7, 2017  //  5 min read

Recently, I joined Marisa Nolan, Apptentive’s VP of Sales, for a webinar about how to build an exceptional mobile customer experience. If you missed it, don’t worry!

In this post, I cover the three strategies we reviewed during the webinar to help you level-up your CX and improve your app’s retention, customer happiness, and more. I share how to give customers a voice, provide personalized experiences, and use customer feedback to prioritize your roadmap using real-life examples from Providence Health’s Circle app, Starbucks, and Nordstrom.

Let’s dive in!

Give customers a voice

Did you know customers expect you to ask them for feedback directly? 51% of consumers reported they expect companies to ask for their feedback across all channels (email, phone, in-store, online, in-app); that number is even higher for consumers who prefer to leave feedback in-app (64%).

The best part? App customers are very willing to give feedback; 98% said they’re likely to do so when asked. The key is to be proactive.

If you’re not proactively asking for feedback, you’re leaving an opportunity on the table to keep your finger on the pulse of your app customers, improve customer happiness, and increase your bottom line.

Don’t limit yourself to asking questions just about the app. You can gather feedback about the brand, their last experience with you, anything you need a lot of feedback about quickly—the list goes on.

For mobile apps, it’s best to give your customers an outlet to provide feedback directly in-app. Why? Our data at Providence Health shows that typically, when customers leave the app, the chances of them coming back are not great. On top of that, you’re also setting up a barrier to communication and interrupting their in-app experience.

Another benefit of opening an in-app communication channel is the opportunity customers have to give negative feedback directly to you before voicing their opinions in public spaces.

I experienced the importance of having in-app communication when I worked on Nordstrom’s app as a Product Manager. After launching the app, we knew we had a problem—the app only had two-stars. For a brand known for its five-star service, this was unacceptable.

To help us understand where customers’ frustrations were with the app, we implemented Apptentive’s Love Prompt to proactively gather feedback. The benefits were twofold; we were able to identify happy customers (and ask them to leave a review in the app store) and we were able to ask unhappy customers to vent their frustrations to us. We gave our customers a voice, and made it easy for them to share their thoughts without having to leave the app.

Nordstrom Ratings Flow

One of the biggest advantages of the Love Prompt was our ability to gather immediate feedback. Upon launching a new version of the app—updated with customer feedback—we were able to tell right away if something was going really well, or horribly wrong.

By implementing an in-app communication channel, we tapped into a wealth of feedback that we’d never received before. Our ability to respond and address our customers’ concerns directly and personally was also a huge value-add.

With Apptentive’s help, we boosted Nordstrom’s app rating to five-stars and made major improvements on the mobile customer experience based on the feedback we received.

Personalize experiences for your customers

Providing a personalized app experience enhances your entire CX. At Providence Health, we proactively engage our Circle app customers by sending them contextually relevant, personalized messages.

Providence Health's Circle App

For example, the Circle app has many trackers expecting moms can use to track pregnancy milestones. If one of our app customers has never used a tracker, they are probably not the right audience to notify when we launch a new tracker.

But the person isn’t the only key component to offering a personalized experience; it’s the place too. Identify places in the app that make the most sense to trigger messages to make the most impact.

Let’s go back to the tracker example. A great time to tell a customer about our new tracker is when they have finished using a different tracker. By contrast, if we were to message them about a new tracker when they’re in the process of using a different tracker, it would be a disruptful experience.

Not only does personalized engagement create an exceptional customer experience, it also significantly increases the amount of time customers spend in your app. Customers who are proactively engaged with are four times as likely to use your app after three months.

Apptentive's retention with in-app engagement chart

By identifying who to talk to and where in the app to talk to them, we are able to elevate the customer experience of the Circle app by avoiding annoying, impersonal, and irrelevant messages.

Use customer feedback to prioritize product roadmap

Using customer feedback to prioritize your product roadmap might seem like an obvious strategy, but very few companies actually do this. Remember, your customers expect you to ask them for feedback, so there is a massive opportunity to essentially have an insurance policy on your roadmap.

I love asking product managers, “What if you could ask 20% to 30% of your customers what product features they’re most interested in?” You can using in-app surveys.

With in-app surveys, you can collect clear data points about which features to prioritize. My favorite example of this in action happened while I was working as a Product Manager at Starbucks.

We felt fairly confident that Starbucks customers wanted to be able to order and pay via the mobile app. To help us prove the demand for this feature before expending resources to build it, we used Apptentive’s in-app surveys to ask customers how important mobile order and pay was to them.

In the span of a week, we received a large volume of responses that were overwhelmingly in favor of building mobile order and pay. Not only were we able to prove customers wanted this feature, we were able to get substantial feedback on the MVP.

With that data in hand, we were able to get buy-in from the leadership team. As a result, mobile order and pay was prioritized and delivered two quarters earlier than originally planned. I suspect senior management was pleased with the additional two quarters of revenue from the new channel. :)

The ability to quickly gather a lot of feedback frequently allowed us to prove out our future product roadmap and built trust that we were going in the direction customers wanted.

In conclusion

To build an exceptional mobile customer experience, be sure to give your customers a voice in the app, personalize experiences for your customers, and use their feedback to help prioritize your product roadmap.

Customer experience can make or break your app’s retention, customer happiness, revenue and more. Building a stand-out mobile customer experience takes work, but incorporating the three strategies I outline above will be sure to positively impact your overall metrics.

How do you create outstanding mobile customer experiences? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

About Erika Englesby

Erika Englesby is the Senior Product Manager on the Consumer Innovation Team at Providence Health and Services. She has a wealth of mobile experience having also worked on the Nordstrom, and Starbucks apps. For fun, you'll find her exploring Seattle with her daughter and continuing her hunt for the perfect dumpling.
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