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5 Ways You Can Use iOS 11 to Drive Customer Love

Robi Ganguly  //  December 14, 2017  //  7 min read

A major change iOS 11 brought to the app ecosystem is a new focus on meaningful customer communication. With our mission to give every customer a voice, we at Apptentive were excited to see Apple shifting its focus to center more around the customer.

App publishers have begun to respond to the changes ushered in by iOS 11, and a big piece of getting ahead is finding the right time, right place, and right person to communicate with in-app, especially in context of the new three ratings limitation. The more intelligent your team gets about the various points in your app that are meaningful, and the more you segment and target against those events in order to communicate, the better you will learn about what actually works.

On the flip side, if you are consistently not measuring or being thoughtful about communication timing, and you’re using the Apple method, you risk burning through your three prompts over the course of a year really quickly, with a very low conversion rate.

This is a scenario nobody wants because you won’t end up getting people to actually speak about you positively in the App Store. Then, you can’t ask those customers again because they’ve been limited, so you run out of the supply of your fans. You might have to wait three, six, or even nine months over the course of the year before people become available again to rate you. Needless to say, finding the right time or right place has never been more important, and Apple is driving all of us to be more thoughtful about the spots where we choose to communicate with our customers.

Apptentive has thought a lot about finding the right mobile moments to communicate with customers in apps, and as a result, have plenty of best practices on the topic. We give a meaningful amount of advice to our customers, and today we want to share that advice with you.

5 tips to drive customer love in iOS 11

At Apptentive, we’re focused on helping our customers reach out to their mobile consumers to understand how they’re feeling; make improvements to their products and customer experience; and activate evangelists. Here are five tips you can use to achieve these goals through iOS 11.

1. Focus on customer sentiment

At Apptentive, we don’t really think about ratings and reviews except in the context of what you know about your customers, and our customers start conversations by trying to understand how their customers feel. Our Love Dialogue, which is used tens of millions of times a month around the world with consumers, starts with a very simple question: Does your customer love you? It’s crucial to understand whether or not your customer loves your brand, loves your app, and loves the experience.

Love Dialog

And what we find is 90% of the time, customers will answer this question. If they answer “Yes,” there are plenty of engagement opportunities, including the chance to receive positive ratings and reviews in the App Store. Importantly, our customers are finding that a broader focus on how to learn from customers who love them is much more gratifying than a myopic focus on ratings. With the ability to reset App Store ratings at your discretion with iOS 11, companies are using the Love Dialog as a crucial piece of their customer understanding—it helps them understand how their customers feel on a regular basis. When you think about how to engage customers who love you, keep in mind that they’re perfect for beta tests, customer research, spontaneous rewards, social sharing, and more.

Conversely, the folks who say “No” are equally important to understand. If somebody is not yet a huge fan, or doesn’t have an emotional connection to your brand, this is your opportunity to understand what can be valuable to them. You can engage and learn what their pain points are, understand more of the journey they’re taking, and have a real conversation with the customer to investigate what’s going on. In Marketing, Customer Insights, and Product Management, there are valuable insights that come from people who aren’t yet your fans. You might find in listening to your unhappy customers that your language should change or that specific features are very confusing and lack utility. Proactively soliciting feedback from detractors can lead to a tremendous increase in the areas of opportunity.

2. Follow up with customers when you learn from them

Once you’ve initially engaged and connected with a customer, it’s important to circle back on what you learn. What really matters to many customers is not just that you hear from them, but you follow up.

Many of our customers start off by asking, “Do you love our app?” And for the people who say, “No,” they are directed to a feedback Survey that will aggregate hundreds, if not thousands, of responses over the course of a couple weeks. If you make changes as a result of what customers say through a survey, especially around what can be improved, it’s important to let them know. If someone takes the time to share ideas for how you can improve your experience, you don’t want to leave them hanging, wondering if their feedback got lost in the abyss.

Once changes have been made (whether it’s hours, days, weeks, or months), our customers leverage Notes to communicate with their customers to say, “We heard you. There are some areas that we’ve changed. Please come check it out again and take a look at what we’ve done because we’ve been paying attention to you.” Driving customer love doesn’t just stop at listening to and implementing feedback; you must close the loop by following up to ensure the customer knows they’ve been heard.

3. Proactively give loyal customers tools to deepen their relationships

Loyal customers are in a league of their own. If a customer says, “I’m a huge fan. What you’re doing is great. You allow me to complete the task I came to complete, and I enjoy using your app,” that’s the best case scenario. Building loyalty may not be easy, but it’s always worth it, especially as loyal customers have a very different path that you can take them on.

For example, you could be a retailer with multiple different shopping apps, or an entertainment company with several different communities around it. When you know that somebody is a huge fan in this scenario, the loyal customer might not know about the other experiences they might love, and it’s up to you to proactively lead them in the right direction to improve their experience.

The best way to give your customers a positive experience? Communication. Reach out, engage them, and make them feel valued. And in fact, we’ve found that simply interacting with customers, proactively and respectfully, can increase three-month retention by as much as 400%.

Proactively engage with customers

4. Make customers your primary focus group

Being able to study your customers is a great way to capitalize on what’s already working and what needs to be improved. Many of the companies we work with, as a result of being reactive earlier in their strategies, spent a lot of time thinking about the roadmap in the context of the “vocal minority,” or the small, upset, loud segment of their customers who were quick to voice their displeasure in the App Store. But as these companies began to navigate to a place where they focused on a broader segment of their customers, they’ve begun doing more research and using customers segments as focus groups to understand how to go deeper. Once they began intercepting feedback from a broader range of customers outside of this small but loud group, their strategies began to improve from their learnings.

Since mobile users are already your customers, you can safely infer that your findings represent your larger customer base. And based on usage data, you already know how often they use your app, what features they use, etc. This means you can infer their level of loyalty before you begin your outreach. If you use your existing customers as a focus group, it’s less likely your results will be biased and your findings will be easier to segment.

5. Let feedback drive your product roadmap

Thinking about feedback and new feature development in the context of identifying your fans first, and then learning from them, is an accelerant to roadmap development. As we’ve been talking about in the context of iOS 11 ratings, a positive outcome of identifying your fans is identifying the people who are most likely to say great things about you in the App Store and who’ve already raised their hand and said, “We love this brand.”

Consider using in-app surveys to gather feedback on a new feature, open-ended text fields to learn more about an in-app engagement experience, or proactively reach out with in-app messages to encourage customers to engage. These insights should inform your product roadmap and rally your development team around a single point: the customer. If you allow customers to help you prioritize, you can bet you’ll be closer to delivering a great experience than you would be doing it on your own.

Looking ahead

We at Apptentive love thinking about how to communicate with customers, and are excited to see how iOS 11 continues to change the landscape for the better. We think the future of the world is two-way conversations with customers, building real relationships, and believe listening and being proactive go hand-in-hand.

Our latest iOS SDK has iOS 11’s in-app ratings prompt, and if you’re not a customer, we’re happy to help and answer any questions. But no matter what, think about identifying the right mobile moments for your in-app engagement strategy. Think about how to be proactive and make sure that your company is moving into an environment where it understands customers in order to serve them better, instead of just hoping they’ll give you five-stars in the App Store to increase your conversion rates and brand reputation.

About Robi Ganguly

Robi Ganguly is the Co-founder and CEO at Apptentive. He is passionate about giving customers a voice via mobile. Follow Robi on Twitter @rganguly.
View all posts by Robi Ganguly >

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