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Mobile Marketing

What Does Proactive Customer Engagement Look Like on Mobile?

Chris Minnich  //  August 23, 2022  //  8 min read

The first 30 days of a new customer’s experience with an app are a strong indicator of lifetime value and customer retention. Proactive customer engagement from brands is essential during those critical first few weeks. 

When brands engage with their customers early and often, 30-day retention rates triple, and costly customer churn is reduced.

The goal of this post is to highlight the importance of proactive customer engagement (especially in the first 30 days) and demonstrate what proactive engagement on mobile looks like.

Why is proactive customer engagement so important?

Proactive customer engagement can have an impact on many facets of a business, from sales to marketing to customer support.  The importance of proactive engagement cannot be overstated, and here are four key reasons why: 

  1. Proactive engagement drives higher retention rates (particularly in the first 30-days).
  2. Your customers want their voice to be heard but won’t always give their feedback unprompted. 
  3. Customer engagement at the beginning of the customer journey sets the stage for increased personalization as the relationship progresses.
  4. Proactive customer engagement can uncover pain points in the customer journey, allowing you to optimize your mobile customer journey before it’s too late. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into these four points!

Proactive engagement drives higher retention rates

One of the key findings that came out of our 2022 Mobile Customer Engagement Benchmark Report was that brands are getting better at engaging with their customers early on in the customer journey. 

For the average mobile app, retention rates fall between 15 to 20 percent (Appsflyer and Statista, 2021). Apps using Apptentive had an average 30-day retention rate of 67 percent—an increase of more than three times the industry average, driven by proactive consumer engagement.

2021 retention benchmarks

While the first 30 days are critical to retaining new customers in the short term, long term retention requires consistent interactions between the brand and the customer. Across all apps in our dataset, 44 percent of consumers who used the app in January were seen in December. If the customer saw an Apptentive interaction in January, 60 percent were still seen in December—a massive improvement just from mobile teams being proactive about gathering consumer feedback.

The numbers speak for themselves, if brands are proactive, and consistent, with customer engagement they can dramatically improve retention rates, while cutting churn significantly.

Your customers want to be heard

Typically,  96 percent of unhappy customers churn before ever complaining. However, 98 percent of customers said they are likely to provide feedback if asked. These two statistics make it clear that brands often don’t hear from most of their unhappy customers, but these customers still want their voices to be heard. 

By proactively engaging customers with in-app surveys and microsurveys such as the Love Dialog, brands can collect crucial customer feedback, identify unhappy customers, and most importantly give customers a voice

Not only do customers want to be heard, 51 percent of consumers expect companies to ask them for feedback directly. 

Unprompted, companies typically only hear from roughly one percent of their customers. However, when brands proactively reach out, the average response rate to in-app interactions was 91 percent. Which means that the overwhelming majority of consumers who were interacted with responded to the brand’s outreach. 

In 2021, there was correlation between interaction rates and retention rates. The more customers you are actively engaging with the higher retention rates tend to be.

Proactive customer engagement: 2021 interaction and retention rates by industry

Proactive customer engagement allows for increased personalization

During those first 30 days it is important to make early investments in each customer’s individual  experience.  To create a personalized experience it takes proactively asking customers how they feel about your brand and app. This customer feedback and key emotional data helps brands improve their product and personalize messaging and experiences based on the feedback provided.

Early engagement during the customer journey also creates a mobile customer engagement history and sets the groundwork for a deeper customer relationship. With this feedback and data, brands can personalize their messaging and targeting to reach the right customers at the right time with the right message. 

Retargeting like this is the key to driving continued mobile customer engagement. For example, if a customer complained about a specific issue or feature, let the customer know that you hear them and are taking steps to address their feedback. Once their request has been implemented or the issue fixed, send a Note to the customer and inform them of the impact of their feedback.

Demonstration of a Note being sent to customers after they completed an in-app survey

Personalized interactions are only made possible because of proactive engagements that occur early-on in the customer journey, particularly in the first 30 days.

Optimize your mobile customer journey

Oftentimes, proactive customer engagement will uncover pain points in your mobile customer experience. You can survey customers in the middle of their journey or after they have completed a specific action to determine current challenges or areas of improvement. With this data in hand, you can improve customer experience throughout the entire customer journey and provide more guidance to customers at challenging phases of the process. 

Addressing pain points in the customer journey creates a smoother mobile experience for your current and future customers.  Proactively asking for feedback in the first 30 days is a faster way to uncover customer pain points. Instead of  waiting for customers to come to you with their feedback, reach out to them to get their feedback before it is too late.

What does proactive customer engagement look like?

We’ve addressed why proactive customer engagement is important to your brand’s success. But what does proactive engagement on mobile really look like?

Capturing feedback

Proactive engagement all starts with capturing feedback from your customers. The opportunities to collect feedback on mobile are endless, but here are a few key methods to engage your customers with: 

  1. Microsurveys such as the Love Dialog let you gauge customer emotion while they are interacting with your product. With the Love Dialog, you can simply prompt customers with the singular question, “Do you love our app?” If they respond “no” you can then ask the customer to complete a short survey on why they are having a negative experience. 
  2. In-app surveys give customers the opportunity to provide quick actionable feedback on their experience with the product. In-app surveys can be served to specific segments of your customers when their experience of using the app is still fresh.

The feedback and emotional data that you receive from these two methods gives you the information needed to improve your overall customer experience, as well as create personalized experiences for each customer going forward.

Get started with simple configuration target customers based on specific attributes send surveys gather first-party data analyze survey results

Analyze the feedback provided

It may seem obvious, but far too many businesses collect customer feedback and then let it sit. The first step in leveraging feedback is to analyze it critically in order to improve customer experience and understand what your customers really want. 

Proactively collecting feedback helps retain customers in those 30 first days, but it’ll take analysis and eventual action to keep them around longer than that.

Don’t forget to share customer feedback with other teams in your organization! While it can be easy to assume customer feedback is owned solely by product managers, in reality, it impacts your entire organization. Marketers, product managers, research teams, customer success managers, and everyone in between can benefit from understanding what customers want, so it’s important to share it with all stakeholders.

Take action on mobile feedback

After identifying your customer wants and needs through customer engagement, it’s time to take action on the mobile feedback provided. This step is where your brand will see the most value because you are not only responding to feedback from current customers, but improving your product and experience for future customers. 

Depending on the feedback you receive, action can take many forms. One example that we mentioned earlier in the post is optimizing your mobile customer journey based on the feedback provided. Here are few other examples of acting on customer feedback: 

  1. Product roadmap prioritization: Use your mobile customer feedback to improve your product. Customer feedback provides product managers and mobile marketers with pre-validated ideas to fix or improve their apps. These insights should inform your product roadmap and rally your development team around a single, centric point: the customer. Make sure you think critically through customer feedback and use data to inform your product decisions.
  2. Re-target unhappy customers to win them back: Using the Love Dialog you can identify which customers are unhappy and are at risk of churning. After a customer says “no, I don’t love your app,” you can then quickly follow up and ask for more information on why they are unhappy and potentially offer them deals or discounts to stay with you.

For more information on this topic check out our webinar titled “How to Translate Customer Feedback Into Action”

Close the feedback loop and repeat

Proactive customer engagement isn’t just about collecting feedback, it also entails letting your customers know about the impact their feedback had. 

One of the best things about collecting in-app feedback is that it simplifies the follow-up process. For example, after adding a feature or an update you can send Notes to the customers that made the request.

Once again, asking customers for feedback might keep them around for the full 30 days. But longer-term loyalty requires action and letting customers know that you are taking steps to listen and improve. 

Proactive customer engagement is a continuous process: Capture, analyze, act, close the feedback loop. And then repeat! 

Conclusion

The first 30 days of a customer experience with your app will go a long way in determining the value, quality, and lifetime of that relationship. We recommend mobile teams make an early investment in personalizing that journey and proactively ask how customers feel about their experience.

If you want to see how Apptentive can help you with proactive customer engagement, request an Apptentive product demo or sign up for a 30 day free trial!

About Chris Minnich

Chris Minnich is a Content Specialist at Apptentive. He enjoys telling stories with written and visual content.
View all posts by Chris Minnich >

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