As a developer you probably put a lot of thought into your app design, the mechanics, the features and functionalities. You may even thing hard about analytics and monetization strategy, and certainly (we hope) you pay attention to your distribution strategy. But how much time do you spend thinking about how to support your users? In our interview with Adam Mintz from Helpshift you can get an insight into the ultimate engagement tool: Customer service.
1. What mistakes do you see most often by developers when it comes to implementing quality customer service protocols within their apps?
Many Developers don’t see the need for Support or Help sections inside their apps. I can’t stress how important it is to have a visible Help section. All users needs support at some point when using mobile apps. As a Developer, it’s foolish to assume that your app is so easy to use that it doesn’t require a Help section with FAQs or a Knowledgebase. You’re trying to reach millions of people across the world with your app. If these potential users have a problem or can’t figure out something your app, take the time to give them a way to get help. As we all know, upset users will either leave you a negative App Store or Google Play Store rating and/or uninstall your app. Both of these outcomes hurt your app’s success.
2. What factors should developers consider when determining their customer service strategy?
Developers need to consider the following when rolling out a support strategy: resources, platform, and response time. If you don’t have the money to spend on hiring a full time support agent, then have a rotation for your team so every member does a little bit of support each day. This will help you resolve your users’ issues without having to spend extra capital.
Choose a platform to handle your support. While Gmail is free and easy to setup, it’s not a scalable solution. You can go the traditional help desk route, which is email-based, but that can require a lot of setup time and customizations. Mobile-first companies choose Helpshift because we built our solution for the mobile world and not the email one. Keeping everything in-app, including FAQs and Messaging, allows you to scale and be more efficient without having to add more bodies. You want your users to stay in your app, so why would you communicate via email when you can communicate with them inside your app?
Communicate the expected response time for a user’s ticket to be answered. If users submit a ticket/message/email to your support, and it takes more than a few hours to get a response, you’ve greatly increased the chance of losing that user. At the very least you’ll want an auto-responder to let the user know that his/her ticket has been received and that it will be answered in x number of hours or days. Just having: “Thank you for your message. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours” lets the user know that he/she has been heard and support will get back to them. 24 hours should be plenty of time for someone from your team to address the issue.
Quick answer: it will come organically. If you focus on providing high quality support to your users, then they’ll often return the favor either by leaving an App Store review and/or telling their friends about your app. Turn your users into your advocates by helping them navigate any trouble inside your app. One of the most important and easiest things you can do to provide high quality support is to follow-up with your users after a problem. A simple “Hey there, wanted to make sure that you aren’t seeing that crash anymore after our last update.” is a great way to reach out to the user. In the user’s mind, he/she feels special that the Developer of the game he/she plays personally reached out to make sure everything is okay. To send that message or email took you 4 minutes out of your day, but the impact it has can be an increase in the user’s LTV, positive App Store rating, and/or the user telling friends to download your app.
4. What changes or innovations are you seeing in the broader app space that developers should be aware of?
Remember that your app has the potential to reach a global audience. It’s important to localize your app so it can benefit users from different cultures and countries and who speak different languages. Depending on your app’s function, the impact might change from country to country. If your app requires a strong network connection, it may not do very well in parts of the world where 4G/LTE isn’t as widespread.
5. Wildcard – any question/answer of your choice
Q: How do I set my app apart from the competition?
A: Customer support! The easiest thing you can do to set yourself apart from a competitor is to provide excellent customer support. It’s the Zappos way! Shoppers can buy a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors from a whole number of online retailers. However, they return to Zappos because of the customer support. They know that if there is a mistake or the shoes don’t fit, that Zappos will accept the return easily. Zappos has been a trailblazer in the way support should be done.
Remember, one bad experience can spread like a plague. This is especially true in a world where everyone tweets, texts, and shares things across the Internet. So invest a little bit of time and resources to keep your users happy and using your app.
Adam Mintz is the Head of Onboarding at Helpshift, an in-app support solution for mobile apps. Helpshift provides a native user engagement experience for thousands of apps and processes 3 billion App Sessions every month. Helpshift’s customers include those in the gaming, lifestyle, productivity, b2b, and news app categories. Check out their Developers Page or homepage for more information.