Delight your customers, build them an app
According to estimates, mobile users today are spending 86% of their time on apps. This increase is reflected in their engagement with brands too, with 68% of mobile users engaging with them via apps rather than mobile websites.
It is therefore important for companies to begin communicating with their customers via their medium of preference–mobile apps–in order to create long-lasting relationships with them, to maximise retention and to promote advocacy.
Many companies have already begun to build mobile apps, with a 731% rise in custom-built apps being reported over 2014 and estimates that, by 2017, 25% of enterprises will have their own enterprise app store.
Customer apps are extremely effective ways of delivering value to customers at all stages of their life cycle (check out our blog post on the right apps for all stages of the customer life cycle here). The benefits of customer apps are such that companies not taking advantage of them will risk falling behind the competition. Some of these benefits are:
Improved communication. Customer apps offer companies the chance to improve their customer service by allowing them to provide instant support and information to clients whenever and wherever needed. Information relating to each client can be centralized within an app and always be available to clients, reducing problem solving time dramatically.
Customer insight. Customer apps offer unique opportunities to capture real-time data about customers’ use of your product or service; this allows companies to easily improve app-based customer experience and to enable direct feedback from users about product and services.
New sources of revenue. Customer apps also provide an exclusive opportunity to create additional app-enabled services that can be tailored to each company. This can bring in extra sources of revenue while helping you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Close to customers. Customer apps increase your presence in your customers’ everyday life by always being there on their devices. At the same time, your customers’ ability to access them at whatever time suits them best gives them a great flexibility. This encourages them to consult information about your product or services when they are at their most receptive.
Awareness of technology. Finally, companies offering app services to their clients will be demonstrating a strong awareness of cutting-edge technology, in unison with an increasingly tech-savvy customer body.
But having an app is no guarantee that your clients will use it, or that it will deliver value. Poorly-designed customer apps can actually tarnish a company’s reputation rather than improve it.
The good news is that creating a great app has never been easier. When building an app, however, companies will have to ensure that it truly delivers value to their clients; and ultimately, that it increases and improves engagement with their product or service. Some ways of doing this are:
- Presenting your product or service in an engaging and visual way.
Making it easy for users to find the information they need.
Making it easy for users to get in touch with you.
Offering users great support by anticipating their needs and delivering solutions.
Educating users on the best ways to maximise their use of your product or service.
Including interactive content like quizzes, tests and games to personalise the app.
Offering extra benefits to app users, such as workshops, promotions, email campaigns or email courses.
But what customer apps should you be building for your clients? Although the possibilities for specially tailored apps are endless, here are some of the basic apps that you should be thinking about building:
1. Client communication apps
Client communication apps can revolutionise the way you communicate with your clients. With an app, you can provide clients with instant access to information or relevant documents whenever needed.
Clients can also instantly report any issues they might encounter, and support can likewise be promptly provided. Other features such as push alerts can serve to keep clients updated at all times on every single detail that is relevant to them.
Another possible feature is enabling project status reporting, so that clients can be delivered up-to-date information and content on specific projects or orders.
2. Service information apps
A service or product information app is an easy and quick way for prospective or current clients to find out information about all your products and services on their mobile device. It can be used to keep clients updated on any changes to your offering, and to attract prospective clients by providing a visually engaging display of your product or service information. Other potential features to include are buying guides and case studies.
3. Document library apps
A document library app can be particularly effective for current clients by centralising relevant documents and educational resources, such as FAQs and User Guides, all in one place.
4. Content marketing apps
A content marketing app is the quickest way to provide useful content to clients, whether it is educational resources (FAQs, promotions or email courses) or interactive content (quizzes, tests, games and competitions). Content marketing apps can be used very efficiently to highly engage clients and to provide them with special ‘add-ons’ that ultimately make you stand out as the stronger competitor.
5. Event, conference and workshop apps
Finally, event apps are extremely innovative ways of enhancing clients’ experience of your event, conference and workshop, by providing them with all the relevant information–schedule, location, speaker biographies, etc–on their mobile devices. Extra benefits such as educational resources and additional content can be exclusively provided to event app users, while enabling attendee messaging and including an in-app document library can encourage higher engagement and networking. A feedback quiz at the end of your event can likewise provide you with valuable insight into how future events can be improved.
Customer apps have become an essential–indeed, a necessary–part of companies’ strategies if they wish to stay ahead of competitors. Clients today simply expect to receive information and to communicate instantly, so by building them apps you will be delighting them, making their customer experience as smooth as possible, and encouraging them to remain with you and even to advocate you.
Now is the time for companies to harness the power of mobile to innovate, grow and to create more value than ever for your clients.
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