Consider these scenarios for a moment:

Scenario 1: Supermarket giant, Tesco launches a mobile app for customers. It serves the purpose of a virtual grocery store for customers who are time-pressed to go and shop physically. This initiative results in 900,000 app downloads in less than a year, a 130 percent boost in online sales, and a 76 percent increase in app usage.

Scenario 2: McDonald’s introduces digital self-order kiosks and table service to cut queue times for customers. It leads to an improvement in comparable sales by 100 basis points and a 4.1 percent same-store sales growth by early 2018.

Scenario 3: DJ-duo, Axwell /\ Ingrosso introduce a chatbot to sell merchandise. The results? They sell over £10,000 ($11,198.50) worth of merchandise via Facebook Messenger in a couple of months, while at the same time reducing marketing spend by 80 percent.

What do all these initiatives tell us?

  • Scenario 1: The success strategy utilized digital innovation that focused on the customer’s convenience, needs, and priority.
  • Scenario 2: The winning hand lied in the brand’s ability to think on their feet and implement efforts to elevate the overall customer experience.
  • Scenario 3: Using futuristic technology can pay handsomely. The use of messenger bot achieved three goals: streamlined purchase experience, bringing together a collective of engaged fans, and timely responses, along with exclusive merchandise launches, making customers feel special.

These are just a few examples of how brands are bending backward, forwards, and everywhere in between to enhance their customer experience. More importantly, note that they are using various digital platforms to adapt to dynamic times.

It’s only natural to wonder why. Let the numbers do all the talking. Over 73 percent of consumers use multiple channels to shop (Harvard Business Review). Over 80 percent of organizations expect to compete mainly based on CX in 2019 (Gartner). Plus, over 80 percent of customers would purchase from a company that offers personalized experiences (Edelman).

The point we’re driving is curiously simple. If your brand wishes to be alive, relevant, and real, you need to focus on improving your customer experience at all times.

At this point, a couple of big questions and concerns may be circling around in your mind:

Q1. Is it necessary for small or medium-sized businesses like mine to engage and invest in improving CX?

Legitimate concern 1: “It sounds like a costly affair and I don’t have the resources to drive such an initiative.”

Legitimate concern 2: “I don’t know where or how to begin such an expansive process.”

We get it. Improving your customer experience is no mean feat. It requires mental, as well as a monetary investment, especially when it comes to improving a mobile-driven CX.

To make things easier for you, we will focus on the top four onboarding techniques you can implement when going all-out mobile. We believe they’re definitely worth their salt and quite frankly, worth the hype too.

1. Convenience

Image Source: Leanplum

With so many numbers being thrown around, let’s turn to philosophy for a change. Jeremy Bentham, an English philosopher, intelligently captured the essence of human behavior, and by extension, the customer experience. He quoted: “All human beings by default act to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.”

Putting two and two together, you may have guessed that convenience or a hassle-free experience forms the intrinsic principle of CX. Remember that only 14 percent of new users return after initial download plus a mere 2.7 percent tend to stick around post 30 days. While these numbers may not seem encouraging enough, there are steps in place to ensure you can turn the tables around in your favor. You can achieve this by:

  • Implementing a user-friendly signup process: In layman terms, this is sort of like a first date with your customer. First impressions can be last impressions and that sums up everything. If your sign-up/registration form is not user-friendly, simple, and short, you’ll be in for a world of pain. So if you wish to improve your conversion rates, as well as boost user engagement, you have to bring your A-game to the table. Note that there are different sign-up flows that you can use for your app, and it all depends on your individual requirements. Just one piece of advice. Be innovative, funny, and smart in your approach.
  • Engaging in a detailed and thorough co-browsing support: If you wish to reduce churn and increase engagement, all at the same time, you need to engage in mobile user testings and offer mental support (by way of your app content and visuals). This analytical-cum-textual approach comes with multi-dimensional benefits such as:
  • A quality experience of cobrowse to the customers that ensures they feel understood and more importantly, valued.
  • Quality-driven and optimized CX as a result of continuous fine-tuning intricate details (courtesy those 10,000 rounds of testing).
  • In-depth analysis of underlying issues over potentially fatal problems such as unusually high bounce rates, low customer engagement, unsatisfied service feedback, etc.
  • Identifying different aspects of customer’s needs, wants, wishes, and aspirations and tailoring communication basis the information gathered.

2. Let ‘Informational Guides’ Guide You Home

Image Source: Delivra

Who says video tutorials and newsletter support are only for boring and complicated electronic systems? On- and off-screen guidance can make or break your mobile app onboarding.

Here’s how you can kick start the process by providing the following features:

  • Expert guidance through YouTube tutorials: It’s common knowledge that visually-driven content is more digestible than a content-driven one. So, make sure to invest enough time and infuse greater creativity to deliver timely, relevant, and contextual videos that guide the user to gain more customers. The good news is that there are a number of formats you can experiment with, such as interactive tutorials, coach screens, progress bars, tool-tips, walk-through, training videos, among others.
  • Value-based newsletters (weekly/bi-monthly): When it comes to newsletters, remember that the pendulum can swing both ways. It can either be a much-awaited informational asset or a much-hated trash can frequenter. The key is to provide relevant information that’s broken down into category buckets such as:
  • Introductory bucket: How to use the app in 10 easy steps?
  • Benefits bucket: It addresses the question, “What’s in it for the customers?” An example to feature in the newsletter could be, “Five key features of the app for all kinds of customers.”
  • Persona-based bucket: Identify your target audience: Who are they?, Where do they live?, What are their interests?, What are their goals/aspirations?, etc. Then tie this data with your offering to answer any questions you think they may be having about the product/service/brand. All in all, it’s important to always be in the customer’s head and think of things from their perspective.
    These are just a few suggestions you can try, put your thinking caps on and draft a few innovative ones for yourself.

3. Notify, Don’t Annoy: Purposeful Notifications

‘Mobile Moments’ are all the rage now, and rightly so. Simply put, it’s the moment in which a person pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants, immediately and in context. Data corroborates this finding. You can expect an 88 percent higher engagement on average if you use targeted notifications in your customer journey.

However, extra care must be taken to avoid becoming ‘Mr. Heckles’ (from F.R.I.E.N.D.S) in your customer’s life, one who is annoying, repetitive, and boring. Use this feature with the mantra ‘few and far in-between’ for the sole purpose of enhancing CX by adopting the following roles in their life:

  • Gatekeeper: Send a reminder informing customers of what they’re missing. Mind you, a short one at that.
  • Do-gooder: Inform them about upcoming offers/discounts/sales.
  • Coach: Addressing questions customers may have from time-to-time about your brand and offer relevant tips/solutions by asking them to come onto the app.

In summary, in the case of mobile in-app notification, the trick lies in delivering the right message at the right moment without making the customer say, “Oh no, it’s brand [xyz] again.” If they’re ready for another date night, you can expect a marriage proposal in the near future.

4. In-App Navigation

Image Source: Leanplum

To put it simply, you need to Christopher Columbus the hell out of your mobile app. If your customers are lost on the app before they even begin their journey, you’ll have a hard time getting people to sign up. Research suggests that around sixty-one percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they have trouble accessing, and 40 percent end up visiting a competitor’s site instead (McKinsey & Co.).

Focus on getting the basics right; simplistic navigation, minimal and conversational content, visually-driven, benefits-focused, etc. There are many good practices that you can adopt. So, how do you differentiate your offering from the sea of competition? By going the extra mile. Some tried-and-tested ways to master this include:

  • Integrating auto-fill and smart suggestions features: As Steve Jobs said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” Google’s Gmail does this brilliantly. Let your customers know that you’re aware of their needs even before they say so. And that you have your fingers on the pulse of “all things mobile,” this helps garner unparalleled trust and confidence in your brand’s expertise and skills.
  • Support users in search of the desired service/product: It’s great to pre-empt what users may want. It’s even better to assist them if they’re looking for something more specific. This gives rise to the “customized and highly-revered individualized” experience. Why is this important? Because as we’re aware, mobile CX is largely “intent-driven.” Loosely translated, this means that in rare cases, say when your audience belongs to a diverse background (geographically, socially, economically, etc.) with polar opposite interests and needs, you may find yourself between a rock and a hard place. In such a case, it’s imperative to undergo trial sessions and brainstorm on their unique requirements with the end-goal of ensuring that they become your loyal customers. Plus, it also ensures that the search box/icon is visible and accessible at all times.

Closing Thoughts

Seamless. Beneficial. Endearing: These are the three aspects of in-app CX that differentiate a great CX from a good one, like the app for the brand “Calm.” The app effortlessly encapsulates all three factors and enriches the CX manifold. In terms of tangible benefits, studies suggest that a powerful CX experience has the potential to increase engagement up to 4X. Plus, data also predicts that companies with an experience-led focus have 1.6x higher brand awareness, 1.5x higher employee satisfaction, 1.9x higher average order value, 1.7x higher customer retention, 1.9x return on spend, and 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates. (Forrester).

In intangible terms, you can benefit from higher customer engagement, increased app/brand retention, and improved app stickiness, the holy trinity of the mobile app universe.