When we were writing this post, we did a little research to see what other brands were saying about mobile customer experience. Almost every article started out with a long opening paragraph explaining the importance of mobile. But if you clicked on this article, we’re going to take a wild gamble that you already know that. So, we won’t waste your time.

Instead, here are some tangible, actionable steps you can take back to your team today to build a stronger mobile customer experience that helps you stand out from the competition and build long-term customer value. Sound good?

To give you a general idea of where the mobile playing field is today, here are a few 2020 stats from our friends at App Annie:

App Annie’s State of Mobile report is a fantastic place to start when looking for a general lay of the land and high-level stats. We also recommend checking out our 2021 Mobile App Engagement Report as we break down more engagement and experience-focused stats by category such as retention, loyalty, ratings and reviews, shifted sentiment, in-app survey responses, and more.

Stop talking about customer-centricity; turn it into action

Every company says they’re “customer-centric,” but very few actually are. Typically, when brands claim this, it’s more of a marketing technique and less of an actual pillar in their product strategy.

The only way to get your team to take action on customer-centricity is to make sure they have access to information that allows them to make data-driven, informed decisions rather than guesses.

Your team should have explicit data that has come directly from customers’ mouths (surveys, ratings and reviews, message centers, etc.) as well as from implicit data (favorited items, past purchasing behavior, etc.).

The bottom line is this: Your team needs data in order to make customer-centric decisions. Guessing what the customer wants and acting on it is not customer-centric behavior. Guessing does a disservice to both your team and your customers by wasting everyone’s time prioritizing the wrong tasks and increasing the potential for a disjointed customer experience.

Proactively reach out to customers (yes, even the unhappy ones)

Most brands today may think they build products around their customers’ needs and feedback, but in reality, they only hear from less than one percent of their customer base. That means about 99 percent of their customers are in the “silent majority” and not being put at the center of their product roadmap. Traditional feedback channels like emailing an NPS survey just don’t cut it anymore.

Customers expect you to ask them for feedback directly, but you need to do so at the right time and place. Fifty-one percent of consumers say they expect companies to ask for their feedback, and that number is even higher for consumers who prefer to leave feedback in-app (64%). App customers are very willing to give feedback; 98 percent said they’re likely to do so when asked.

So, what are you waiting for?

90-day App Retention

The more customer voices you take into account, the more customer-centric you are. If you’re not proactively asking for feedback, you’re leaving an opportunity on the table to keep your finger on the pulse of your app customers, improve customer happiness, and increase your bottom line.

“Brands that take proactive steps to address customer concerns demonstrate customer centricity, which earns customer trust and builds relationships.” (Gartner)

Incorporate customer feedback directly into your product roadmap

Using customer feedback to prioritize your product roadmap might seem like an obvious strategy, but very few companies actually do it. As we established above, your customers expect you to ask them for feedback, so there is a massive opportunity to essentially have an insurance policy on your roadmap, and to ultimately improve their experience.

Start by asking four questions:

  1. What do I want feedback on? Perhaps you’re looking for feedback on a specific product feature like login or the mobile order and pay experience.
  2. What kind of feedback do I want? For example, do you want strictly quantitative feedback like NPS? Or are you looking for more qualitative feedback where you’d benefit from an open-ended answer box?
  3. Who would give this feedback? Do you want to prompt people who are unhappy with their experience or only people who are happy loyalty program members?
  4. Where and when would I need to ask for this feedback? Do you want feedback right after someone completes a purchase? Or maybe a few days after they update their app? What about after they’ve been a loyalty member for two months?

Once you’ve identified the answers to these questions, you can build a mobile customer feedback strategy. As you’ll be able to see after going through this exercise, simply letting people leave any feedback they want on the app store isn’t useful or productive. You have to provide other channels that allow you to act on this feedback and ask at the right time and place.

There are systems and tools you can set up quickly and easily to get the most out of customer feedback such as:

  • In-app surveys
  • NPS+
  • Love Dialog
  • Rating prompts
  • Message centers

Make personalization a priority

Not only does personalized engagement create an exceptional customer experience, it also significantly increases the amount of time customers spend in your app. In 2020, 63 percent of consumers who saw an in-app interaction in Q1 were seeing later in Q3-Q4 and 50% of consumers who saw an interaction in January were seen again in December.

App Retention with Interactions

Today’s consumers are primed for personalization. As our data shows, allowing people to direct their own journey within your mobile experience based on individual preference is the key to short-term retention and long-term loyalty. Personalizing in-app experiences centers on delivering the right message, to the right person, via the right medium, at the right place and time within the app. The deeper brands can segment their mobile consumers based on in-app behaviors, purchase patterns, and usage—ideally down to the individual customer ID—the more success they’ll have at delivering customized experiences that aim to please. In app marketing, less is more. The fewer messages each customer receives, the more powerful each message becomes. Make each message count. Make each message relevant. And make sure you are providing value to the customer above all else.

“Brands often forget a key component in the customer experience and personalization equation: human emotion. Studies show that we primarily rate brands based on personal feelings and experiences—not information. And when a positive emotional connection is created with a brand, 92 percent of us are more likely to stay loyal to a brand, 88 percent are more likely to spend more, and 91 percent are willing to advocate on behalf of the brand.” (Deloitte)

Track more than just NPS or app store ratings

If you’re new to the Apptentive blog, you might not know this but we’re not the biggest fans of NPS. Don’t get us wrong – we think it’s incredibly valuable to have one KPI that gives a pulse on the entire customer experience. However, we think NPS alone isn’t enough.

We know NPS will never go away, so NPS+ is the simple solution our team devised to meet our customers’ needs while still sticking to our beliefs about actionable customer feedback. The goal of a Net Promoter Score-type survey should be to determine the path necessary to change detractors, neutral customers, and even promoters to strong brand advocates. NPS+ does just that. By simply asking customers, “Why did you choose this score?” after the traditional rating question and allowing customers to provide unstructured feedback, we have helped companies to contextualize the NPS score and to understand where their customers think they’re doing well and where they need to improve — and made the survey valuable and relevant for the end customer.

Imagine the value in creating campaigns to turn detractors into promoters, moving passives up on the scale, and identifying power-customers to participate in product development (such as beta-testing). By segmenting detractors, passives, and promoters in specific ways, companies move from tracking a number to actually taking action. While follow-up is historically challenging after NPS, Apptentive’s NPS+ make it a core part of the strategy.

Invest more in the right tools

With all the uncertainty in the world right now, it may feel counterintuitive to be making any VoC purchasing decisions. But in truth, there’s never been a better time. Now, more than ever, your customers want to be heard. They’re itching to give you feedback. Do you have the right tools to capture that voice? If you don’t, you need to get those in place – and fast.

In order to help, we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of the best mobile in-app feedback tools for you. Incorporating these tools into your customer experience tech stack will drive more engagement, gather high-quality customer feedback, and help inform your product roadmap.