An average user has more than 80 apps on their phone, but uses less than 35 per month, and less than 20 per day. That’s a lot of competition to get your customers to download your app and then to entice them to use it! First impressions count, and although it’s a cliche, it is appropriate in this case. How many of us have downloaded an app and then after a few “tries” abandoned it or just deleted it from our phones?

On-boarding – that critical time when a user first starts engaging with an app – is a crucial moment for you as a service provider, as it will pave the way for future digital interactions with your customers. Precisely what you both are looking for – the customer wants to have a convenient mechanism to engage with their provider and the provider wants the ability to engage their customers for account status, new offers, data consumption alerts, etc.

How can you make on-boarding more successful? Here are two cardinal rules to get it right:

1. Set expectations

The customer needs to know what he/she is getting – what will they be able to do with the app, will it make their life easier, is it user friendly, etc. Ideally, they will know how the provider will communicate with them, what their options are to how this is done, and how their privacy is protected, etc.

Give users a preview or a peek behind the curtain of the app before they give their registration/log-in details. Show them where and how they’ll see usage/data details and any other fun “easter egg” elements of the app, like Rogers’ “device tips and tricks” section. Present those with good UI, quickly, and move them back to a registration/information screen. They should see enough to be interested in inputting their data to the app.

Most customers are open to receiving offers from their service providers, but they expect to be asked permission before hand. It is recommended that you apprise customers of the various methods of engagement they can expect to receive and use language that is soft, approachable, and friendly. You want them to think of your app as a trusted source of info for them.

Once the expectations have been laid out, and customers know what they get from the app, they will be more willing to use the app.

2. Motivate usage via personalized engagement

Personalization engages users. Once a user has signed into the app and greenlit push notifications, send them a personalized message a few hours later. For example, welcome them to your service, tell them something about their usage, billing, or how they can maximize their plan during this period.

Another tactic we’ve seen work is to send a push or in-app message roughly 10 days into a billing cycle about their current data usage and expected usage over the next 20 days. Incentivize users to purchase additional data at a discount before the end of this billing cycle. That’s a relatively simple up-sell that can motivate app usage and net you incremental revenue through mobile strategy.

It’s all about being a trusted ally

When you take steps to thoughtfully design a great app on-boarding experience for users, you’ll become that trusted partner they turn to time and again to help them in their journey with you. Set expectations and use personalized engagement to begin the relationship. Get it right and you’ll have app users for years.