Simply Having an App isn’t Enough And Never Was.

Connect with your customers in their most personal space ~ Their Mobile Devices.

We must stop simply paying lip service to customer experience, and start investing in it. Salesforce’s latest “State of Marketing” highlights this, stating that “35% of the report’s surveyed marketers cited customer satisfaction as their top success metric, edging out the traditional goals of revenue (33%) and customer acquisition (24%). This is the second year in a row that customer satisfaction has maintained this top position.” As a SaaS leader, how is your company engaging with your customers? Do you know where and how you can connect with them on a daily basis?

Let’s start with the obvious: Meet your customers where they are. According to a study by Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of Americans own a smartphone, and 85% of young adults own a smartphone – this percentage will only continue to increase. These young adults check their phones at least once per hour. Furthermore, the vast majority of their time on these devices is spent in apps.

In short, they are spending a huge portion of their lives not only on these devices, but in apps that make their experience more rich and streamlined. Now, think about your company’s most important customer touch points: onboarding, ongoing education, community and team engagement, results measurement, product announcements and even re-engagement. Where do they take place? Your business’ mobile presence should be built to cater to the habits and needs of your customers, and in turn you’ll receive the engagement and customer satisfaction for which you’re striving.

OK, so how do you make your mobile app an engaging customer platform?

There are tools out there for building customer communities via the web, like Influitive, which unleashes the power of loyal advocates. Today, most enterprise SaaS companies simply view mobile apps either as a novelty sales tool or, at best, as an extension of their core product so customers can manage their account on the go. How your product’s utility expands to mobile is a very important question. As an enterprise SaaS leader, you have an opportunity to build a personal relationship in your customers’ most personal space by truly thinking through the experience and unleashing the power of engagement and community within your company’s mobile app experience.

Let’s provide some real-life examples and practices. Here are five reasons why SaaS enterprises should invest in making their mobile app more engaging for customers:

1. Turn your customers into a best practices community.

The number one use of mobile apps is community and social engagement. How do you make that personal to your brand? A mobile app that encourages customer feedback and discussion is a one-stop shop for gathering best practices for your products and/or tools. A mobile app that organizes this type of feedback into a feed of expert information available to all customers is even more of an ROI. Instead of investing in surveys and polls, put your customers in the driver seat. Empower them to tell you – and each other – what they think of your product. Customers are willing to voice their thoughts when given the right kind of platform, and they will love you for it.

2. Your content isn’t just for your blog or weekly newsletter.

Make your content more accessible – and personalized – by creating a mobile experience that allows users to opt-in to the type of content they want to read. Easily deploy white papers, webinars, thought leadership and product announcements while increasing brand awareness and exposing company culture through creative pieces deployed to your mobile app. Let users know exactly when information is available by providing an option to subscribe to notifications to your mobile app when something new is published or if someone responds to a comment they had on a specific blog post, update, press release or the like.

3. Guess what? Push isn’t a channel.

In most mobile apps today, the communication with customers exists via a push message. Sending a push message is like sending an email with only a subject line. Turn your push notifications into active conversations by encouraging a next step or unleashing accessibility. Your company’s mobile app should instantly communicate product updates and announcements and encourage immediate customer feedback.

For example, updates like release notes that are published to your website’s blog could get even more exposure, and response, if deployed to a mobile app as well. Imagine if your app users had the option to opt-into product updates and releases to receive a push notification with overview videos – or even podcasts from the product owner – to watch and/or listen to during their work commute or breaks. Make critical information about your product more easily accessible.

4. Leverage mobile as a differentiator, not just a niche extension of your core product.

Extend and differentiate your product in the sales cycle by identifying which portions of your product could (and should!) be accessed on mobile. Go beyond providing a minimal trimmed-down version of your product via mobile and identify where you can go a step further. For example, is there a customer support option available via your mobile app? Provide your users the option to communicate with you via mobile, giving them that extra layer of personalization with your tool.

5. Use every app download as an opportunity to get closer to your customers.

Do you know what experience you’re giving users when they download your app? Welcome users with a video or personalized message when they first download and open your app; let them know you appreciate their use of your product(s) and encourage them to participate in the mobile experience you’re providing them:

  • Encourage feedback on your products and/or services.
  • Invite them to opt-in to communities on your mobile platform. If your products are segmented by industry, let customers know where they can find information most relevant to them.
  • Promote new features, updates and services.

The great news is that these are practices your business can activate simply without any major strategy shifts. A strong mobile strategy is built on empowering customers to be advocates of your brand. It’s time to give them the tools to be your champion.

Matt Compton