If you and your team are considering your options when it comes to building a mobile app for your business, there are a few recent statistics you might want to consider. According to a recent article from the team at Statista, there were 3.6 billion smartphone users in 2020, and this number is predicted to reach 4.3 billion by 2023. The team at App Annie recently published a report that indicates consumers now spend 4.2 hours a day on average on their phones, which is up more than 30% compared with two years prior.
But what do these stats mean for your business? Well, at the very least, they mean that if you do not currently have a mobile app as part of your strategic business planning, it might be time to start seriously looking at mobile apps, app development companies, and the potential they have to help your business.
Apps create loyalty with great customer service, they can provide you with valuable insights and data about your customers and business processes, and they might even allow you to unlock new revenue streams to drive your business forward.
Happy customers are loyal customers
While there are a number of potential benefits to building a mobile app, one of the most important is the ability to put your customer front and center and provide them with a deeply personal brand experience. A recent article from the team at Salesforce outlines some pretty compelling statistics regarding customer expectations:
- 64% of customers expect companies to respond and react to them in real time.
- 66% of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if they feel like they are treated like a number rather than an individual.
If you think about your own experiences with brands, you are likely to be able to recall two distinct scenarios: one where you had an exceptional experience and one where you had a very negative experience.
Customer service, whether it is for a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand or a business-to-business (B2B) brand, has become increasingly important for not only keeping the customers you have happy and engaged but also for leveraging that brand goodwill to build out your customer base. Happy and engaged customers help you build your brand through word of mouth recommendations to friends, family, and colleagues.
But what exactly falls under the umbrella of good customer service? And how can a mobile app help you not only service your customers better but start to anticipate their needs and proactively solve their problems? This is where the real magic of great customer service happens.
The power of great customer service and user experience
Great customer service starts by looking and understanding every customer touchpoint and seeking to delight at every interaction. And because apps are built uniquely for both individuals’ personal and professional phones, a mobile app is designed for an inherently personalized experience. It gives you the opportunity to build out a seamless experience that is optimized for both your products or services as well as the way your customers want to experience them.
In building out these experiences, you can look at every touchpoint within the customer journey and anticipate how to make your brand experience exceptional. Generally, this includes key features like:
- Loyalty program dashboards and points tracking tools.
- Inventory information between online and in-store so customers can self-serve.
- Fully transparent tracking from ordering right through to delivery.
- Customer service chat bots that can cover your most asked questions or customer queries through a fully automated experience.
The last point, in particular, is useful in ensuring that you are able to provide a customer service experience even outside regular business hours and automatically escalate queries to ensure timely follow-up with clients and customers.
For those companies that generally service a D2C model, apps are the opportunity to provide value-add experiences for your clients, such as real-time customer service tools, live chat and video functions, product information, invoice and order tracking dashboards, and access to mobile-optimized catalogs for clients outside of a desktop experience. With the ever-increasing growth of social media, mobile apps also offer integrations with many social media platforms to help you provide an even wider customer service offering.
Human brands beat out competitors
What companies today must do in order to set them apart from competitors in the space is to have a more direct relationship with their customers and clients. How will you make your brand more human overall and create a relationship between you and your customers rather than a transactional one?
In building a mobile app, you have the opportunity to look at your top-tier customers and design a completely customized and personalized experience that is based on their unique needs, requests, and past behavior. You can then start basing your product or service decisions on data rather than educated guesses.
Leverage data and customer insights to drive loyalty
This leads us to another huge win in building out a mobile app experience for your users – user data and behavior information. Because mobile apps are inherently built to provide a more personalized experience overall, the outcome of this is a wealth of information regarding individual user behaviors like location, demographic data, or even information on interests beyond your product or service.
A huge benefit of designing a personalized mobile app experience is the opportunity to now track, measure, and learn from the way your customers engage with your mobile app. By leveraging these learnings, you’ll have a better chance to evolve, anticipate, and preemptively solve challenges facing your customers and clients.
As a way of looking at how these incredible insights can help brands learn more about their customers, let’s take the example of a new checkout experience as part of an ecommerce mobile app. The standard data points you would expect in this process are things like seeing how customers browse for products, add products to cart, and eventually (ideally) checkout. Because mobile apps are so personal and accessible, an app can glean greater insights, such as the place and time a user is browsing, what products they browsed, what in-app offers they viewed, coupon codes used, and, of course, collect customer feedback to help you solve common complaints or challenges.
The other benefit of this is that it will ultimately lead to much more effective and efficient marketing programming overall. Teams can now create unique offers that convert by leveraging key customer behavior and demographic data points provided as part of the mobile app platform. Companies are using these valuable insights in a variety of ways:
- To create custom offers for their customers based on past behavior.
- Use purchase and location data to refine their product or service offering by location or demographic data.
- Develop new products and services based on search data or customer feedback.
In the article from Salesforce, they present the data point that 59% of customers now expect companies will soon anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before customer contact.
If we look at a B2B customer model, let’s look at a company that has a delivery network component such as a trucking company. Mobile apps can provide delivery teams with access to valuable information such as delivery windows, customer address info, optimized delivery scheduling tools, and delivery confirmation tools all in the palm of their hands. There is also incredibly useful data for the company including delivery route and order concentration to help in optimizing delivery services, staffing and order assignments, delivery vehicle maintenance, and customer delivery notifications sent directly from drivers to assist in order tracking.
Mobile apps can identify new revenue streams
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to consider building a mobile app are the opportunities to unlock additional revenue streams. A recent article looking at revenue coming from mobile apps shows that Android and iOS app revenue reached $111 billion in 2020, which marks a 24 percent increase year over year. For comparison, in 2016 this number was just 43.5 billion in revenue.
The team at Tech Crunch recently published an article showing that consumers spent $50.1 billion worldwide across the App Store and Google Play Store, which is up 23.4% from the first half of 2019. No doubt a part of this is due to pandemic spending habits, but looking at the penetration of cell phone use coupled with steady upward growth of spending within apps, it is worth considering how building a mobile app could play an important part of your revenue generation plan moving forward.
There are a few key reasons why mobile apps are generating this kind of revenue. Mostly they have to do with the fact that apps are optimized for conversion with simplified browsing and checkout paths, or have feature sets that are specifically designed with the user (and end goal) in mind. They can be easier to navigate than a browser-based experience with a large navigation bar and too many options. There is also something to be said for the ease of use and portability of mobile phones in general.
Due to their portability and overall ease of use, mobile apps capitalize on this by creating personalized and contextual in-app offers for customers. Retailers can now leverage geolocation data to send push notifications for timely offers based on interests or browsing behavior to drive incremental purchases and increase the frequency of purchases. They can also leverage contextual data like location and even weather events to send push notifications to shoppers.
Mobile apps are critical for driving the efficiency of processes, which also adds more to your bottom line in cost savings and error avoidance. Let’s look at the example of a large warehouse or manufacturing plant. Warehouse employees can now use mobile phones or devices to input important information at every step of the process, from raw materials receiving through to delivery of the final product. Warehouse managers can have complete visibility of the entire process by leveraging in-app barcode scanners which can be scanned as inventory comes in and leaves the warehouse facility. RFID tags can automatically track products when they come in close proximity to a reader built into the app, eliminating the need for employees to manually enter this data, reducing losses due to improper or forgotten scans of materials or orders.
The Future Is Increasingly Mobile
Including a mobile app as part of your service offering will not be for everyone, but it could be exactly what you need to take your company to the next level. Expanding your business with an app can be an important strategy to consider when you factor in the ability to create completely customized experiences uniquely designed for your customers or your business operations.
Mobile applications create opportunities for you to provide more personal and responsive customer service models. They can also provide you with incredible data and insights about your business and your customers and clients to turn into efficiencies or new product and service offerings.
Mobile apps are also driving efficiencies and creating new revenue streams for customers across all B2B and B2C industries as companies use mobile platforms to drive cost savings and create personalized and contextual offers to drive incremental revenue.
It might be worth starting a conversation with your team or with a mobile app vendor partner to meaningfully look at how creating a mobile app could be an essential part of your business growth and revenue generation strategy moving forward. Feel free to send us a message and we would be happy to discuss whether a mobile app might be just the right strategy for your business.