Great apps: The ticket to better mobile customer engagement

By Jonathan Hassell

Are you wondering whether there are really tangible benefits to putting together a great app for your brand or company? The results are officially in: Customers trust great apps, and companies that put together solid, respectable apps with high integrity will enjoy better mobile customer engagement, according to a new Forrester Research study produced in conjunction with IBM.

Mobile Customers Want Great Apps

What is a “great” app to a mobile customer? One that provides relevant information they can use in their current contexts and that pushes tailored, customized offers in line with their interests and prior purchase history.

What matters most in an app? The report finds that customers care first and foremost about the basics: They want an app that is stable and works consistently, is not slow or unresponsive, and offers a set of basic functions they can trust will always work and be useful. That trust goes two ways, though: The study found that consumers are willing to entrust their personal information companies that provide trustworthy, reliable apps.

Delving deeper, the report also discovered customers want an app that:

  • Offers direct responses to customer service queries right in the mobile app
  • Sends notifications about discounts, coupons, offers and new services
  • Permits user control of the type and amount of personal information shared
  • Allows the ability to control types of mobile offers and content received
  • Rewards interactions with the app with discounts or extra services
  • Provides the information they want — or completes the transactions they want — whenever they initiate a request through your mobile app
  • Lets the user specify the type and frequency of communication from the company overall, not just in the mobile app

Control, communication and value received in exchange for app-use were all found to be characteristics of a “great” app.

Great Apps Pay Off

Enterprises, take note: Forrester found that organizations developing “great” mobile apps reap substantially higher financial benefits than their peers who only make the time and investment to make “good” apps. Given the deeper levels of mobile customer engagement with “great” apps, taking the time to build high-quality apps increased the lifetime value of each customer. That boosts any company’s bottom line.

The survey also found that companies who thought their best-performing app was “great” generated 79 percent more sales and advertising revenue as a result of those apps. Additionally, the presence and use of a “great” app influenced 44.1 percent of sales in other channels — compare that against just a mediocre app, which only scored 38.3 percent on the same measure.

Beyond direct revenue increases are subtler, less-direct benefits, such as higher customer loyalty among app users. Users of “great” company apps, the survey found, also tend to be more engaged with the company and its offerings overall — and have a higher, “stickier” conversion rate for offers. After all, return customers generally spend more than new customers at no additional acquisition cost. The universal truth is that buyers are worth more than prospects.

The bottom line? Do not just treat “create app” as a box to be checked or a routine task to be completed. Companies that create a rich, useful experience for customers via an app will be handsomely rewarded in revenue streams and the company bottom line — and will create greater mobile customer engagement in the long run.

Written By

Jonathan Hassell

President, 82 Ventures

Jonathan Hassell runs 82 Ventures, a technical writing and consulting firm based in Charlotte, NC. He centers his focus around network administrator, security, the cloud, and mobile technologies.

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