INFOGRAPHIC – Top 5 Reasons You Need In-App Support

Apps today have crossed into a place where they are not just for entertainment. We open our house, buy furniture, sell stocks, do our banking, check in on our children and pets, adjust our sprinklers, order pizza, interact with our doctors, and even do our work – all with apps. Apps are a mission critical component of our lives and their support mechanisms need to respect that mission criticality.

Along with the anecdotal evidence, the actual facts paint an even more daunting picture.   Mobile commerce is the fastest growing type of commerce, expanding at 3 times the rate of traditional e-commerce.   Yet, 83% of those transactions require live customer interactions when making a mobile purchase and over 16% will buy from a competitor if they encounter a hiccup at all.

The case is compelling, the need profound, yet still the vast majority of apps today are released without a strategy for support. In the past six months, we have seen case after case where app support is able to significantly improve both the business operations of the publisher and the experience of the actual user.

Still not convinced – check out our infographic for even more mind-blowing detail.

Top 5 Reasons You Need In-App Support


Live from SDC – Part 2

What a week we had out at #iheartSDC!  Our last day didn’t disappoint with an enlightened session by Marv Storey called Don’t Lose App Revenue Over Poor Customer Experience – we couldn’t agree more!

We learned that 75% of users desire help on their smart phones (Synthetix).  Additionally, 72% of app users actually expect the company to support the app (Nuance).  Marv pointed out that customers are willing to pay up to 2x when they know it will lead to a quality product and are much less likely to be dissatisfied with the price when there are no issues.  Encountering just 2 problems can bring price dissatisfaction up to 50% (John A Goodman, ‘customer experience 3.0’ amacom 2014).

Having a real-time support strategy in place could go a long way to ensure customer success & satisfaction, especially since support in apps is typically satisfied with phone support, email support, external forums, and internet searches. 

According to Marv, studies show that 53% of app users prefer phone support over the others for issues they encounter.  These days, app developers tend towards email support because it is easy for them. However, app users are almost always dissatisfied with this because it is impersonal and there is no guarantee of a timely resolution.  Phone calls are much preferred because of the empathy they generate and the customer feels like they can get real time resolution.

This was interesting to me because RevTwo falls right in the sweet spot between these two types of support. We marry the human touch that people love from phone calls with the ease of use of email, all while keeping your users within your app. It is also extremely easy for developers to integrate.

I found Marv’s presentation to be incredibly insightful, what do you think?


Android at Samsung SDC

We’re in San Francisco for Samsung’s Developer Conference which coincides with the announcement of RevTwo support of Android. Samsung draws around 5000 developers so this conference is pretty big! Android has the largest market share and with it RevTwo now supports the major platforms that cover 97% of the market.

A lot of developers target Android, with over 1.5M apps, and many need to be cross platform to cover the most users. These are often the most valuable apps that can afford to be on multiple platforms. We believe the most valuable apps have the greatest need for personalized customer support.

Samsung has an important offering with Knox which allows management of policies on phones and tablets, as well as access to some capabilities that are normally not available to an app. It’s all secure and only available to apps with proper credentials, etc. This allows MDM suites to manage a fleet of phones for example, but also makes it possible to create fixed purpose devices such as tablets used by the public in retail, or hotel rooms that have restricted access to apps and settings.

In a book The Invisible Computer the author, Donald Norman, predicted that computers would eventually become “invisible” because they are just part of things we use. Mobile phones are for people, but tablets are self-contained computers with an interactive UI that anyone can use. They are becoming the way you pay in retail, and how you interact with equipment. The form factor makes them finally usable in so many applications. Phones will someday reach saturation and the business will be replacement business. But tablets have the potential to grow into the interactive signs, displays, and controllers of lots of things around us.

And we believe there will always be a need to answer questions and help users with the operation of these invisible computers. That’s our mission.


RIP support@uber.com

Call me surprised, but Uber, has been doing its support via email for the past 7 years.   In fact, according to Uber, they have answered over 17 million support requests over that period – all via email.   Really…email.

If an Uber customer needed help over that period of time, they needed to leave the Uber app, open email, punch out a note, add a meaningful subject line, and send it away.   No context, no standardization, just a raw email.

So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that, Uber recently announced it has evolved from this system to an In-App support model.    The company provided the following reasons:

  1. China and India prefer App-based messaging (BTW – so do we!)
  2. The volume of email is choking Uber’s help desk
  3. Uber needs to improve slow email response times

While I applaud Uber for this shift, I believe that the stated reasons are too internally focused and miss the real point of an outstanding customer service experience. Improved internal efficiency and an overall ability to do more work in less time is great, but what is in it for the customer?

Great customer support is about making the customer experience better while using less of THEIR time to do it.  If a company can do this and save money at the same time, it’s a double word score!   Helping a struggling customer is an opportunity for a company to be a hero or a goat!    If the motivation is to simply avoid or close a ticket, then the company is on an express trip to goat-dom.   A company neglects this point at their own peril.

There are many in the app world who act like support is a four letter word.   In fact, it seems that the entire tech industry has decided that customers are a necessary evil whose needs are below their own.  (Tried to find a phone number to talk to a human lately?)   To give Uber some credit, at least they are doing something.  Let’s break down the good and the bad.

On the good side, Uber makes customer Help obvious in their navigation.   After you select that option, you get to choose the area of need from some pretty simple choices.   So far, so good.

Uber1Uber2

Unfortunately, this is where it starts to get a little clunky.   Uber goes to a lot of trouble to organize and include all of their major FAQs.   On an atomic level, they are well done.   The challenge is that each list can go three or four levels deep and there are too many options to choose from.  A simple search would be a welcomed addition.

Uber claims an initial 10% reduction in tickets based on the new system, which seems low based on the sheer quantity of FAQ items.  Something must be missing.

Sprinkled within the maze of help topics are free-form areas where you can ask a questions, reports bugs, or ask more questions.   I couldn’t discern any real organization to where and why the free form FAQs showed up – but they did.

uber3

Here is where Uber really short arms the process, i.e. the bad.    After a question goes into a queue, it gets chewed on by the machine, and then an answer is spit out via a notification to the person who asks the question.    There is no opportunity for expanding on the question, no back and forth – simple question followed by simple answer.   As a customer, I could see how this would be frustrating.  (I wonder how often the answer is 42).

Uber has taken a positive step moving away from email support, but there is more to be done.    In my next blog, I’ll go into more detail on what Uber needs to do to improve.   Until then, you can follow us at @therevtwo.


Debugging with RevTwo

Bugs—developers hate them. Hands down, bugs are the most frustrating and challenging part of the app development process. Crashes suck, but at least then you can see where everything blew up and where the problem happened.

The worst kind of bug is the silent kind or the hairy tarantula as I like to call it–the one that sneaks in as a missing file or unsynced data and usually appears randomly.  Everything works perfectly on your phone and desktop, but as soon as the app is in TestFlight, all hell breaks loose. Our co-workers and customers try to describe what they were seeing on the app.  Frantically, we try to repeat the issue, plug into Xcode and reproduce the error—which usually doesn’t work.

I’ve been there—we had a complicated app that worked in online and offline modes with a rather smart syncing mechanism in between. It all worked great on my high speed Wi-Fi and with our small team during testing, but once it was in the hands of the customer, a bug surfaced.

Fixing it was a nightmare. Users couldn’t clearly explain to me what actually occurred or what caused it (there was no crash, just missing files and data that thought it was synced when it wasn’t), so replicating the problem was difficult. Not being able to see the issue made it seem impossible to make the pesky bug go away—I burned weeks trying to understand what exactly was happening behind the scenes.

A faster, better debugging experience

There is a better way and a faster path to building a successful app. RevTwo makes the debugging process less painful by giving developers tools to create a bug-free app and connecting them with users who need in-app support.

How do the tools work? Three simple steps (really!):

    1. The RevTwo API is integrated into an app in 10 minutes or less, giving users the ability to submit help request tickets describing the issue they’re experiencing.
    2. A developer can initiate a help session to view the user’s screen while talking to them on the phone to see how they’re using the app, and what buttons they’re pressing. Additionally, with RevTwo, developers get insight beyond the surface level, and can get details like:
      • Device system information to see if the user is running the latest iOS and what app version they’re using
      • Network settings such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
      • Memory usage and disk space to help pinpoint issues like memory leaks
      • App log details, in real time, just like in Xcode, as well as access to the log history without needing to reproduce the error
      • App file system access (not the whole phone, just the app—we are still bound by the sandbox) to view all the files the app has stored in its documents directory and any subdirectories within (with the capability to download and upload files directly to the app)
      • App SQLite database view, which allows developers to view the table structure and data that the app is operating on
    3. The result is a developer finding and fixing a bug in record time, resulting in a happier user.In the end, I did track down that big, hairy tarantula of a bug, but it cost us time, money and a fair bit of sanity. Debugging can be like wandering a maze in the dark; tools like those from RevTwo let you turn on the lights.

Try it out for yourself; sign up for our free troubleshooting tools to help during TestFlight