This is part 6 of a 10 part series. We’re looking at how startups and consumer apps can study their customers under a microscope in order to create an app that works exactly how they need it to.
6) Thrill Users With Customer Service
In a consumer app, your users are not coming back if your app crashes in a formula that looks something like “value * ease of use / crashes * 10 > 1.” That’s not a mathematical theorem, but you get the idea. It’s really important to treat customers like they are people, showing that you care about their time, and that you are a real person that cares about them as a real person. Until you can establish that relationship, the internet makes for somewhat uneasy conversations. i.e., People are angry at their screen until you convince them you are a nice guy running the little mouse wheel in there.
You can shortcut these uncomfortable situations by being more proactive about how we anticipate and fix issues. If we start listening for errors up front, try to resolve them quickly and think about how our users are experiencing our app, we can pretty easily turn potential complaints into excuses to show them we’re helpful humans!
What Not To Do
Don’t wait for errors and bugs to come to you.
Don’t track bugs in isolation from the users actually being impacted.
What To Do Instead
Proactively scan your application logs and exceptions. Tools like Crashlytics and Crittercism can allow you to track exceptions in your app and potentially respond to them before users even notice. If you tie together crashes, logs and analytics, you can get to the top-flight level of experience where you even reach out to a user right away to tell them you know about their problem and are working to resolve it.
Ever heard the phrase “over communicate” used in a positive way? That rule totally applies here. Reach out to your users when you know they ran into a problem, and then reach out again when you have a way to fix it. The more personal the touch, the better.
When you talk to your users, don’t be surprised if they’re a little rude at first. This is especially true if they came to you with a bug. In technology support issues, there seems to be a common thread that you (developer/IT) seem like “them” or “the other team” to the users. Your goal is to be a diplomat and bring them to your side. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of assurance, but simply identifying with your user and their wasted time, apologizing, and being an empathetic person will quickly get you both onto the same team. It takes practice, but you’ll get the hang of it shortly after you put these goals directly in front of your personal feelings, your viewpoint on the “justice” of their complaint and that nasty little sense of ownership you have over the app.
We installed Crashtlytics for your Sell Everything Everywhere product and associated crashes to users in our analytics tool. We get emails when the crashes come in, so we saw that Sally just crashed on the Customer Checkout page. 5 minutes after Sally appears to have left our app (again, visible through the analytics tool), we give her a call. We tell her we saw she just got a crasher, and apologize and hope she didn’t lose that sale. After having her walk us through the bug in as much detail as we can (the time element is pretty important to getting a good story here), we assure her that we will have it fixed as soon as we can on the release schedule. When it actually does get fixed, we proactively reach out to her again to tell her the fix is coming and thank her for her patience. Sally may not have a great experience with the app, but she just got bonded to the support team, and she’s going to think of us next time something breaks. Not this “dirty little piece of junk that never works for her.”
Other topics covered in this series include:
- Part 1: Have A Clear Bold Goal
- Part 2: Guide Users Toward Goals
- Part 3: Measure User Activities and Funnels
- Part 4: Onboarding, Not Training
- Part 5: Nudge Users Through Funnels
- Part 6: Thrill Users With Customer Service
- Part 7: Solicit Feedback from Real Users
- Part 8: Build Evangelists
- Part 9: Stay Slim
- Part 10: Iterate or Die