As the developer of one of the most popular business category apps on BlackBerry App World – “Call Time Tracker by momentem” – Terry has learned a lot about how to build a compelling app. In this article, he talks about how he spends his day, and there are some valuable lessons in this article for all app developers.
After users download our app, they have to enter their email address to sign up for our free service. These days, most people are wary of doing that, so to overcome that our description on App World has to be sufficiently friendly and credible; the end result is that 70% of all downloads sign up for the service with a valid email address, which we believe is industry-leading.
The following day I send a welcome email to each new user, personally welcoming them and giving them tips and tricks on how to get up and running. OK, I don’t manually type them all, I use an email marketing package, but they are simple plain text emails, with no nasty trackable links, with my personal email address for them to reply to. People immediately feel they have a connection with our small company and they reply in large volumes. I am now addicted to receiving their emails every day.
I don’t push people away and ask them to fill in forms, they simply reply to my email and tell me what’s on their mind. They tell me what they like and don’t like, they tell me how they are using the app to make more money, and most importantly they tell me which features they would love to see added! I add the users to my database of “fans”, so that I can ask them later on to join beta tester groups and focus groups.
I also personally see every support request and every cancel form, so I feel the users’ pain as they work with our service. I personally follow up with as many support issues as I can, to ensure we have dealt with their request. They love that.
I literally spend 4 hours of every day engaging with our customers, and I can tell you that it’s the most valuable thing I could be spending my time on. I also spend time every day tracking our key metrics; downloads, sign-ups, the number of call tags being processed every day, email opt-outs, support issues, cancel reasons, and user demographics. I am constantly taking the pulse of our business which enables me to make fast and accurate decisions.
When we launched on App World, we found that the early adopters were eager to write in with enthusiastic praise. Then, as we moved into the early majority phase, they were far less engaged. So we had to change our techniques and we have now figured out how to get our new users to become equally excited over what we are delivering. Tweak the wording, measure the response, try something different, measure the response, over and over again, and because the app market is evolving the work is never done.
So, what has this time-consuming process of engaging with customers bought us?
- Our user reviews are among the best on App World and our average ranking is 4.5 out of 5; people write long useful reviews because they want to help me and because they feel an affinity to my company. Even if users are unhappy to begin with, we resolve their issues so they have no desire to bad-mouth us.
- Around 10% of all downloads are using our app on a daily basis, even months later, so we have proved that stickiness and loyalty can be earned.
- We all know how critical word of mouth is; many of the reviews say things like “I tell everyone I know about your great service” and many people have blogged avidly about us.
- We have learned so much about who our users are and how they use the app.
The fact that I spend 4 hours a day with customers is a nice problem to have. The acronym “AI” used to mean “artificial intelligence”, but based on what my team has learned in the past few months I think we are pioneers in the all-new world of “App Intelligence” !
I would be more than happy to receive emails from other developers on this subject …. and I will personally respond to them all