3 Ways to Win Viral Word-Of-Mouth (WOM)
App Marketing with Customer Service
The app store can be pretty overwhelming these days. Even when I know what I want, the options are so vast that I usually end up leaving without downloading anything. When it comes down to it, most of the apps on my phone are there because of my friends’ recommendations:
Friend 1: “That photo you posted looks awesome.”
Friend 2: “Oh thanks, I used Squaready.”
Friend 1:“I keep forgetting to pay off that other credit card.”
Friend 2: “Yeah I feel that, my budget would be a mess without Mint.”
We’re living in a market oversaturated with options, and because of this, we have begun depending more and more on the opinions of close friends and family: 92% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than any other form of advertising (a figure that’s risen 18% since 2007).
Its a Consumer’s World: What It All Means
People are becoming more selective about our products, our apps, about everything. It’s a consumer’s world, and it’s up to brands to make sure that what they’re offering is invaluable and distinct from everything else out there.
So how do you garner these vital reviews?
Make the First Impression Count
About a quarter of users download an app, launch it once, and never return. Even in mobile gaming, the category with the largest share of the App Store, only has a 28% retention rate after the first day. Therefore, making a killer first impression is paramount to, not only reducing churn, but also increasing the likelihood users will talk to their friends about your app. Clearly, users are displeased with most apps, so they’re sure to talk about the ones that wow them.
There are several key components to making a good first impression. One, is having searchable FAQs. Often, a user doesn’t like or return to an app because they are unaware of the solution to their issue. For instance, I downloaded a scanning app earlier this week, only to realize that it was essentially just a liaison between the computer and the phone－ in other words, completely useless. Now, if this app had had searchable FAQs, I could have typed: “can you take a scan-like photo with this app?” It’s entirely possible that the app did present some solution for my need, but I simply wasn’t privy to the available solution.
Many apps solve this problem with native onboarding tutorials that pop up to guide the new user through the product the moment the app is launched for the first time. Similarly, plenty of apps offer some version of a “what’s new” tutorial after an upgrade (pro tip: utilize the description space in your app store page to let users know what changes they can expect in the update).
Make sure your users know how to use each feature of your product, and the benefits they receive from using it.
Offer Opportunities for Community Growth
After I buy the new Maggie Nelson book, I will get recommendations based on what previous buyers with my similar profile recently purchased—already I feel like I’m getting tips from a friend with the same taste. Facebook does something similar with groups: people in this group are also in these other groups. In San Francisco, I’ve actually found some really cool events and met some fascinating people based on Facebook group suggestions. Apps that leverage user interests to engage them for longer periods, and connect users with similar interests are building organic community through smaller networks or people.
Apple, Airbnb, and the like have made it their endgame to get users talking to each other. For Venmo—that’s the entire distinguishing factor behind the brand (They recently tweeted, “Bored because you already scrolled through all your social media? Don’t forget Venmo’s feed is filled with your funny friends.”) Which goes to show, the app that helps connect users to a community is better equipped to build brand loyalty and earn great word-of-mouth buzz.
Provide A+ Customer Service
When things go wrong, customer service is on the front lines and therefore, defines whether or not a user will return. An app’s customer service should be proactive rather than reactive (notice we’re not using the word “support” here). What this means is providing the customer with the tools to help themselves immediately in their current context. A customer self-service structure that allows users to find solutions within in the app itself should be the focal point of your customer service. This reduces friction in the app’s experience. Customers would be able to view an FAQ, and resume activity all without the need of filing a support ticket. If customers are forced to wait in confusion until an agent responds leaves the customer no choice but to search for the competition that achieves the same intended task. Apps that make it easy to resolve problems are the ones people want to recommend to friends.
Proactive customer service can also target those who might need help before they even realize it. When the average company never hears from 96% of their customers, and for every 1 vocal customer, there are 26 who stay silent, it’s imperative that you target users before they abandon the app, and offer help. Over in-app channels through which customers can, not only ask for help, but be offered it. Think of it like an in-store sales rep asking if he/she can help the customer find anything.
As users rely more heavily on their own social networks, apps and brands are going to have to become a part of that inner circle to grab and engage users. It’s the app’s job to provide excellent customer service and an inherently valuable product. Apps that do this guarantee themselves free advertising via word-of-mouth, and whether that be in person, over text, or on social media, it’s not to be underestimated.