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One of the most common questions we received at the MobileBeat conference was how Helpshift’s native customer service solution is different from email and web help desks.

Here are the 9 major reasons native customer service is critical for mobile apps:

1. Keep users in your app

Do you want users leaving your app?

I’ve asked hundreds of people this question and get the same answer every time: “hell no”. You’ve spent so much time, energy, and money to get people using your app. You wouldn’t want users leaving your app at all, let alone when they’re frustrated or confused. There’s no worse time for a user to leave your app than when they need your help or want to send you a message.

Helpshift’s native customer service experience keeps users in the app when they need help and after they’ve gotten their question answered.

The result of pressing the help button in a major US retailers app!

2. A native, responsive user experience

You’ve carefully architected every button, screen, and graphic for a beautiful user experience. There’s nothing worse than using a beautiful mobile app and then being taken to a slow and unresponsive website when I tap a button in the app.

Our native SDK integrates a complete support portal inside your app for a fast, responsive experience for your users. They won’t need to load up a web browser or launch an email client to get help or send you feedback.

3. Deep integration with your app

You can’t just add a support tab in a mobile app like you can on the web. The user experience must be focused and task-driven. Luke Wroblewski has a great quote on what it means to be mobile first:

“Mobile devices require software development teams to focus on only the most important data and actions in an application. There simply isn’t room in a 320 by 480 pixel screen for extraneous, unnecessary elements. You have to prioritize.

So when a team designs mobile first, the end result is an experience focused on the key tasks users want to accomplish without the extraneous detours and general interface debris that litter today’s desktop-accessed Web sites. That’s good user experience and good for business.”

Helpshift’s SDK and API are designed for completely flexible integration with your mobile app, so you can maintain the user experience you’ve carefully crafted. Customize 71 different font and color options to match your app’s look and feel. Then, add the entire support portal, a single knowledgebase entry, or the in-app inbox anywhere in your app for a completely seamless customer service experience.

Drippler's branded in-app integration

4. A fast built-in search engine

Up to 70% of your users’ questions are the same, which means you could significantly reduce the number of inquiries by adding an FAQ to your app. However, the mobile form factor makes this incredibly difficult – users will not scroll through a long web page to find their answer. It’s like finding a needle in a hay stack.

Our FAQ search engine is built right into the SDK, so users can quickly find what they’re looking for before sending you a message.

This search-first paradigm (and some other secret sauce) is how our customers, like Zynga can handle 185% more tickets.

5. Offline availability

Your users aren’t always connected to the internet, especially when they’re playing games. In a subway, on an airplane, or when traveling, your users might need help but may not have access to a web page.

Helpshift’s knowledgebase is cached on the device so users can access it at any time. This offline availability and the built-in search engine make it possible for your users to get help instantly in the app, regardless of their data connectivity.

6. Get user and device information

Do you remember having to pick up the phone and call customer support when something wasn’t working and the agent on the other end would start by asking the most obvious questions, like: “is it plugged in” or “is it on” or “is the little green light blinking” or “are you connected to the internet”?

That process was repetitive, and wasted both yours and the agent’s time. Well, email hasn’t made it better – it just takes longer between exchange loops to get the information and resolve a users inquiry.

You need to know who the user is, what their problem is, and the general context to resolve a problem.

We give you this information transparently and instantly. This is one of the biggest advantages of using our native help desk – we automatically collect information about the user and their device and pass it along with their message.

We’ll provide you with user information, device hardware and software, a breadcrumb activity trail, debug logs, and any additional custom data you want to pass like a CRM ID, paid/free attribute, and more.

This context is only possible with Helpshift’s native integration and is how Flipkart, a major retail app, was able to cut out these exchange loops and shorten their resolution time from 4 days to just 24 hours.

7. Send push and in-app notifications

After your user sends a message, they’ll close your app and put their phone away. With email, your response will go into their inbox until it’s opened. There’s no guarantee that a user will open your app after reading the email. This entire customer service experience is handled outside of your app.

We want users engaged with your app as much as possible, so we’ve made sure to utilize native push notifications, pending badges, and built our own in-app notifications to drive usage in your app. When you reply to a user’s message, they’ll receive a push notification that drives them back into your app.

8. Get happy app store reviews

Good customer service can turn a disgruntled user into a raving evangelist. You’ve seen it time and time again I’m sure. A happy customer is more receptive to listening, being sold to, and giving feedback.

That’s why we’ve built a review request loop right into your app. After you’ve resolved your user’s issue, you can send them a request to review your app in the app store. It’s the perfect time to leverage the good karma you’ve built up with your user.

One Japanese app increased their app rating by .2 points in just two weeks with Helpshift!

9. The right content in the right place

If you have multiple titles on both Android and iOS or in several languages, you’ll want users to have the right information, on the right platform, in the right language. In order to do this today, you’ll need a separate knowledge base for each combination, which means you’re managing multiple systems of record – a total management nightmare.

90% of our customers have more than one app, even if it’s the same title, but on both Android and iOS. Helpshift’s knowledgebase architecture makes it super easy to manage all of your content from a single system of record. Once entered into the system, we dynamically serve up the right content on the right platform.

So if your Android users have one set of questions and your iOS users have another, they’ll only see the content that’s relevant to them. We do the same dynamic serving for different languages, so that your Chinese users will see information in their language. Mobile screen real estate is incredibly valuable, so removing extraneous information maintains a great user experience and ensures your customers keep coming back.

We’re still reeling from a fantastic MobileBeat conference and Innovation Showdown this week. Thanks to all our customers and MobileBeat staff that make it all possible. We were lucky enough to take home the Innovation Showdown award for the early stage category!

Helpshift wins the early stage category in the Innovation Showdown at MobileBeat
Published July 13, 2013
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