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This is part two of a 3-part series How to Hack Your App Retention Strategy: Before Launch, After Launch, and At 20,000 MAU.

Priorities shift quite a bit once you hit the app store. At first you just wanted users to speak up, and now you have trouble responding to everyone while still getting your job done. It’s also tough getting actionable feedback in all the noise. You’re considering some hires yet want to stay lean. More users is a good problem to have–but one that you need to prepare for ASAP.

The second part of this series will explain how to:
    • Receive informed feedback that improves product iteration
    • Answer increased customer support needs while staying profitable
    • Ensure the longevity of your product with proven engagement practices
    • Optimize your spending with KPIs

Build a Knowledge Base

When friends & family used your app before launch, most questions you received were likely unique and relevant for product optimization. That will no longer be the case.

The first thing you need to do is build a knowledge base. At least half of your users are asking the same questions you’ve already answered. They can easily self-solve with the right tools, and your incoming tickets will drop immensely without the need for more employees. Research the best option. It will be a small cost, and the time saved is well worth it.

When Kissmetrics researched what companies could do to get customers more engaged and monetized, 52% answered “make it easy to ask questions and access information before making a purchase.” A customer asking a question means they are interested in using your app but are meeting friction. Making it easy to get answers is a surefire way to increase conversion rates.

Plus–a knowledge base provides its own form of feedback. You can create solutions by knowing what questions are being looked into the most. Your knowledge base also shows users that you acknowledge their problem and are working to solve it. Perhaps the biggest perk is that users who do contact you are more likely to have a unique problem or have informed feedback.

Tweet this: 52% of users want easy access to help before making a purchase. How to do -> http://bit.ly/1O0MtkI @KISSmetrics @helpshift #mobiledev

Automate!

One factor that prevents companies from scaling is the inability to solve all support issues in a timely manner, especially over weekends and holidays. Kissmetrics found that 56% of customers believe companies are slow to resolve issues. Delaying help will lead to multiple problems: bad reviews in the app store / on social media, leaky acquisition, and increased churn to name a few.

Invest in ways to automate your help services. When you want to provide help efficiently while staying lean, an autoresponse is perfect for buying time to resolve issues. The Director of Community at TinyCo swears by automations as the “new team member” to handle high ticket volumes. Some automations can even be from your knowledge base to answer common questions without even thinking about it.

Tweet this: By 2020, customers will manage 85% of relationships without talking to a human! Get automation -> http://bit.ly/1O0MtkI @gartner @helpshift

Build a Community

One of the best ways to ensure that your app remains relevant over time is to build a user community. This can take shape in a few ways: social media, online forums, or even within the app itself. During Helpshift’s M.O.R.E. Summit, successful mobile companies advised baking community elements into the game the moment you can. They explained that users engaged via community are far more likely to stick with your game or migrate to another one of your products. Facebook and Twitter are great places to start.

It’s better to have everyone take on a bit of community interaction. Users enjoy talking to developers just as much as community managers, and it shows the whole team wants to know what people think. Community a form of engagement that takes some maintenance, but pays off in a big way.

Tweet this: “Be good friends with your community manager! Customer care and community need each other.” -> http://bit.ly/1O0MtkI @LianAmaris @helpshift

Test, Analyze, Iterate

The second priority is to optimize your conversion funnel by setting up a testing routine. Do people complete the tutorial? Where are they most likely to stop using your app? Finding those moments is key to leading users in a predictable way for your business.

Discern your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators–what success means for you) and measure them now. Two good metrics to start are:

LTV – Lifetime value. This is how much you will profit from each customer on average throughout the entire relationship. Retention strategies make this number go up. Friction and bad user experience make this number go down.

CPI – Cost per install. This helps determine the effectiveness of marketing or other needs. If you spend $200 on flyers that attract 50 people to your lemonade stand, then the CPI is $4.

LTV minus CPI = Profit

There are a lot more things to measure other than LTV and CPI. Discover the metrics that decide your app’s success.

Tweet this: “When thinking about #app stickiness, you realize how much app usage trumps app downloads.” -> http://bit.ly/1O0MtkI @drelly @helpshift

Constantly Check Your Reviews

Being in the app store means you’ll start getting user reviews. The initial influx of reviews will decide how visible your app is in the store. While there are plenty of ways to prevent bad reviews, sometimes an unhappy user will fall through the cracks, and even good reviews may have great advice. Make sure you have a way to digest the reviews that are coming in.

Curating reviews is one of the best ways to improve your App Store Optimization (ASO). ASO is essentially how easy you are to find in the app store. The most reliable way to be found is to have great ratings and reviews, because it directly increases your store ranking. This is why you do not want users to write in the app store with their problems. Allowing users to self-solve or contact you directly will ensure that your reviews are high praise. For an in-depth look at getting consistent 5-star reviews, check out our 3rd webinar in the Roadshow to GDC.

Tweet this: To ensure users rate new app versions, change prompt wording. ‘Are you enjoying?’ to ‘Still enjoying?’ http://bit.ly/1O0MtkI #ASO @helpshift

The Next Step

Successfully enacting these tips will help you retain and monetize your rapidly growing userbase. What then!? The 3rd part of the How to Hack Your App Retention Strategy series is at 20,000+ MAU. Get the final puzzle piece for retaining users with your mobile app. Until then, check out The Guide to Great App Store Ratings & Reviews.

Published March 16, 2015
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