Four Creative Ways to Boost Your In-App Retention Rates

Phone conversation

As mobile app developers and marketers continue to shift their focus from attracting initial users to maximizing in-app retention, data shows that they still have a long way to go. In fact, user retention rates dropped in some industries from 2017 to 2018.

Localytics reported that the average 90-day user retention rate was 29 percent in 2017, with Media & Entertainment apps retaining just 28 percent of users after 90 days. According to Statista, that 90-day number dropped to just 23 percent for Media & Entertainment apps by the end of 2018. Also by late 2018, Statista data shows that sports gaming apps saw their average 90-day in-app retention rate fall to a paltry 10 percent.

Happily, Helpshift customers are bucking these trends by upping user retention rates and enjoying strong ratings in the app stores. We’ve gleaned some of their best practices to highlight how you can boost your in-app retention rates. These are the top four.

#1: Keep Support Experiences Mobile Native and Fast

Mobile consumers today expect customer service that is native and fast. By incorporating mobile messaging and self-service directly into your brand’s mobile app, you can retain your users with a superior mobile support experience. For Michelle Dysangco, Senior Director of Customer Care at FoxNext Games, keeping players in the game as much as possible is a high priority: “I’ve worked for other companies where we’ve removed the experience from the mobile app into a native browser or a native email client and I’ve learned that we do not want to remove players from the game,” she said.

A robust support SDK can speed up the in-app experience by automatically collecting metadata from the app. Such metadata includes app version, user profile attributes and user location, all of which is shared with the agent prior to the first support interaction. Additional data can be collected by a bot, which further streamlines the process and, when combined, agents and bots are able to handle twice the amount of tickets within a given time period. (See Helpshift’s 2019 Benchmark Report)

#2: Make Your Customer Support Holistic and Rich

Your in-app support SDK should have the ability to handle the entire support process, including your mobile knowledge base, feedback collection , and—most importantly—asynchronous messaging. With asynchronous messaging, users can send off a message and leave the conversation, and be notified when there is a response waiting for them. They don’t have to wait around or be forced to start over if they exit the screen. They can continue using your app, whether that’s playing a game, shopping, or socializing—all while an agent is working on the issue in the background.

A rich experience also wins the day. For example, the agent and customer should be able to easily embed images into the conversation, and revert to the thread at a later date. FoxNext Games’ MARVEL Strike Force allows players to asynchronously message back and forth with customer service agents right within the app, as if they were having an iMessage or WhatsApp conversation with a friend. Players are able to easily send screenshots of issues they are experiencing, and agents are able to help resolve these issues quickly.

#3: Proactively Communicate 

The barriers to entering and switching between apps in today’s highly competitive markets are very low. To stay top-of-mind among your users, you should be proactively communicating with them to both show that you care about their experience and to prompt actions you desire. For example, once you see that a user has successfully experienced your app for the first time, your customer support SDK should automatically prompt them to post a rating into the app store. 

Another great way to proactively communicate is via the same asynchronous messaging you use for customer support. Use your support SDK to let customers know when an agent has responded to an issue. This allows the conversation to continue and ensures that the issue is resolved as soon as possible.

#4: Automate Wherever Possible

With a modern support SDK, you can automate the majority of your workflows.  Not only does this speed up issue resolution and improve the customer experience, you can operate more efficiently and stay lean. AI and automation can be used for far more than collecting initial user data and routing issues fast and accurately to the right agent. It can also be used to point users to the fastest self-service options. This is important because, increasingly, app users are growing more and more sophisticated and prefer to resolve issues on their own via a knowledge base article or tutorial. When your customers can self-solve with the right tools, support ticket volumes drop dramatically. In addition, most self-service tools can be accessed offline, further optimizing the user experience.

High-performing apps almost always leverage a knowledge base—not only for speed, convenience and cost savings, but also for its value as a feedback mechanism. By seeing the topics your users search and access, you gain a better understanding of new solutions and even app features to create. This helps you to continuously improve your app in line with user expectations.

Improving In-App Retention Shouldn’t be an Afterthought

Successfully enacting these tips will help you retain and monetize your user base. Making it happen is easy with the Helpshift SDK. It provides native experiences for iOS and Android, bots to instantly respond and automate certain tickets, mobile-optimized search features, and proactive support via in-app push notifications. Its innovative use of AI-powered automation enables you to evolve customer support in line with changing user expectations and improve your in-app retention rates.

For comprehensive reading that will help you truly optimize your digital-first customer service, check out this Ultimate Guide

Published July 17, 2019
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