Mobile Support is Proactive, Not Reactive

By Elaina Ransford

“Be proactive.” You’ve heard some iteration of this from your parents, your teachers, and doctors, certainly (if only I could go back in time, Doctor!). Be proactive about your health, be proactive about your work, be proactive about your relationships; don’t wait until the last minute. So it’s no surprise that this mantra is now a fundamental pillar of mobile customer care/ a good customer service department.

When it started out, customer support was largely remedial: It was there for times when your internet line went down or your phone broke. But how much better things could have been if we could have avoided these catastrophes altogether!

Tushar (Chief Customer Officer at Helpshift) deems it a problem of departments, and even linguistics: “Converting a customer into a loyal user, into a paying user, into a long-term user, will all be in the hands of this new medium: customer marketing. Let’s not call it support. ‘Support’ turns that entire department into a reactive mindset. We’re talking about this new customer department, that’s already doing one-to-one.”

We’re at the point of redefining what customer service means, which is an exciting place to be, and just one more way that mobile is trailblazing for the rest of the business / tech world. Call me the doctor of mobile.

Here’s how to be proactive about the health of your app:

1. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes:
Try to think like a customer: is the app fulfilling its brand promise, is what’s advertised being delivered? Think about value perception– if a customer has spent $10 on your app and is unhappy, it’s because they feel they’re not getting value out of the app. Maybe some tweaks to your marketing campaign are in order, or perhaps some more serious work needs to be done on the product to ensure the user has gotten their money’s worth. Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball into customers’ heads. This is why establishing a venue through which you can hear your customers (native support messaging) is so crucial to customer success.

2. Push, don’t pull:
Use push notifications as the ultimate proactive tool. Our engagement in apps is enormously due to push notifications; we’re doing less “hunting and pecking” through our app grid. Apps that notify users (without over-notifying) are rewarded with the user’s engagement (and dollars). After you’ve got them back in the app, segment users to garner feedback from different groups; for example, target users who have used the app less than 3 times since installing it, and send them a message like “Hi John, How can we make our app better? We’d love to hear your thoughts!”

3. Tiers of “support”:
It’s every customer service department’s dream to garner only positive feedback, and fix any bugs before the app rolls out to the public. But we’re all human, and when your product fails to live up to the users’ expectations, then workflow organization becomes your number one priority—meaning that you provide speedy support to your top paying customers. Again, think “segment and prioritize.” This optimizes agent workflow and enables agents to successfully deliver premium customer service to the people who are paying the bills. In this way, you’re being proactive about customer relationships that in turn greatly impact retention rates and the success of your app.

At the end of the day, it comes down to developing meaningful relationships with your customers; providing prioritized service is a surefire way to demonstrate care and keep customers loyal.

As mobile changes, so will the user’s experience and expectations. The old definition of customer “support” is being phased out; the most successful apps are now adapting to provide proactive customer care, rather than support as remedial.

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