How to boost in-app engagement with customer retention strategies?

Customer retention strategy for in-app engagement

Customer retention is often looked upon as a huge mountain of a challenge that everyone, from marketing to product development, struggles with.

After all, even a small sift of 5% in customer retention can boost a company’s profits by 25% to 95% (Bain & Company: Prescription for cutting costs).

With the massive adoption of mobile apps, the customer retention strategies that used to work in the past are no longer functional. Also, every business is trying to boost its in-app engagement, which in turn maximizes every other aspect of revenue and profits.  

If you think about it, engagement and retention are two sides of the same coin. One supplements the other.  

  • Engagement: Refers to the user activity on your mobile app. How many times do they open it, how much time do they spend on it, how many transactions/activities are conducted, etc.? Metrics like Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) help measure in-app engagement.
  • Retention: Refers to the population of existing customers you are able to retain during a given period. In mobile app parlance, it is the number of customers who return to the app within 30 days of installation.

Low in-app engagement and customer retention is a sure recipe for disaster.  

So, how can you boost your in-app development with the help of customer retention strategies? That forms the premise of this blog.

Smooth onboarding

Onboarding is the first point of contact that your user has with the app before they actively use it. If that experience is not worthwhile, if the user has to go around in circles to understand how to do basic things – there is a fat chance that the users will churn. By churn, we mean they will uninstall the app and may never return.

Fortunately, there are several onboarding tactics that an app can adopt to power up its user onboarding. Video is prime among them. When asked how they feel companies could improve re-onboarding, 69% of people say that they feel more videos should be used (Wyzowl Customer Onboarding Statistics 2020). In fact, most app stores recommend app publishers have video demos on the app’s landing page.

Customer Onboarding Statistics 2020
Customer Onboarding Statistics 2020 – Source Wyzowl

Live chat

Your onboarding could be crafted to perfection. Still, there could be instances when the customer would feel like asking specific questions about the app. When they want to ask questions, it is natural for the user to look for support within the app rather than searching for the online knowledge base. It is here that a live chat can help.

Live chat software can replace a live agent in answering user queries. Basic live chat software can provide canned responses based on standard user queries. Advanced live chat software that is powered by Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Text Analytics, etc. can deliver a personalized in-app experience.

In fact, they can be designed to provide dynamic responses so that the user will feel like they are talking to an actual human agent.

Push notifications

Push notification is a message strip that pops up on the mobile screen. It can appear when the user’s device is locked, on the app drawer, or on the app interface. The benefit of push notifications is that they can be seen even if the user is not using the app or even if their device is locked. However, the only catch is that users must have turned on push notifications in the app settings to view them.  

Push notifications help in two ways: both in engaging existing users and in retaining them. Almost every mobile app that counts on in-app purchases and spending leverages push notifications to its benefit.  

Here is how Uber uses it. The taxi-hailing app sends push notifications of special pricing, fare drops, or possible surge pricing that encourage the user to make a booking.

Uber push notifications
Uber push notifications – Source BuildFire

In-app messaging

In-app messaging goes one step ahead of live chat software or push notifications. You can use it to engage with users who are currently using the app. In-app messaging helps heighten the user’s engagement through targeted messaging. 

For example, if the user is spending more time on a specific app feature or page, you can send personalized offers to increase their spending. This works best for eCommerce apps where users spend more time on a product page.

They can also be used to alert users who are on the verge of shopping cart abandonment. Or, to intimate customers of products that are back in stock that they could not buy earlier.

In-app messaging use cases for eCommerce apps
In-app messaging use cases for eCommerce apps

Loyalty programs

Your users need a reason to continue using their app. After all, there are millions of apps on the app stores for Android and iOS. Why will they continue using your app? Loyalty programs! 

Loyalty programs or reward schemes are all forms of gamification systems for continued usage of the app. They work by incentivizing the users with points, rewards, or discounts for their patronage.

For example, if you are a Starbucks customer, every dollar that you spend through their preloaded card will give you two points. As you gather more points, they become substantial enough to purchase a free coffee or latte of your choice.

In other words, Starbucks is making users remain loyal customers by giving them a reward for the current transaction that can be redeemed in the future.

Starbucks story
Starbucks story – Source Pymnts

Take customer feedback seriously

Collecting customer feedback is not enough; it should be acted upon. There is no denial of the fact that customer feedback brings to light several customers experiences lapses that the business may not be aware of. However, the feedback-gathering process will prove to be futile if no action is taken on it.

For example, let’s consider the below-mentioned customer feedback and how it can be worked around for a better customer service experience:

I don’t want to give my credit card details just to sign up

If the credit card details are necessary for signing up, mention the reason for asking it. Adding a disclaimer that no charges would be made without approval could make the customer feel at ease.

Why do you need permission to access my location?

GPS location permission is usually sought to trace the address of the user for deliveries. This is typically necessary for eCommerce and on-demand delivery services. However, there are digital wallets that again need GPS location for additional security. Communicating these needs to the user on the app permission screen can improve the customer experience.

It took me a while to figure out how to complete the order.

This feedback hints at two things: either the order completion process is complicated. Or the CTA buttons are not clearly placed that facilitate immediate action. Remedying these two things can make it easier for the user to complete the order.  

Similarly, each customer’s feedback can be concluded to be a problem. A solution can then be created for the same. A business that takes customer feedback seriously and works on it is bound to retain its customers for a long.

Final Thoughts

In-app engagement is a tough nut to crack. The involvement of many high-level strategies makes it difficult. Further, users have countless alternatives that can be accessed in an instant. These in-app engagement strategies can help your business maximize customer retention.

Do you know of any other strategies that are working for your business? Let us know. :) 

Image source: Freepik Premium

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