Are you designing an app for customer support? That's old school

Are you designing an app for customer support? That's old school

Opinion ·

Did you know that on the Apple store there are over 2 million apps? Google Play Store has even more, counting 3.48 million apps on the marketplace. In the last few years, the market has been inundated with millions of apps. This can be explained by the fact that in 2022 smartphone users are expected to spend on average about $156.5 billion on mobile app marketplaces. These numbers encourage businesses to develop apps for their customers.

Apps are being used by various kinds of community-based businesses, including bars, restaurants, apparel shops, flower shops, hair salons, doctors, and other healthcare providers, to enhance the consumer experience. But is developing an app necessary for every business?

While bragging about your app may seem a tangible accomplishment to mention at the board meeting, not all brands need an app. When deciding whether to build an app, brands should think about their goals, their target audience's mobile usage, a development strategy, and their available budget. Brands should only develop an app if they have any proof it can significantly enhance the customer experience.

In this article we will discuss why businesses should not develop apps for their customers, also considering the evolution in the “app landscape”. Keep reading!

The transition in the "app landscape"

Apps may have only been around for a short while, but they have a rich history. Many people believe that the Nokia 6110's built-in version of the simple arcade game "Snake", which debuted in 1997, can be considered the first mobile application.

However, in 1983, way before Snake was released, Steve Jobs ideated the App Store or at least a very simplified version of it. Jobs pictured a store where software could be purchased over the smartphone.

In June 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone to both critical and commercial acclaim. After one year of internal development of native apps, in 2008 Apple finally introduced the App Store. After only one year, the company ran a commercial saying, “There's an app for that!" signaling the rising popularity of smartphone applications.

There is no "real" first app because the original App Store had 500 apps when it was first launched. Over time, as new smartphone models were released, more and more applications had been made available on the App Store.

Following the new application trend, Google, Amazon, and other big companies launched their own app stores with various applications ranging across different categories, such as eCommerce, gaming, finance, and others. It's also important to note that each shop initially offered paid and free apps, using the so-called "freemium" model.

The app landscape was revolutionized again in 2014, moving away from simple games and social media to encompass lifestyles.

Nowadays, smartphone apps are still highly demanded from users. Apps have become so ingrained in our daily lives that only a handful of people still do not regularly use them. Mobile applications have permeated every aspect of life. Now there's an app for everything from ordering food and groceries, talking to a therapist, booking movie tickets, purchasing clothes online, and more.

However, tech experts and evangelists believe that the most likely scenario in the future is that applications as we currently know them will soon vanish. These will be replaced by progressive web apps and a comprehensive customer service platform like Layerise, which is proving to be beneficial for both the companies and the end-users. Layerise is a much more intuitive and secure platform that provides super innovative solitions for businesses and their consumers.

The use of apps to onboard customers

The ubiquitous presence of smartphones has made it easier for companies to onboard their customers using mobile applications. With brands racing to connect with their customers through a mobile interface, only a few can resonate with their target audience. According to a study, 62% of users will stop using an app after 11 usages, and 23% of apps are only used once.

Apps occupy storage and need constant upgrades. Customers don’t want to have thousands of apps to onboard and then use all the different products they purchase. Most users don't want an app at all. What they want is a smooth and effortless experience that does not require downloading new apps on their smartphones. They expect brands to make things easier for them and provide omnichannel interactions.

Since onboarding is a brand's first chance to make an impression, the onboarding process has to be frictionless. With the changes in the mobile app landscape, creating apps for customer service doesn't work that well anymore. There are better and more improved solutions that guarantee a smooth onboarding process. Let's find out more about it!

7 reasons why you don't need to create an app for your customers

As we discussed, customers want companies to offer an omnichannel experience and creating an app for onboarding isn't enough. If you want your customers to interact with your brand through an app, think about whether you can provide a better experience using your website or social media accounts.

Customers could face different problems when using an app. They need a stable and strong internet to download it, they are required to update to newer versions after short periods of time. Also, consider that the phone could slow down due to the presence of too many heavy apps and if you have a niche offering, it is likely that people might disable your app. Sometimes they are even bothered by promotional advertisements when browsing the app and this makes the whole user experience even worse.

However, integrating some of your app's functionalities within your company's website and social media can enable your customers to access all the features in an easier and more accessible way. You won't need to persuade your entire client base to download and use the app.

On that note, here are 7 reasons why you don't need to create apps for customer service:

1. Creating an app is a never-ending commitment.

Your app will need to be tested and presumably upgraded with every launch of a new phone, tablet, or operating system. For instance, when Apple releases the beta version for its upcoming iOS, your development and quality assurance teams will need to spend time checking if the app is running with no bugs and, in case there are some problems, they need time to find a solution. Hence, this process can be very expensive and time-consuming.

There is also a constant need to stay ahead of the competition and provide a better user app experience when that resource could be better utilized in improving the actual product. Therefore, creating an app solely for onboarding will become a never-ending commitment.

2. Building an app is costly.

To properly construct a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), you need tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. While there are ways to accomplish it on a budget, the end product won't be up to the standard. Even if the app stores accept it, users won't download it and you’ll have wasted your money.

Mobile application development requires an organized process of discovery, design, development, and deployment. After conducting thorough market research, you have to create the user interface, the brand voice, and every conceivable aspect of the user experience.

Then you will have to write the code, put it through a rigorous testing process using various devices, and do a full debug before submitting it to the app stores.

As you have understood, building an app requires a lot of resources. Instead of spending all your money on one app that the majority of your customers won’t even download, you can focus on creating an omnichannel experience.

3. The market is saturated with mobile apps.

As per the latest statistics, almost 3,739 apps are added to the Play Store every day, and Google Play users worldwide download 111.3 billion mobile apps annually. Although that may sound impressive, it proves there is a staggering amount of competition.

Most of those apps are redundant, pointless, and underutilized. Every excellent new app has to fight its way to the top of all the mediocre ones. Your app will need to be aggressively advertised and marketed, which is also an expensive procedure.

4. A third party will control your app.

Third-party stakeholders like Apple, Google, or Microsoft are given a lot of control when you submit an app to their marketplaces. They officially own it because their Software Development Kit (SDK) is used to build it.

Even though millions of people might depend on it to purchase your goods, their store can reject your app for any reason. They also retain the right to remove it at any moment, thus killing your app on that platform (especially if it's iOS).

5. Customers don't want an app.

When smartphones first became popular, users installed every free app that even vaguely seemed intriguing. These customers are significantly tougher now. Most smartphone users are tired of their junked-up devices and seeing their purchase history filled with apps they tried for a few minutes before deleting them forever.

Therefore, persuading users to download and try your app is challenging. Only a few people will download it. Numbers speak clearly: One in five Android and iOS apps are uninstalled after only one use.

6. Your mobile app won't represent a new revenue stream.

For all the reasons listed in this blog and because all app stores take one-third of all revenue, it is tragic how few mobile apps provide a return on investment for the entrepreneurs who created them.

To break even after spending $200K on development, $260K in sales is required. However, the sad truth is that only 0,5% of mobile apps are profitable.

7. Mobile app users are fragmented.

If your goal is to connect with your users and ensure a frictionless onboarding process, you need to create an app for iOS, Android, and Windows Phones.

Even if you exclude the latter two due to their insignificant market shares, iOS and Android are used by nearly equal numbers of devices. It can be challenging to decide between Android and Apple because Android has twice as many downloads (because of its affordability in developing nations), yet Apple generates twice as much income. You must create and optimize a mobile app for both Android and iOS if you want to capture more than half of the market.

It's crucial for companies thinking about developing an app to make sure that the expenses are not higher than the benefits. Ask yourself questions like, "How many users will download and use the app?", "How many sales will it take to cover the costs of creating, marketing, and maintaining the app?" “Is it still a wise decision?"

Layerise: The solution to the app conundrum

If not an app, then what? Of course, there are other ways in which you can provide your customers with a seamless onboarding experience. Layerise can definitely help you with that!

Brands using Layerise can seamlessly onboard their customers through a so-called progressive web app. A progressive web app (PWA) is defined as an application software delivered through the web. It is intended to work as an app but it is an actual website. Customers can also pin the website to the smartphone home screen and have it there like a real app.

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Thanks to Layerise, the onboarding process can be way easier than what you have experienced so far. Users simply need to scan the QR code placed on the product, and they will be immediately welcomed to a PWA where they can get information about the product and complete the registration process.

With Layerise, you can start collecting important customer information during the onboarding procedure. Thanks to this customer information, you can create personalized and pertinent send-outs to increase conversions and establish automated marketing campaigns based on your target audience.

For Layerise, the onboarding procedure is vital for gathering first-party data. Customers can immediately register their product ownership after receiving it by scanning a QR code on the package or directly on your goods. The experience will be instantly personalized in terms of notifications, language, videos, etc.

Book a free demo with us to learn more about Layerise!

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