Do your clients really want your app?

An app is good when it treats customers as individuals and really empowers

How often now are we told to “just sign up for the app and everything will be ok”? No mention of whether that everything is the miracle we crave; or the mundane we try to avoid.

There are now apps for everything and by everyone. But often it’s clear that the organisation has not asked the basic question of why anyone would want their app really.

An App for Customer Service?

At first, apps seemed novel and useful. Even if app is merely an abbreviation of application. The abbreviation took it away from the heavy original coding needs of historical computing. A series of questions enabled the individual to log in with their details and receive various benefits such as information or money off.

The earliest apps were an advance on loyalty cards or matching services and often started in pre-existing relationships. When these took off the simplicity of coding engagement meant that anyone could create an entirely novel app. Apps became standalone. Some were frankly bizarre serving needs that few could really have; if we lived in a truly rational society. Others became essentials of modern life in order to travel on demand, to interact socially, shop and bank.

What started as an advance in customer service and management is now anything but. It has returned for some organisations to the old unresponsive systems.

Bad Marketing App Undermines Mutual Benefit

I have had a supermarket loyalty card since the bits of plastic were first launched. It required minimum registration details and to use it, I just had to scan the plastic. As a regular shopper, I was regularly rewarded. The shop brand became my habitual shop. What I bought is tracked; from the response to an exotic offer, now cheaper, to my every-week items for future demand projection.

More recently apps are replacing cards. My card was issued when the system only needed postal addresses. I had never shopped online on my account so never had cause to log in. This behaviour is, of course, just plain odd for the majority of the population. The only way to get a new card was to login and create a new account. A new card came with a new number. It is not linked in any way to my old card/account.

Has the creation of the app destroyed a customer relationship and history with data and profiling lost? Absolutely to the history. Possibly on the relationship of many years standing as I feel I’m just a number not an equal partner in this relationship.

App Takeaway

The first question to ask of any technology is what is its real benefit to the user? Apps can be highly beneficial to organisations to improve their customer service and relationships. But in using them what is the benefit for the client?

Is contacting businesses quicker and more simply really a benefit now there are hundreds of competing apps for clients? Also consider the individual privacy and security costs to keep all those records safe and compliant? Only if all benefit then create the app.