Invest in customer experience, not a mobile application

Zaac Woodhead
Sep 14, 2018 · 2 min read

In my position I’m in on the market everyday speaking with innovation, brand & marketing managers who are trying to engage and surge the marketplace. They’re often striving to:

  • Enhance customer experiences for growth & retention
  • Innovate
  • Have an edge on their competitors
  • Capture a meaningful digital footprint of data to make future decisions

So, they decide a mobile app is an answer. The question I ask is…why?

Image for post
Image for post
“white smartphone near laptop” by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

Research tells us the average person utilises 27 apps on their mobile device. Of these 27 apps, people spend approximately 85% of their time in 5 core apps.

Largely speaking this core set of apps that people use look something like the following; Google Maps, Spotify, Instagram, Uber, Minecraft. These vary across the world and cultural behaviours, but the core apps are those providing essential utility, entertainment or content to the user.

So, if you think about this on a global scale…organisations are investing incredible amounts of dollars & resources developing mobile apps that have a low probability of impact & success.

These bad decisions are the result of companies getting bad digital advice, or being overly subservient to the CEO who provided a directive “we need an app”.

Most people are not bold enough to challenge.

What if you took a more science-driven, customer-centric approach to understand what problem you are trying to solve?

  • Do you have a customer experience problem or opportunity (sales growth, retention, brand engagement)?
  • Do you have a customer service & operational problem (automation, remove friction, cut costs)?
  • Who are the people on the end of these experiences, what does value look like for them?

By identifying the problem to solve you have taken a solution agnostic approach. Meaning before you start designing the solution, you must be first thinking of what an impactful experience and outcome must look like. If you break this down — the best, most cost-effective investment solution is not a mobile app.

The best place to start in creating real value, enhanced customer experience and return on investment is understanding what these things mean to the end user. What do they truly need? Start here with your market and user research. Do some testing, get it in the hands of the user as soon as possible. They will tell you if working. A well-considered customer experience design process will amplify your chances of success.

Zaac Woodhead is Managing Director at 24 Digital, a digital product design agency based in Melbourne, Australia.

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