At the beginning of 2015 we launched Appointfix, a mobile app that helps independent service providers to easily manage appointments and reduce client no-shows using text message reminders. Since launch we learned a lot, mainly by talking with our users and the app grew, currently having over 1.5 million appointments created with Appointfix. I’ve discovered that time spent talking with customers was one of the best investments we’ve made and I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned in the process.
If you’re answering you already have an advantage over your competition
I’ve been amazed by how many of our users were actually surprised that we replied to their emails or app reviews. It seems there’s a bunch of app developers out there that don’t seem to bother answering.
When you manage to reply in up to 10 minutes with something that really solves the problem, you’ve got a pretty good chance of impressing the client and getting a good review.
I usually reply in up to 30 minutes (especially when it’s something urgent), but in case there are other things on the agenda, I try not to pass the 24 hours limit.
“Very user friendly app. When I had a tech question, sent email with quick fix response. Thank you!”
If you’re a founder or co-founder, include that in your email signature
People love to see that the founder of the app is replying to their emails, I know you can’t do this as your app grows but in the beginning and till a certain point, it’s doable and it has results.
“As soon as I emailed customer support I received a response the very same day from Flavius, the Co-Founder of Appointfix. He was very thorough and diligent in resolving the issue.“
Always thank the customer for writing you or for rating your app
In a world where it’s so easy to uninstall an app and competition is so fierce, I truly appreciate every customer that takes the time for write us at Support, whether to have us solve a problem or to suggest features to be added in the app.
Same goes goes for app reviews, so I always start my reply with “Thanks for writing us!” or “Thank you for rating our app”, even if the rating is not 5 stars or the feedback is not a praise.
“The main 2 reasons I chose your app was firstly the auto text messaging, is so user friendly and secondly, it really impressed me how you responded to all the questions in the ratings area in Google Play.”
If the customer is in pain, don’t deny the existence of a problem if the problem is real
Our app is not perfect and yours isn’t either, so these situations when something goes bad will occur. This is not pleasant and sometimes we can lose customers, but we should always be fair and compassionate in these high pressure situations.
I always try to empathize with the customer, before starting to reply, and I always start by saying “I’m sorry” whether we’re guilty of something or not. Then I get into more details and I explain what happened and how we can fix it.
“I almost gave up on this app after I had problems with the time slots syncing with the appointment times I entered on my Google Calendar. But as soon as I emailed customer support I received a response the very same day from Flavius, the Co-Founder of Appointfix. He was very thorough and diligent in resolving the issue. It took several tries and emails back and forth that same day, but after checking the time settings on my Google Calendar and also on my phone, the problem was resolved.”
Always try to start a conversation and connect
The main priority when a client writes at Support is to solve her/his issue or to give an answer that brings light into the situation, but if the conversation ends there you might be missing a huge opportunity. That is to connect with the client and build a relationship.
I always end my replies with a question to find out more about the client and spark a conversation. As human beings we love to talk about ourselves and what we do, so no matter how the conversation started, try to extend it.
When you feel the customer might be an influencer in her/his field, try to take it to the next level, have a face to face conversation via Skype. Once you get to know people, they are more willing to get involved and promote your product.
Our best clients are those who are telling others about our app, these people are true ambassadors of our brand.
Meet Kyle Liston from Tactical Fitness.
“Appointfix is amazing. I have used many other appointment setting apps and nothing compares to Appointfix. As a business owner in the fitness world I live by my calendar. I love the preset appointment feature that allows you to create and save custom appointment settings for easy future use. There’s nothing out there that compares to the ease-of-use you get with this app. Another terrific feature is that you can sync the appointments with your personal calendar to be sure your not missing something in your personal life as well. Most importantly is Appointfix’s customer service. When I had a question about something they are very quick and very helpful. I recommend this app to everyone in the fitness industry!”
Always keep an eye on your App Store/Google Play reviews
I’ve noticed that mobile app users, especially when running into a problem, they have a tendency to write a review directly on the store instead of sending an email to Support. It’s their right and it’s not pleasant at all for us as app owners, but we should always reply in an elegant manner.
Recently one of our users gave us a 1 star review because the app was lacking a feature he’d love. Breathe in, breathe out and be gentle while answering.
“Review: Am i missing something is there really no field for a location? Wow great app turned to crap.
Hi Marsh, We never had location as a field but it is on top of our to-do list for future upgrades. Thanks for your feedback and hope you’ll reconsider using the app with our next upgrades.”
If your product is not a good fit, simply recommend a competitor
There were a few times when users were requesting some features that simply didn’t align with our product’s vision, or they were too far away before we could implement them. In these cases, I just give the person few recommendations with our competitors that might be a better fit.
People’s reactions to this are priceless.
“Just so you know, you didn’t have to do that, and if my circumstances ever change, I would hands-down use your services, just based on your awesome customer service. Thank you!”
If you’re the developer, founder or co-founder of an app, I highly recommend you to take care of answering support emails and app reviews, the feedback you’ll be getting it’s invaluable. It will be hard sometimes as some people will trash your product and your work, but it will totally worth it. Peace out, and please share with us in comments what you’ve discovered by talking with your clients.