Do You Need an App for That?


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A recent customer co-design session got me thinking about when it’s valuable for customers to have a mobile app versus when it’s fine to let them use their mobile phones to access your website. There is so much money being poured into the development of mobile apps, I think it’s time to become a bit more judicious about taking the plunge into mobile app development.

Do Your Customers REALLY Need an App for That?

Do Your Customers REALLY Need an App for That?

There’s no doubt in my mind that we have now reached the cross-over point: more customers access the Internet via their mobile phones than ever before. In fact, in many countries, more than 50% of ALL Internet access is via mobile devices.

So I began to think about how to help clients decide whether or not one or more mobile apps are the right way to go for their customers’ self-service needs. There are two big gotcha’s that I see. From your company’s standpoint, it’s a big and a fairly permanent commitment. But, from the customer’s standpoint, there’s also a price—even if your apps are free, they take up valuable real estate and memory on their smartphone. This “limited shelf space” problem really came home to me when I read Sam Grobart’s useful article in The New York Times: Six Steps to Decluttering Your Smartphone. In it he presents the problem:

“The combination of novelty, a (usually) low price and an industry that has no shortage of innovation means that we have opportunities to get new apps almost daily.

But the end result is app overload. Too much clutter. Memory wasted on apps that were cool on Christmas morning, but now lie at the back of the closet, unused and unloved.”

~ Sam Grobart, New York Times

He proceeds to outline a six-step process that he uses to keep the number of apps on his phone down to a mere 104.

1. “Use folders
2. Respect the folder cap/limit
3. Stay on one screen
4. Use it or lose it
5. Don’t worry about app loss
6. Keep some apps separate”

I’ve been planning to implement Sam’s useful suggestions, but, in the meantime, I’ve been thinking about what makes an app valuable to customers who routinely do business with you and/or who value your help in getting things done.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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