Written by: I&M Content Team at Ivanhoe & McToterson
Mobile and web applications are changing the way companies of all sizes and in all industries do business. As these mobile- and web-based technologies improve, they must meet high user expectations. When users interact with these applications, they expect constant availability, an intuitive interface, an enjoyable experience, and new and improved features. Because of these expectations, apps must delight their customers day after day to keep them coming back. To deliver apps that your users will love, keep these points in mind as you develop your product strategy:
- Implement agile development processes. Salesforce.com wrote a whitepaper titled “The 7 Secrets of SaaS Startup Success.” The article states …
Faster development requires that you break down complex R&D projects into smaller, independent components you can develop quickly. Using this strategy, you’ll save time by avoiding the many interdependencies of traditional projects and eliminate the need to support multiple platforms and versions. Instead, you can develop, package, and deploy a single version to all customers.
- Listen to your users. Create feedback mechanisms that let your users easily communicate with you. You want to know what they are thinking in order to give them more of what they love and fix what they don’t. Strategies for getting subjective user feedback include user acceptance testing (a must-do before you ever release a product), surveys, focus groups, user groups, and customer support.
- Keep your app always available. In order to do this, you need to minimize downtime and poor performance of your app. The way to do this is by investing in infrastructure that supports a reliable, scalable architecture.
- Keep your app easy to use. A simple app that is easy to understand and use encourages greater user adoption. Simplicity is key. Leave the complexity behind. Doug Sumaraga, Founding Partner of eMentoree, says
Our app should be easy to use. The less time it takes our users to ‘get it,’ the faster they’ll become brand ambassadors on our behalf. To help them get it, our goal is to make our application as easy to use as possible.
- Track and analyze behavior patterns of all your users. Quantitative data-driven insights will help you develop an app that users will love. These data-driven insights will also help you better market your app. You want to measure everything down to the mouse click, instead of relying solely on surveys or other subjective feedback from a subset of users. Ensure that quantitative usage statistics and subjective user feedback drive your current development efforts and future product plans. Make this information available to all employees involved with creating or marketing your product.
- Create a “Chief Customer Advocate” position. This person’s role is to always take the customer position on all decisions that affect the customer experience, from features to UI/UX to pricing to support. This person is the voice of the customer internally. The goal is to make sure that the customer’s voice is heard.
- Sell a service. Not a product. You’re not just selling a product, but a complete service that solves a problem or makes life easier for your users. Your service includes delivery, support, added features, and ongoing maintenance. Employing a service-minded approach towards your users will ensure that you develop relationships with them that create loyalty to your product. This approach has a stronger impact on how you acquire, interact with, and retain users.