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Retaining your mobile users is getting harder. According to a recent survey by Apica, 60% said they are “likely to be less loyal toward a brand if they experience poor website or app performance.” In fact, 11% wouldn’t even give a site more than five seconds before navigating away. With so many options in today’s digital marketplace, loyalty is everything.

Pictured: one way to get customer loyalty.

The current generation of consumers, Millennials, has grown up with multiple choices and are proving to be incredibly tough to stay loyal to certain apps. So in this fickle digital age, what can you do to ensure that your customers come back to your company’s mobile channel? Here are three ways to increase loyalty in mobile app usage.

1. Charge more for your app.

A lot of businesses are competing to lower their prices thinking that most users want to save a buck. New research shows that this may not be the case. According to a report by Liftoff, apps with a low subscription cost also has low engagement.

As Liftoff’s chart shows, it’s all about hitting the sweet spot with your app’s monthly subscription cost. Too low, and people won’t want it; they might feel it must be cheaply made and lacking in the features they need. Too high, and people will be turned off by the price. The sweet spot seems to be between $7 to $20 a month for the highest conversion and user retention rates.
Does this feel counter-intuitive to you? It did to us! But the report pushes the notion of the average customer wanting to pay just enough to feel like they are getting quality. After all, if a subscription is very affordable, they feel less attached to it and can easily quit. Your app may see higher retention rates by actually raising prices, giving your users more of a sense of commitment with their wallets.

2. Value = Personalized Discounts and Rewards

There is no better utility of a mobile app than to save your user money. When customers see that they can get a deal or earn a freebie from using your app, they won’t go anywhere else… as long as your offers are competitive and personalized. According to a recent survey by Clutch, the number one feature consumers want from their e-commerce app is “discounts on products similar to past purchases” (85% of respondents). The bold is our own emphasis because that part is the key to loyalty programs.
Customers rarely want random deals. If your Amazon.com homepage was just full of random items on sale, it wouldn’t convert very well for them. Instead, when you login, you’ll see items related to what you showed interest in:

We’re very into timing our water boiling, apparently.

Likewise, your rewards and deals should be pushed intelligently, with accurate data mining of each user. In most cases you’d want to be wary of your customer’s privacy, but since they are literally signing up for your deals program, and the survey above shows they actively want this feature, this is a clear way to implement a loyalty component that is effective with your base. Then you’ll also reap the benefits of 81% of your consumers buying more because of your program.

3. Customer service is king.

The right price, the right rewards; those will move the needle. But at the end of the day, it’s all about customer service. A study by RetailDive showed that “nearly half (47%) of the mobile app users surveyed said they would delete a frustrating app if it doesn’t provide customer support.” Again, emphasis ours because that “if” is important. That “if” shows that users may forgive a bad app experience if they have access to help from the company.
Remember, users won’t give bad apps much time at all. And no app is perfect without constant iteration. To stave off customer churn, your company can include a “help line” in the app to give users an option to air their grievances and get assistance. How? The study lays it out:

According to Helpshift, that means ensuring a retailer’s app contains quality customer support — and not just any kind. Of those surveyed, 59% of mobile app users said they prefer messaging to email communication, especially for talking to customer service agents. Apps that offer live, in-app customer service were popular with respondents, 46% of whom said they would try an app that offered it, along with 34% who said they would use the app, recommend it to friends (23%) or buy it because of that feature (16%).

Adding a feature as simple as email communication to your app can improve your customer service and loyalty. In fact, 89% of users said they would recommend an app if they were proactively contacted by a support agent in-app! So to be clear: it’s not about having a perfect app, but rather the perfect customer service. This leads not just to loyalty, but to word-of-mouth recommendations. You just can’t beat that.

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Loyalty in the mobile app marketplace is tough to earn, but well worth the effort as returning customers are the lifeblood of your business. We’ve written about app loyalty before, so don’t miss our earlier post! And let us know how you create loyalty with your mobile-first efforts.

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