Developers of software, including mobile apps, will receive questions from end-users. In typical fashion, this is not a problem… until it becomes a problem. One or two emails a week is a light load, but even one or two emails a day adds up over time. Here, we will focus on easing the customer and technical support of your mobile apps.
Like everything else, responding to customer questions involves a process.
Fully documenting your app as it is being developed is the most time efficient method of handling customer support. This documentation can serve as a user manual; selected information can be used as your Frequently Asked Questions (with answers);
Creating these do involve an upfront investment in documenting everything about your app — a user manual if you like. The user manual can be used to extract a reasonably complete FAQ in very short order. Odds are these can be integrated into your app download. These can also be added to your web site.
A large portion of your end-users may never read your documentation or FAQ regardless how good it is. When they need help, they contact you. Unless you have a regular office with a dedicated support team, you likely want to funnel as many customer inquiries to email support. Taking calls and making outbound calls may be necessary on occasion. Some customers still insist upon talking to someone. More on this below.
Leastwise, having organized documentation already available means that after reading the customer’s letter, you can copy/paste the corresponding FAQ into your response.
You want to do more than this, to personalize your response and to try exceeding the customer’s expectations. Much of this can be defined within a template requiring you to customize your salutation.
Thank you for contacting us with your question/s. I understand you want to solve [restate the customer’s question/problem].
[Copy/paste instructions from your manual or FAQ].
Does this help you? On this problem, you can find out more by referencing [In-App Help/Web Site/Document].
(Optional) As there are many devices and platform versions, if you can let us know [define relevant specifics] – this would be helpful to me in finding a resolution specifically for you.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance on this issue or if you have additional interests. I’d like to pass along [special offer/promotion of upcoming app release/a freebie]. You can find additional details at [your site].
I welcome any comments you have about [your app], please let me know if this information is not helpful for you.
If you have responded with one letter on a specific help request, you can re-use it provided you don’t have to search extensively for it. A little bit of organization can save you a lot of time.
You have two primary goals with your customer support. First, to give the customer the help they need so they are happy to continue using your app. The second, is to give them a warm fuzzy feeling – giving something to them they would not have received otherwise. The special offer or promotion here is an attempt at promoting what you are doing, but with an extra incentive.
Returning again to the matter of phone calls. The professional standard is for a company to be reachable by email, by phone, and by physical address. Coupled with that is that if you provide a phone number, someone should be there to answer it. Only 50% of callers will leave a message. Customers insisting upon voice contact are a minority for internet services, probably more of a minority for mobile apps.
If your app is distributed on a free or freemium basis, a phone number is probably not necessary.
The most important thing is place the emphasis – make it easy – for customers to reach you via your preferred method of contact. That will most likely be via email. In your contact details, it is appropriate to specify the level of support customers can expect through other forms of contact. Setting expectations from the start is the easiest way of meeting them.