March 2, 2016

[Q&A] Why Brand Evangelists are Key to Customer Support

When building a mobile app, features like support are typically the last thing on a mobile-first company’s roadmap. It’s often tacked on as an afterthought, forcing users to exit the app and scroll through endless message boards to try and find a solution to any problem they encounter.

Aiming to ease this problem for apps and their users alike, RevTwo - a custom in-app support service startup - last week exited stealth mode. The company, founded by Axeda founder and former CEO Dale Calder, aims to revolutionize the standard approach to customer service and support within mobile apps. Instead of sending users outside of an app when they hit a roadblock, RevTwo’s In-App Support Platform syncs them with evangelists and other users directly within an app to troubleshoot a problem.

With a decade and a half of experience in customer service, Calder knows a thing or two about the industry and what it really takes to win people over. Last week, I caught up with him to learn more about RevTwo, the current state of in-app customer service, and why brand evangelists are a key part of the company’s strategy.


Kaite Rosa: When it comes to mobile apps, why is support typically tackled later on?

Dale Calder: There’s a couple of real reasons why support has been an afterthought. One is the practical reason: it’s an extra thing to do. You have to do it in addition to the functionality of an app. And traditional tools were designed in the era of the PC - they don’t work in mobile. With an app, the world changes.

On the other side are the models that people were using to do support. They weren’t appropriate either. When you’re dealing with the volume of the user communities that these mobile apps reach, you have to have a really valuable customer interaction within your app.

We pioneered this community-based approach, where you can leverage the help desk within the app and the community of users you have. The more successful your app is, the more passionate users are. They become built in helpers and the thing builds upon itself.


KR: Why is offering support from a real human so crucial?

DC: It really comes down to the richness of the interaction. Robots are robots. They can anticipate some things, but can’t anticipate all things. When people get stuck - and everyone will get stuck - the worst thing is if you don’t have human touch. You’re then putting the onus on the person asking the question to be really tight, crisp, and explain their problem well. They really need to crystalize what they need. I think that’s an unfair burden. That’s why in our app, you have the ability to interact with a person before diagnosing the problem.

The reality of it is when [users need help], you have the opportunity to build a new generation of evangelists. Perform in an exemplary fashion and they’ll never forget. They’ll become to the ones to support you. But poor service means a missed opportunity. You can do a lot with automation, but can’t do everything.


KR: Why and how does RevTwo lean on brand evangelists, and what’s their role in your business strategy?

DC: Evangelists are super passionate about the thing that your app is about. Most apps today don’t give evangelists any sort of avenue to express that passion in the app itself. So evangelists go out and build wikis, or start forums. They do work outside of the app because they’re passionate about it.

Evangelists are the beating heart of a community. They will be more important and do more for you. They will help people become as passionate about the app as you are. You’d be crazy not to give them an avenue in the app itself.

Give these people who are passionate about what you do avenues to express themselves. Do that and you’ll create a sticky environment that people swear by - not swear at.


Kaite Rosa is Director of Content & Marketing at VentureFizz. Follow her on Twitter: @KaiteRosa

Image via Shutterstock

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