Building The App Your Customers Need


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. And among the changes has been a dramatic rise in mobile services. As people work from home in a more flexible pattern than previously seen, mobile is a key way to interact with employees and customers alike. People rely on their mobile devices for communicating, networking, managing their finances and more.  In fact, people spend an average of 4.2 hours per day in apps. So, it stands to reason that you might like them to spend some of that time interacting with your business. 

However, when it comes to building a mobile app, there is little point in creating something just for the sake of it. On the contrary, a mobile app should solve a real customer problem to be successful. So, first, you need to ask yourself whether you really need an app, and secondly, you need to know why. By focusing on your customers rather than your business needs,  you have a far better chance of building brand advocacy and boosting profits.

The Benefits of Building a Mobile App

With mobile phones either in our hands, by our sides or in our pockets for most of the day, they are a core way for businesses to get hold of us. And, they serve multiple purposes, with applications for almost everything. It’s understandable that businesses want to build mobile apps, and there are several benefits that companies are striving towards:

  • Delivering value – by offering an app, businesses can improve their customer’s lives. It might be automating a manual process, solving a problem or by creating a loyalty program. 
  • Strengthening brand – by having an app, businesses create awareness and communication with their band. Regular interactions with customers can build trust and create a stronger brand presence. 
  • Improving communication – an app is an opportunity to offer round-the-clock customer service. While your bricks-and-mortar business may be closed, your app is always available and convenient for your customers to use. 
  • Increasing sales – by increasing brand recognition or by directly enabling online orders, businesses can boost their profits with an app. The idea is that it is easier and more engaging to interact with than other channels.
  • Beating competition – if a company’s competitors have a mobile app, it often motivates them to do the same. Or, alternatively, by being the only one with a mobile app, they can stand out from the competition. 
  • Reaching new audiences – by having a mobile app, businesses can increase their reach, appeal to new audiences and build their customer base. They can also use analytics to improve their offering. 

However, while each of these is certainly a valid reason for building an app, some are more important than others. Ultimately, by improving customer experience and delivering value, businesses can realise the rest of the benefits of building an app. 

Why You Should Focus On Your Customers

Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for businesses to create an app simply because they think they should have one. However, that is very rarely likely to deliver any of the business benefits that we’ve discussed. Instead, the entire purpose of an app should be focused on delivering value to end-users. An app should give people something they want or need and should aim to make their lives better or easier as a result. 

When you are building an app, you’ll want to ask yourself some key questions:

  • Why are you building the app? – which one of the business benefits above is your key driver. It’s important to understand your own motivations.
  • What problem will it help solve? – if your app doesn’t solve a user problem, it simply won’t be used. You need to understand what your customers need.
  • Who are your users? – you need to know who your app will serve, what they are like and how they will use your app. Your target user is key. 
  • How is your app unique? – why would someone choose your app over the competition? You need to understand how your app will stand out. 
  • What will the user experience be like? – how do you plan to make using your app an enjoyable experience? Customer experience is key to driving engagement. 

The main goal is to understand exactly what your users need and how your app will deliver it. By focusing on the concept behind your app and the benefits it creates for the users, you are ensuring that your app will be useful and, therefore, used. And by increasing engagement, you will increase brand recognition and, in turn, sales. 

And, of course, you can continue to focus on your customers once your app is up and running by using analytics. This will help you understand exactly how they are using the app and enable you to offer them improved personalisation or features that will help them get what they need. 

Will Your App Be a Success Story?

If you’re thinking of developing an app for your business, you are certainly not alone. Many companies have been ramping up their mobile strategies during the past year. However, just creating a version of your company’s website might not quite cut it. You need your app to offer something unique, to solve a real customer problem and to make life easier for end-users. If you get it right, your app can deliver exceptional value to your customers and help you to drive business growth in even the most challenging of times. Mobile services are most certainly going to remain a vital part of business in the months and years ahead. However, only by focusing on your customers will yours be a success story.

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About the author

Michael Ridland is the Co-CEO and Founder of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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