Image via Shutterstock
Customers who engage with brands via apps are significantly stronger advocates that those who don’t use an app, Tui Travel has found.
Speaking at the Travel Distribution Summit Europe in London, director of mobile strategy John Boughton said that after Tui started development of its mobile app two years ago there were some “hard lessons to learn”.
The aim of the group’s app is to be a ‘digital assistant’ – to help the customer throughout their journey, from researching their holiday to finding things to do when they get there.
Boughton said that in some markets 50% of customers downloaded the new app within nine months of its launch.
“We did some research and app users have a Net Promoter Score 14 points higher than non-app users,” he said. “So if an app is done well, it can have a really positive bottom line impact. I think we are really starting to believe what this can do for us.”
Boughton outlined five key lessons Tui learned for developing a mobile app.
1. Today’s generation of consumers are impatient.
“It only takes two incidents of an app crashing before a customer decides it is not a good app,” he said.
“In September last year our app went down for four days and its rating was decimated to 1 star. We’ve only now got it back up to 5 star.
“The score is very public. Assume customers are going to be impatient.”
2. An app is more like a baby than a parcel
“It is highly demanding, even if it seems unassuming,” said Boughton. “It grows at a rapid rate, requires a lot of attention and needs more input the more it grows.
“It is important to let your stakeholders know this is a long term thing.”
3. Focus on simplicity, especially if your business model is complicated
Boughton said: “All business models are different but focusing on simplicity within the app is very important.”
4. Friction and customer effort are the enemy
“You should ruthlessly eliminate these,” said Boughton. “This is created by compromise.”
5. Make the app exciting
“The DNA of apps is about both engaging customers and selling. We have a calendar countdown feature which is really popular.
“These types of shiny features may sound frivolous, but often it is these that keep people coming back time and time again.”