When businesses invest in a custom mobile app, they want to do everything possible to make the app a success. One area where a real difference can be made – deciding on who to include in the process – is sometimes not given the attention it deserves.
Typically, a business will appoint executives to an app development team to work with the developer’s team. They ensure that the business goals and the company’s vision of the app are built in, and that the design and branding are on target.
But if those executives are the only people involved throughout the process, the success of the app could be at risk. At Big Fish, we’ve found that having other specific key players engaged leads to a better outcome.
Let’s take a look at who you need to engage, and how to involve them, based on the type of app your business is having developed.
For business process apps, used by your internal teams
The executives on the app development team may be very much removed from the day-to-day realities of workers who will use the app and others who will be affected by its use.
Those workers often have practical ideas and/or specific needs for the app. You need them to be involved. Here are two examples that show you why.
- Field service technicians perform similar tasks at numerous locations. They live the inefficiencies of their job every day. They may not know the exact technical solution for those inefficiencies, but they can describe the roadblocks that keep them from being as efficient as possible. They can also speak to what they need in an app if it’s going to replace their current manual processes.
- Impacted workers who rely on the data collected by field service technicians also can provide valuable insights. These workers use data communicated via the app to do things like schedule jobs, send updates to customers and dispatch service teams. They know better than executives which data is most important to them and how they need to work with it.
Users and impacted workers should be involved at specific times during the app development process.
- In the initial stages, while the company’s vision for the app is still evolving, users and impacted workers should be invited by their managers to submit their ideas for the app. The managers would then edit and consolidate the ideas and submit them to the app development team for consideration.
- Your developer is likely to have a Discovery Day to kick off the project with a workshop that begins the discovery process. In addition to the app development team, someone(s) should attend that can represent the users, and someone else who will represent the impacted workers.
Their perspective will give the developer’s team a much fuller understanding of what is needed.
- Whenever the developer releases a prototype or fully functional preview of a feature for review, a select group of users and impacted workers should be part of the review team. They will provide real-world feedback that could point to significant improvements in the next iteration.
- When the app is complete, those users and impacted workers who participated in Discovery Day and various reviews should be called upon to assist with the onboarding process. Their familiarity with the app will encourage colleagues to learn how to use the app and put it into use.
Worker resistance to using an app means it takes longer for it to start paying off. Get the right people involved from the outset and start enjoying the benefits sooner.
For customer-facing apps
Customer-facing apps can help you sell products, provide better customer service, allow users access to personalized content and records, or all of the above. That’s why we recommend engaging customers with the development of your app, whether you’re selling B2B or B2C.
There are benefits to involving real customers and potential users from the beginning. You want to build something they will find valuable, and use. Your customers will be the greatest source of input and inspiration – involve them.
If they aren’t involved from the earliest stages, I recommend inviting a handful of your best customers to try pre-release versions of the app. Much like testers of beta versions of software. Then, you can bring them together in a focus group format to discuss their experiences with the app or solicit their feedback individually.
If confidentiality concerns make it impossible for your company to call on customers to help you with your app, try to bring in one or two trusted third parties from the outside that will represent your customers.
Companies that sell to other businesses and retailers of high-ticket goods and services employ sales teams. Salespersons will be called upon to explain the app to their accounts; if not by you, then by your customers.
Select representatives of the sales team to provide feedback as the app evolves. Make sure your entire sales team is on board with the app before it is released to customers.
For all your employees
A new custom mobile app that improves the way you do business, improves customer satisfaction and establishes you as an innovator in your vertical is something worth celebrating.
If you have a Culture Team, ask them for ideas concerning how to spread the word about your new app through your organization. And you know they will have some fantastic ideas for launch day.
Make your new app popular in and out of your company by making it something that everyone wants to support and talk about.
An opportunity to embrace
Building a custom app is an opportunity to move ahead of the pack in your industry and establish your company’s authority by improving the way you do business. Engaging the right people at the right times will help ensure that your business gets the most out of it.
Looking to develop a new app that moves your business forward? Contact Big Fish today.