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Exclusive Interview with Lars Ronning, Head of EMEA at Helpshift Article

As the leader in mobile customer support, Helpshift has grown massively as mobile has become the new normal. With clients including Microsoft, Target, Supercell and their CRM software installed in over 1 billion devices, Helpshift are one of the biggest unheralded names in the mobile marketplace. Helpshift are one of the incredible exhibitors at this years Apps World London 2016 (October 19th-20th), and we managed to catch up with Lars Ronning, Head of EMEA at Helpshift.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience and your position within the company?

I am head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) for Helpshift, the world’s leading customer support platform for mobile. For more than 25 years I have been introducing and running US technology companies’ business in Europe. During the years I have gained a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

At Helpshift I am able to translate my experience into significant improvements for our clients when it comes to mobile & omni channel support and customer engagement. Helpshift power in-app support in more than 4,000 apps from very small to very large, in use by more than a billion mobile users. Clients of ours include Microsoft, News Corp, Supercell, Virgin Media, Suunto, AppyNation, Vivino, Western Union, Flipboard and countless other household names.

To what extent is customer support important post download?

It’s incredibly important. Research has shown that that the average mobile app or game loses 77% of its DAUs (Daily Active Users) within the first 3 days after the install. Within 30 days, it’s lost 90%. It’s during the initial use of an app or game that it’s most critical for users to get the best possible support experience. Mobile users have more options than ever, and if they experience problems with the sign-up or setup process, you will lose them before they have even started using the app. Not only that, if they have a disappointing experience and are unable to get help or provide feedback, they will more than likely go to the app stores and leave negative feedback and ratings, which will impact your ability to recruit new users. They will drop off and find another app that does the same job – but  better.

Not only is it important to deliver a good support experience. It must also be delivered via the app, where the user is looking for help. Our research shows that on average 1 in 5 mobile app users will at some point need help. That’s huge. And they want help where they need it – in app. So from an engagement point of view, don’t ask your users to leave the app to get help. Don’t ask them to email, call you or browse web based FAQs which take them out of the app. Once users have left your app, it’s incredibly difficult and expensive to get them back – if it’s possible at all.

Where the user is paying for the app, it becomes even more important to deliver a great engagement experience.

How important is a user retention strategy?

The proliferation of mobile apps has meant that the supply of apps in many categories significantly exceeds demand. It used to be a matter of “there is an app for everything”. These days it’s more like “there’s 10 – or more – apps for everything”. Hence, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to differentiate based on the products and services provided or controlled via apps.

It’s become more of a retention play than an acquisition play, which is why providing the best possible user experience, lifecycle management and listening to your customers is more important than ever. It must be easy for your customers to make contact. Across our clients, we are seeing that in-app messaging has led to an 8% decrease in user churn and 30% increase in LTV (customer Life Time Value). Furthermore, a business with 2.5% negative churn will after a few years represent three times the revenue of the same business with 5% churn. Also, for companies looking for raising capital or an exit, an incremental 2% increase in retention leads to a 20% higher multiple.

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In what ways can you keep a user engaged through in app messages without your communication becoming repetitive?

On average, we spend 3-4 hours of our time on our mobile phones each day – with the majority of that time spent in apps. Not only one app, but in a selection of apps. 32% of users have between 11 and 20 apps on their phones. Except for heavy use apps such as some mobile games, apps are fighting for mindshare and screen real estate. Some of the secrets to driving engagement via in app messaging are relevance, content quality, frequency and cadence. Knowing where your users are so you don’t send them messages and notifications in the middle of the night. Knowing who they are so you deliver something of interest and relevance.

One of the most important aspects of notifications (which are intended to drive users into your app) and in-app messages (which arrive in-app) is to provide an in-app inbox, enabling users to read and act on messages at their leisure. When the time is right for them. Never lose a message. And in order for the business to drive engagement, CSAT and upsell it’s of paramount importance that your users are able to respond to messages they receive. And that you are able to listen, respond and help. That your messages are not simply dumb one-way messages which end up in a black hole.

Helpshift allows you to tackle all of that, due to the combination of precise targeting, inbound, outbound and chat capabilities.

How can mobile customer support help save money?

As we move towards mobile, there are several ways to optimize your customer support organization and save money:

a) By offering a comprehensive, searchable and updated FAQ, which is also available when a user goes offline, combined with contextual automation, you will see that as many as 90% of your users will be able to find the answer they are looking for, without chatting, calling or emailing. Without any human interaction. In terms of cost savings, that’s substantial. One of our clients, Flipboard, is able to service an audience of 80 million subscribers with less than a handful of CS agents.

b) With a native FAQ setup, you can push new content out into the apps, without doing a new app release. This cuts down on engineering cost.

c) Mobile apps are able to collect a lot of valuable information around the use of the app, the device, OS, carrier used, settings, revenues generated, sessions played, time spent, crash logs, storage and battery levels, etc. etc. By providing this information to your CS agents, automatically together with each case, they will be able to troubleshoot and close cases much faster. We are seeing a 70% decrease in resolution times across many of our clients.

d) By moving to in-app chat, each CS agent can run several chats in parallel, in contrast to phone support, which is serial.

Who are you looking forward to meeting at Apps World?

Mobile app developers, product and customer support support leaders from companies of all sizes, with apps or plans to launch apps, who understand or would like to hear about the value of providing the best possible mobile and  cross channel support experience. Come visit us at stand number B14!

We will also be chairing a panel at the conference track, together with three of our clients (Virgin Media, Suunto and AppyNation).

What topics do you expect to dominate at Apps World this year?

I expect topics around user retention and efficiency will dominate, along with bots and AI. We have been focusing on delivering the best possible mobile experience since our inception in 2012. As evidenced by our traction and success, we play very well in this new world.

Don’t miss the Mobile Marketing conference at Apps World this October 19th-20th to catch Lars Ronning’s session and major brands including Twitter,, John Lewis, BT, Dominos, and many more.

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