posted by Kevin Cain
With almost six million apps available worldwide through the Google Play and Apple App stores, making sure that yours stands out from the crowd is a tall order. The reality is that it’s not enough to merely create an app that’s useful or innovative. To really be successful, these days it’s also got to help create better experiences for your customers. In fact, the best apps are the ones that are so valuable that they become fully integrated into users’ lives and stay that way by constantly adding new functionality.
Let’s take a look at three examples of apps that have pulled this off to deliver five-star experiences for their customers.
Although baby monitors have been around for decades, Owlet has taken monitoring the health of infants to a whole new level. Based on the same kind of technology doctors use when they attach a sensor to your finger to check your oxygen levels, Owlet’s product is a Smart Sock with a sensor built into it that goes directly on the baby’s foot to monitor its heart rate and oxygen levels. Data from the sensor then goes to a monitor and to the Owlet Baby Care app.
This setup allows users to get real-time information about their baby and receive alerts if the baby’s levels are dropping or something seems wrong. While parents can, of course, just rely on the static monitor that comes with the Smart Sock 2, the free app gives them and other care givers much greater freedom and flexibility. That’s particularly true since it supports Family Sharing, allowing up to six people to use it at the same time.
For a small additional monthly fee, Owlet also offers a Connected Care App that captures all of the data the sock collects and gives parents a report on the baby's sleep cycle, oxygen, and heart rate levels throughout the night. Owlet’s mission is to empower parents through technology and help prevent some of the more than 3,000 babies that die unexpectedly in their sleep in the US each year. Reports suggest that hundreds of families have contacted Owlet to say it’s done just that, meaning that the company has managed to deliver a powerful product that stands out not just for its innovative use of technology, but also for delivering a superior customer experience.
One of the most famous and successful music and arts festivals in the world, Coachella hardly needs to market itself to its legion of millennial and Gen Z fans. Instead, one of its focuses has been to enhance the customer experience and offer new highlights through innovative tech. In fact, the Coachella 2018 Official app has been labelled the festival-goer’s one-stop personal concierge.
Coachella’s market is young, tech-savvy, and hard to impress, which left its organizers with a real challenge as they set out to enhance their festival experience. And yet, the Coachella app has become so central to maximizing the enjoyment of the event that, once they’ve tried it, most visitors instantly fall in love.
That’s because it allows users to create a personalized schedule, add performers and shows, receive notifications so they don’t miss anything, and share their schedule with friends. They can use it to not just to navigate the sprawling venue, but also discover events and activities, find food and beverage vendors and amenities, look at a real-time virtual lost and found, and purchase merchandise online. And, they can do all of this while listening to their personally curated playlist.
This year’s mobile app also included an innovative new augmented reality (AR) feature called Coachella Camera. Users gain exclusive access to AR art installations across the venue. They can also use the app to take incredible AR pictures (and, of course post them through their integrated social media streams) using a variety of lenses. Want a picture of you cutting up the dance floor with a disco shark? The app makes that and much more possible as part of its commitment to creating a better experience for customers.
At first glance the Nest app may seem a bit overwhelming, but in terms of helping customers manage their home, security, and environment, it’s an absolute winner. The app includes dozens of functions and allows users to decide on the level of automation or control they want. For example, using sensors, algorithms, and your phone’s location, the app enables you to arm and disarm your home remotely. If you forgot to set the alarm manually before you left the house, the app will remind you. Meanwhile if there’s any smoke or CO2 in your home, you’ll not only be alerted, but also advised what to do.
One of its many great features is the ability to invite guests, sending them an email with a unique passcode that operates during set hours. If an alarm is triggered while they’re visiting, it will tell you why. Another, slightly more invasive feature lets you track the comings and goings of family members who each have their own passcode to enter and leave the home. It may not be for everyone, but if you want it, you can have it.
Security camera features let you see your home on your phone, inside and out, and get alerts when there’s activity. Next-level functions give person alerts, identifying familiar and unfamiliar faces. You can even answer the door without being present, or play a pre-recorded audio message to visitors. Users can also set their thermostats to automatically save energy, or change the temperature from work, the park, or the bus.
The great thing about this app is that you can set it and forget it or exercise a high level of control, depending on what suits you. It also integrates with a variety of other appliances, such as lights, fitness bands, washers and dryers, among many others. That effectively puts “your home in your hand” which, not surprisingly, is the company’s tagline.
The secret to the success of these apps isn’t just innovation, or that they’ve solved a problem, or made users’ lives easier. It’s that the creators are always thinking about how they can add to the customer’s experience and enhance their lives. And in the fast-moving world of mobile applications, it’s the customer that matters and how fully they can integrate with their lives.
What apps do you think help create superior customer experiences?
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