1. Increase your website sales with Proactive, automated chat

    It’s always a challenge making sure you’re there to talk to your user at the right time. For example:

    1. when a visitor has a full shopping cart but hesitates at checkout,
    2. when a new user stops in the middle of onboarding and is about to leave
    3. when your subscriber is considering upgrading

    These are all times when it helps to be present to answer questions and alleviate their fears. This is why we’re launching Proactive Chat. Proactive chat is a way to target your most vulnerable users with a personalized message. This is completely automated and rules based - once you create a rule, it starts to work for you and do the targeting, so your team doesn’t have to.

    A few tips from our last few weeks using it

    First, questions work better than statements. The more specific the better. Our most effective rules are when we ask questions with a one-word answer. For example, we automate the process of asking how our customers found us - it’s a short question, with a one or two word answer. The response rate to that hovers around 10%.

    Second, shorter messages are better. Keep things brief.

    Finally, target users at inflection points. This can be in your onboarding flow, at your checkout page, or anywhere else where the user is vulnerable, and losing them is expensive. For us, that’s in our onboarding flow, and upgrade page. For you, could be anywhere.

    Here’s a quick guide is here if you’re looking for tips! Proactive chat is now available for websites only. Mobile coming soon.

    We’re always looking for feedback so if you have any, please email us at ayo@hipmob.com!

     


  2. Some Love For PhoneGap Devs

    We’ve released some goodies for the PhoneGap community. These plugins (and a brand spanking new sample app) should help PhoneGap developers get up and running much much faster, by writing much less code, and have an easy way to see what a fully functional app with Hipmob inside can look like. This should make it easier than every to provide fantastic customer support to your mobile users, whether that means in-app live chat so that you can help your users directly, or an in-app FAQ so that your users can help themselves. Without further ado, here’s everything you need.

    Hipmob Cordova plugin for iOS (on Github)

    PhoneGap plugin for Android (on Github)

    PhoneGap Sample App (on Github)

    Full list of PhoneGap Resources for the PhoneGap community.

    For anyone wanting to see an example PhoneGap deployment, check out the Epiq Financial services iPhone app

     


  3. A/B Test to Stay Ahead of the Competition

    Anyone that runs a business will agree that competitive analysis is essential, but it’s also easy to get caught up in thinking, “Well, my competitor is doing XX.  We need to do it too!”  However, what works for competitors might not work for you (remember Zune?).

    This is where A/B testing came in for Paktor, a dating app targeted at the Asian market.  The app uses a thumbs up icon for users to indicate interest in a potential match.  However, other dating apps use a variety of icons for the same purpose including hearts, checks, and message icons.  The Paktor team discussed many different ways to improve engagement (like rate and repeat app usage rate primarily). They were fairly certain that changing the thumbs up icon to a heart icon would improve engagement rates. Not only does it in theory better reflect the love seeking purpose of the app, many competitors seem to have had success with heart icons.

                     Original App                           With heart icon

    Paktor_Variants.png

    As online dating grows, the selection of dating apps is increasing.  Yet regardless of the app, the core concept of expressing interest in a potential match is universal to all digital dating.  In every dating app, there is some way for the user to tell the app, “yes, I like this person” or “yes, I want to get to know this person.” But the icon that users click to express interest is different from app to app.

          Coffee Meets Bagel                Tinder                               Match.com

    CoffeeMeetsBagel.pngTinder.jpgMatch.jpeg

    This is arguably the single most important icon in a dating app.  The app can only make connections if users click on this icon.  This means that the app only has value and remains engaging if this icon is clicked.  Regardless of the dating app’s monetization strategy, a large pool of engaged, repeat users is the key.  

    Paktor wondered which icon would create the most engagement.  They hypothesized that the a heart would better represent finding love, so they A/B tested an x and heart icon combo against the thumbs down and thumbs up icons the app originally had.  

                   Original icons                        New A/B Test

    Thankfully they A/B tested it because the x and heart combination lowered engagement by 6% and would have cost them 26% in month over month growth.

    Despite the fact that the x and heart icons seem to be working for other dating apps like Tinder, Clover, and Hinge, Paktor believes that the heart icon signals a level of commitment the Asian user is not comfortable with.  

                     Clover                                       Hinge

    Clover.jpeg   Hinge.jpeg

    The heart icon reduced repeat uses by a statistically significant 2.3%.  That’s a loss of 11% in revenue over a year.

    Paktor was ready to implement the change without testing.  That’s how certain they were that the x and heart icons would be better.  The lesson they learned was that every hypothesis is worth testing.

    About the author: Lynn Wang is the head of marketing at Apptimize, an A/B testing platform for iOS and Android apps designed for mobile product managers and developers alike.  Apptimize features a visual editor that enables real-time A/B testing without needing app store approvals and a programmatic interface that allows developers to test anything they can code.  Sign up for Apptimize for free today or read more about mobile A/B testing on their blog.

     


  4. Going Mobile? 5 Tips To Consider When Launching A Mobile App

    The mobile era is upon us - very soon, mobile will not only be bigger than the desktop in terms of traffic and revenue. For customer engagement this not just a challenge, it’s a huge opportunity. As you go mobile, here are 5 tips for continuing to provide great customer support to your app users.

    Monitoring app ratings isn’t enough

    App ratings only tell part of the story. Chances are, if you’re using Zendesk to you sell real products or provide a real service, and app ratings simply do not capture the full picture of customer happiness. They’re also a one way channel ; you can’t identify and communicate directly with customers who have problems. Zendesk already gives you a 360 view of your business, but if app ratings are your primary mobile benchmark, you miss a huge opportunity. Recommendation #1: Know your channel - in mobile as in the web, some support forums are private (like in-app feedback and emails) and some are public. Monitor them all to stay on top of trends, and give users an outlet to vent.

    Don’t kick users out of your app and into mobile Safari.

    Developing an app is expensive. Many apps work hard to engage users, only to kick them into the browser when they are most vulnerable. Not only does this drive negative app ratings, it also drives lost sales and reduces customer happiness. You also lose much of the context which helps agents solve problems more quickly. In this case, even embedding your helpdesk via a webview, is better than sending a user into the browser. Recommendation #2: Default to in-app feedback. You can do this yourself, or embed your help center in your app using a tool like Radialpoint SupportKit (for a webview) or Hipmob (for native iOS, Android or PhoneGap). Full disclosure - Hipmob is my company. Zendesk this year is coming up with even richer mobile options, as are we.

    To support mobile users, you need more context

    Make sure you capture all user context or you’ll often miss the real source of the problem. Sometimes customers can have a transactional issue, and identifying the customer and the order is all you need. Other times though, the issue is technical, and to figure it out you need diagnostic data, so why not collect it upfront? For example - SmartThings (a Zendesk customer that also uses Hipmob) sometimes deals with technical issues customers have connecting to various home electronics. In those cases, knowing the device, app version, operating system and Wifi/Bluetooth connectivity helps solve issues faster. Zappos, a leader in mobile customer support does a great job of this - when you try to send an email, you’re given a few options to choose from, and embedded in each, is basic info about your device/app, and a log file containing even more (technical) context. Recommendation #3: Whatever you use to capture user feedback or support, whether a 3rd party tool, something built in house or email, make sure you’re capturing enough context to solve the user’s problem.

    Zappos for iPhone

    Mobile isn’t just a channel, its an opportunity.

    Apps let you do things that weren’t possible in a browser - the opportunity to be on the homescreen, to be a persistent yet useful presence in your users life, to personalize communication with a user not only based on who they are, but where they are, and what time it is, and to get out of their already crowded inbox. As you iterate your mobile effort, focus on the “job” that your app does for customers. For education companies like AnywhereEducation (also a Zendesk customer), the iPad app enables users to have educational materials wherever they are (this matters because their users are mostly pilots), be updated with the latest data, and purchase and access new materials as they become available. They become a persistent presence in each user’s life, with customer support (articles and tickets) never more than a tap away. Recommendation #4: Make sure you’re exploiting the unique mobile opportunities available to you.

    You make what you measure.

    In mobile, data is king. The analytics tool you use depends on your type of business and your constraints, but if you’re not tracking your usage, you’re leaving money on the table. As you choose an analytics tool, check if your web analytics tool has a mobile plugin - otherwise, this guide can help you choose.. Good analytics helps you get more personal with mobile users, and automate even more of your customer support, which makes your team more effective. Recommendation #5: Track everything.

    It’s early days in mobile and everyone’s still figuring it out (including us), but the rates of adoption are astonishing and those who don’t adapt will be left behind. We’re always trying to learn so if you’ve seen any examples of awesome customer support on mobile, please share them (ayo@hipmob.com). Many businesses will see mobile traffic and revenue surpass the desktop in 2014. Your customers are already there, so why aren’t you?

     


  5. Introducing Hipmob For iPhone: Make Your Customers Happy, From Anywhere

    For the last month we’ve been playing with our brand, spanking new iPhone app; we even previewed it a few weeks ago before submitting it to Apple for AppStore review.

    If you want to skip the show and tell and get it right away, go here..


    Before releasing this, you could always access Hipmob from a 3rd party app XMPP app like Plus.im, Verbs.im, and several others. These were great, but because they were general purpose apps, users were often displeased with their options, and the apps behaved in ways that are ok for other uses, but not great for customer communication; for instance some apps would send you a push notification every time a user moved to a different page on your site or in your app. As you can imagine, if your site has lots of visitors, this is really overwhelming. So when designing the app, our goals were to make it easy to:

    1. understand whats happening in your app or on your site.
    2. talk to customers & switch between conversations.

    Understanding What’s Happening

    We help you understand what’s happening in 2 ways - via the status page (which is the home page the app opens into) and via notifications. On the status page, you can: - see how many visitors are on your site, or users are in your app. - see how many are actively in conversations - see a live feed of your users chatting and browsing your site - set yourself as available or away.

    These help you understand what’s happening at a glance.

    Notifications are delivered in-app, and via push. You can receive notifications whenever - a new user starts a conversation - a user sends a message during a current conversation (whether you’re in or out of the app) - a new mobile user shows up in your app’s support area.

    Talking And Switching Another important consideration was making sure that we (Hipmob) would get out of the way of you, our busy, and incredibly valuable customer when you wanted to talk to YOUR end user. We do this first via notifying you of absolutely everything using a floating black notification at the bottom of the screen.

    Secondly, everything in the app is literally one swipe and a tap away. Swipe left from anywhere in the app and you’ll get a list of active conversations. Swipe right from anywhere and you’ll get a menu that can take you home, to the settings page, and so on.

    And that’s that for now. We’re absolutely not done developing this, so if you have thoughts, questions or suggestions, please drop us a line at ayo@hipmob.com. We’re going to be evolving these apps significantly over time, as well as building iPad and Android versions for your use!

     


  6. Hipmob Update: Tag Restrictions

    Operators connected to Hipmob using the Hipmob web console, a compatible XMPP client or the Hipmob iPhone app can apply tags while in a conversation using the #tag command. If you use these tags for business rules processing, its important that the correct tags be applied, and that there are no typing errors. With free-form text entry into a chat window, it is often easy to make mistakes.
    We’ve just released a new feature that lets you restrict the allowable tags to a previously approved set: you can set it up to only allow previously approved tags, or to require confirmation before adding a tag that hasn’t been seen before. This should cut back on tagging errors and make sure your rules operate unimpeded by text input errors.
     


  7. Hipmob Update: Integration with Slack

    Slack is one of the best team communication tools out there, and is growing in popularity. With support for real-time message archiving, search and a powerful channel metaphor for organizing streams of communication, we’ve had a number of our customers ask about adding Slack notifications to Hipmob.
    We’re happy to announce our Slack integration is now live. Now anytime a visitor to your website or a user of your mobile app has a question, you can have the message pop right into your chosen Slack channel.
    Your team members can then hop straight from there into the Hipmob web console and start talking.
    We use Slack’s OAuth2 support to make connecting your Hipmob account to your Slack account nice and easy. See how to connect your Hipmob account to your Slack account.
    Take a look, and reach out if you have any questions.
     


  8. Mobile App Interested In A/B Testing? Here Are Your Options

    This version has been updated with the new Optimizely for iOS beta

    Web developers have long had tools for A/B testing, including standalone tools like Optimizely, Unbounce and Visual Website Optimizer, and marketing software with testing built in such as Hubspot and Adobe. For app developers it’s only recently that similar tools have cropped up. As a heavy user of Optimizely on the web, I appreciate the value of

    a. making changes without having to write code (because often the marketer or person doing the A/B testing is not the same person developing the app) b. making changes without having to resubmit to the appstore

    Given that every app update for iOS requires approval (and a few days), this decouples testing and results from the AppStore approval cycle. So if you’re in the market for an A/B Testing tool, here are your options, most of which accomplish both (a) and (b).

    1. Apptimize Available for iOS and Android, starts at $50/month for 200,000 monthly active users. Enables updates/changes without resubmitting to the App Store.
    2. Leanplum Available for iOS, Android, PhoneGap, and Unity. Starts at $79/month for 1,000 daily active users. Also enables visual (in browser) editing of your app.
    3. Taplytics Currently available only on iOS, and starts at $20/month for 10,000 daily active users. Also enables visual (in browser) editing of your app.
    4. Artisan Available for iOS and Android, and starts at $1,000/month for 25,000 monthly active users. Artisan is one of a couple of A/B testing frameworks which comes as part of a larger analytics package. Also enables visual (in browser) editing of your app.
    5. Vessel Available for iOS, Android, PhoneGap/HTML5, and Windows phone. Vessel.io starts at $150/month and also comes as part of a larger analytics package, which enables visual (in browser) app editing.
    6. Swrve Swrve is very clear about being an enterprise solution. They don’t have a lot of documentation or feature descriptions publicly available so it’s hard to tell what their service actually does. That being said, they do list EA, Gameloft and Activision as customers.
    7. Arise Available for iOS and Android, Arise.io starts at 99 Euros for 50,000 monthly active users.
    8. Splitforce Splitforce is available for iOS and Unity, and starts at $299 for 5,000 daily active users.
    9. Optimimo Optimimo is available on Android only and starts at $49 per month per 10,000 daily active users.
    10. Amazon Built on AWS, and available for iOS, Android and Android Kindle Fire. It’s completely free (no limits on apps, team members or monthly active users). Amazon A/B testing is still in beta though, so this pricing might change.
    11. Appiterate Appiterate touts itself as “A WYSIWYG A/B Testing Platform for Native Mobile Apps.” They have a free one month trial then pricing starts at $49/month for up to 10K MAUs.

    UPDATE

    1. Optimizely for iOS Optimizely, the popular A/B testing tool for websites, is Available on iOS only for now. It’s included for no additional charge with a new or existing Optimizely account (so if you’re an existing Optimizely customer, this is good news for you). Optimizely allows you to manage web and iOS app experiments in the same place.Screenshot 2014-05-25 08.30.00.png

    Open Source A/B testing tools for mobile. (note - these repos look like they haven’t been active in about a year)

    1. Abba by Stripe: https://github.com/maccman/abba (Javascript)
    2. Switchboard by Keepsafe: https://github.com/KeepSafe/Switchboard (iOS and Android)
    3. Clutch.io by Twitter: https://github.com/clutchio/clutch

    Screenshot 2014-05-25 08.36.13.png

    If there’s anything I missed, please share! A full list with comparisons of all the services is up here. And (shameless plug) if you’re looking for other conversion and communication tools for your app, check us (Hipmob) out for in-app messaging and in-app helpdesk.

     


  9. SuggesType: Auto-generate your FAQs and Canned Responses Through Machine Learning

    We’re always thinking of ways to help you be more productive. That’s why we recently released the Hipmob Messenger iPhone app (Android’s coming soon). I want to share the idea behind one of our upcoming features: we’re calling it Suggestype - it helps you respond to customers more quickly, by suggesting canned responses and FAQs based on what you’ve said to customers in the past. Here’s an example:

    1. It scans the contents of your entire communication history with customers: chat transcripts, helpdesk tickets and emails exchanged. From your communication history, it detects and indexes frequently asked questions, and the answers your team sends to customers. We’ll scan sources including Hipmob and Olark chat transcripts, Desk and Zendesk tickets and knowledgebase, Gmail conversation histories, and Salesforce leads.

    2. As you type chat messages to customers, or emails & helpdesk responses, it presents you a 3 options of responses based on what you’ve sent in the past, and what you’re typing right now (see image below). These responses are ranked by

      • Frequency: how often they’ve been sent in the past
      • CSAT: responses sent to higher revenue and more satisfied customers are ranked higher. You can hit select the response you like, edit it, and hit enter.
    3. We’re constantly scanning and indexing your customer communications, to better understand what kind of questions your customers are asking, and preparing responses to help you respond faster and save time. As Suggestype gets smarter, it prepares canned responses and FAQs you can easily edit, update and publish to your knowledgebase.

    4. Using firefox and chrome extensions, you can use Suggestype in any app where you respond to customers: Desk, Zendesk, Salesforce, Gmail, GrooveHQ, Parature, Kayako, Freshdesk, and many more.

    And that’s V1! We’re still working out the kinks, but we should have this in beta in a few short weeks. We’re totally open to ideas, so if you can think of ways to make this better, we’d love to hear them: ayo@hipmob.com.

     


  10. The “Heartbleed” OpenSSL Vulnerability - Hipmob Security Update

    Earlier this week, a critical security vulnerability was disclosed in OpenSSL, a widely used cryptography software library. A potential hacker exploiting this vulnerability could read confidential data from a server without needing credentials. This vulnerability, called Heartbleed, affected the majority of websites and internet companies, including Amazon, Heroku and more.

    As a company you trust with your data and your customer data, we take your information very seriously. Immediately following the disclosure, we realized we were vulnerable and started to work on securing our servers. We first confirmed that Heroku and Amazon Web Services, whom we rely on, had taken the necessary steps, and we were able to finish securing our servers by Tuesday evening.

    Over the past few days we’ve taken even more steps to shore up our overall security, and just yesterday finished deploying new SSL certificates, along with new keys.

    It’s highly unlikely that our systems were compromised, and we’ve found no evidence of a breach, but out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that you change your Hipmob password.

    You can change your password here.

    If you have any more questions or want to know more about the steps we’ve taken, just email team@hipmob.com. Thanks for being an awesome customer.

    Femi & Ayo