Most brands hear from just one percent of their customers, according to a recent study. But there's a way they can hear from a staggering 91% of them.

The one caveat?

They have to be mobile-app-using customers.

Apptentive just released its 2019 mobile customer engagement report, based on data from 1,400 apps. Those 1400 apps have engaged in half a billion customer conversations for Fortune 500 brands across two billion devices worldwide, the company says.

Without brand effort, just one percent of customers reach out to give feedback. Apptentive calls them the "vocal minority," and divides them into the more engaged and less engaged: the ones you love you and the ones who hate you.

You are going to hear from these people whether you want to or not. But listening to them ... and doing what they ask ... can be dangerous.

"While feedback from the vocal minority is very valuable, it is dangerous for a brand to act on feedback that doesn't accurately represent the majority of its customers," Apptentive says. "You want to hear from the largest possible base of your customers to get truly actionable and comprehensive feedback."

That's where mobile apps come in.

You want your customers using your mobile apps because smartphones are the "three-foot devices," never far from your customers, day or night. And when you live on that three-foot device, you have the opportunity to engage deeply with customers at the right time and in the right way.

What the report says is that when you send in-app notifications to your customers that can be answered with a single one-tap answer, respond rate jumps to an average of 91 percent: 95% on iOS and 85% on Android.

That's up from 76 percent in 2017.

And it enables you to take the pulse of nearly your entire customer-base ... not just one percent.

Apptentive is pushing something it calls the "love dialog," which simply asks customers: "Do you love our company?" That's a bit over the top for me ... I'm not sure how many companies in the world I "love."

But substituting a single "Are you happy with our company" or our service, or our product, is likely to get similar response rates.

And hearing from all your customers is certainly going to be better than hearing from just the very happy and the very unhappy. It's also going to help you make better strategic decisions in the future.

Published on: Feb 14, 2019