Today I gave a presentation on providing support for your iOS app as an iOS Developer. It’s a near-inevitability if you release an app for public consumption.
Many developers probably don’t even consider support as a potential issue while developing their applications – and are then flooded with requests, suggestions and feedback when their applications take off!
Here are some things to consider re: supporting your iOS app – even before you release it!
- If you’re a single developer – not working on a team – you should identify the basics of how you will support your application: how much time you’ll put into support, how many requests you’ll limit yourself to, whether or not you’ll provide self-service help to your customers, etc.
- If you’re on a team of developers, awesome – think about setting someone (perhaps on a rotating schedule) to handle support requests for your app. It splits up the work and lets you plan your development work.
- Consider setting limits for yourself: “I’ll only fix critical, app-crashing bugs”, or “I will focus mainly on performance and GUI issues; feature work can wait”
- Give yourself the tools to succeed: decide what channels you’ll be using for your support (Email, Ticketing System, Twitter, Facebook, etc) and stick to them
- Remember: your users are your customers. They may frustrate you, but remember to understand their side of the story too. If they have a frustration, it’s likely affecting other users too!
- This is your application, and thus you have the final say on feature development/implementation. You won’t satisfy everyone!
- Provide channels for feedback and support, separated or at least sortable if possible. It will help you sort both types in the long run.
- Get yourself some analytics tools: AWS/Google Analytics can give you insight into how users are actually using your app, while platforms like Crashlytics will help you fix and identify bugs/crashes more quickly
- Don’t overload yourself with channels: pick one or two at most. Twitter gives you a public-facing reply ability and a private one; but managing those requests can be nuts. Consider a ticketing system that will let you easily automate/manage/view your requests.
- Give your customers self-service tools. As often as it gets skipped over, documentation can be an absolute life-saver!
- Bonus: Provide some in-app tools! A good example: provide the ability to submit an email or ticket right from your app. There are lots of great SDKs out there that will give you this (and much more) functionality.
Note that these bullets just scratch the surface. There are many, many more tools and considerations you will need to make for your application. Ultimately, decide what works best for you – and modify your workflow(s) to best fit your support philosophy.