If you look at app development in a very simplistic way, it’s easier to end up with a rather straightforward life cycle for an application project:
Take the business.
Build an app as per the customer's perspective.
Perhaps earn some follow-up revenue if the consumer returns to you for changes.
Get it "out the door" and into the app stores.
Get paid and move on to the next creation.
Plenty of app development companies work exactly like this, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s actually rather short-sighted and reactive. It’s also a way of doing business that attracts spells of feast and famine — with times when you're scrabbling around for the next project and times when there are too many jobs happening at once.
It’s actually quite simple to adapt your application business so that you can approach things from a more proactive standpoint, which means more revenue, happier consumers, and a more evenly distributed workload for your team, with fewer peaks and troughs.
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Here are five steps to better molding your services around customer needs:
1.Break free from the "job and finish" structure.
It might require a change in perspective, but it’s important to get away from a mindset where an application project begins when the consumer signs the contract and ends when the application hits the stores. In reality, this really is not the case; building an application is not the same as building a house.
Once you can break out of this way of thinking, it will become quite natural to explain things to customers in accurate terms. Version 1.0 of an application is just the beginning of the journey if the application is to be in any way successful.
2. The project’s not over when the application is built.
Once an app is live, the process is not complete. There's still plenty to do. Applications need promotion so that people really use them, for a start. Then there’s the fact that no matter how well you’ve tested and verified things, bugs can and will inevitably come to light after more people are let loose on the application. It’s essential that someone keeps an eye on the user’s reviews and deals with support queries too, as this can help expose bugs and clarify misunderstandings as to how the app is supposed to work.
3.0 Manage expectations regarding ongoing work.
It’s one thing to make users understand that there’s always more to "having an app" than building it and releasing it, but the soon-to-be users do need to know what to expect financially. They’re not likely to give a blank check or an open-ended contract with endless money! However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be up-front about telling the clients what to expect in terms of costs. Often, companies do not have a problem spending money when the reason is clearly explained to them. What they do not like is unexpected or unclear invoices, or having this news sprung on them right at the very end of a project. Lay it out up front for them and explain that’s just the right way to approach an application to make it succeed.
So, build application updates into your plan; tell consumers how frequently they’re likely to need to issue bug-fix releases; and make it clear how much money they’ll need to spend – not just to get the application "out there," but also to get people actually using it.
4. Understand your client’s business.
If you’ve read this far, it’s probably becoming clearer that the basic objective is to aim for more of a partnership relationship with your clients than just focusing on selling a one-off service. If you’re going to make this work in the long term, it’s important that you really start to understand your client’s business and what they want. This has been a problem for a very long time for techies of all kinds. IT technicians and developers who don't work with the rest of the business have been a common complaint from management, and often a valid one.
If you are able to detach yourself from these (often all-too-true) stereotypes and make it your priority to learn the priorities and objectives of the companies you work for, you really will stand out from the rest. Really getting into the minds of your clients and understanding their business and what exactly they need their application to achieve would give you more trust and more work from your clients, hence resulting in more referrals.
5.Make proactive suggestions for improvements.
This follows on from the previous point, that you cannot truly deliver unless you first understand the business of your client(s).Once you've done that, it will be easy to combine your technical knowledge and knowledge of the app market with your knowledge of the customer's business. This will give you ideas for how to make the app better.
To really understand your client’s needs, it’s about asking the right questions from the very beginning. Take an interactive approach to save your clients money and time.
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