A 2015 consumer study by comScore revealed that smartphone owners in the U.S. typically spend 80% of total app time on three apps and really about half of their total app time is spent on just a single app. Customers have more apps on their phones than time in the day and are clearly showing signs of “app fatigue.” They simply do not want to download more apps for temporary or occasional needs, such as paying an insurance bill twice a year, or checking on a claim.
What customers do use on their phones is messaging apps: 6 of the top 10 apps used on phones today are messaging apps and among them is SMS, a solution still used by many. Yet SMS doesn’t allow what native apps do, which is display of rich media, or secure data entry. What can be done then to engage app-weary people on their communication channel of choice?
When rich media is needed, such as displaying images, video, or offering forms for complex data entry, or the data entry needs to happen over a secure channel, say for credit card data entry, companies should consider branching out to a disposable app. The disposable app can either be sent proactively through the vehicle of a short URL embedded in an SMS or chat message (say over Messenger), or requested by the customer through a quick message. Using Natural Language Understanding and other AI techniques, users can now simply text what they’d like to achieve to the business and the automated system will respond accordingly. For example, “need to pay my bill.” In this case, a message could be returned with the option to pay the outstanding bill with the card on file, which is something the customer can complete on SMS, or they be sent a link to a disposable app to pay their bill with a different payment method securely.
To date, text-based interactions have been largely one way notifications or at best, limited to very simple yes/no responses. Disposable apps create two-way engagement within the SMS app to enable richer and conversational interaction far more accurate and complex than current basic SMS interactions today. And in the process, disposable apps provide a cure to the dreaded app fatigue syndrome.