To Switch or Not to Switch

People like the apps they’ve got, even if they’re terrible.  Often we should change, but if there is the slightest resistance in onboarding or interface, we get that dreaded word.


There may be a far better solution to the one that I’m using, but if I can’t import my contacts easily into your email platform, the answer is I’ll Do It Later. (=Never.) If I can’t view my document in your cloud app, the answer is I Will Try This Conversion Later. (=Never.)

It usually takes a catastrophic event to get people to make a change. One day, the Evernote server refused to serve up my 4,000-plus notes in Evernote. I had a blank screen. Catastrophe. I switched to a different notepad app. Then they went out of business, offering a one-click integration back into Evernote. I returned to Evernote and am still there.

The day Bush I invaded Iraq I decided I was tired of driving a car fueled by gas. I wanted no part of the war for oil. It was really hard back then to find a useable electric car, though I tried.  I looked at kits to turn the husk of a Porsche to into an electric car. I looked at Ford Ranger trucks that were electric, and the electric RAV 4. The car companies were pulling those off the market as fast as I could locate then. Then I found a Prius, a compromise. I am on my fourth Prius now. The war continues.

Losing one’s Evernotes temporarily is a far lesser catastrophe than a war, but it’s clear that it takes something big to get people to change from what they’re using. Switching isn’t easy. Why, then, would people switch to your app?

Your user experience has to be memorable.

Look to retail as an example. When you walk into an Apple store, Brooks Brothers, Coach, or Adidas, you are being served up a memorable experience in all its small details. With apps, we need to sweat the small stuff, right down to the icons, the fonts, the fit and feel.

Users remember how you treat them.

Answer your help line. Respond to emails. Reply fast as you can. Get Satisfaction, Zendesk and Redbooth offer varying cost solutions. When Dreamhost was having some denial of service attacks a few years ago, I tried to get them on the phone for help, because all my sites went down. They were hurting, but they handled it badly. I switched to Media Temple, which costs more, but  has live chat, answers the phone, and responds quickly to emails. Dreamhost has had to get live chat now to compete.

Fix problems.

I bought an calendar app on the iTunes App Store. Didn’t work. The creators took two weeks to respond, saying they were working on a fix. Never fixed it. Switched to Sunrise Calendar. Redbooth released a wonky iPad version. Took too long to fix it. Switched to Asana. Mailbox only works with Gmail. Cloudmagic uses any account, and works on Android and iPad. Switched to Cloudmagic.

Churn, baby, churn.