Developer Start-Up's Vision: Real Human Support from Within a Mobile App
RevTwo Inc. is a start-up exiting from stealth mode with a developer-oriented platform for providing real human support from within a troublesome mobile app.
"The RevTwo In-App Support Platform connects end users with community experts, developers and technical specialists to get help at all stages of the app lifecycle, enabling quicker time to resolution through unique peer-to-peer support and by revealing software-level issues in development, testing and production phases," the company said in a statement yesterday.
The company's approach entails embedding library code within apps to help support people -- professionals or community volunteers -- see the inner workings of a mobile app, which typically runs in a sandbox that masks many details. Developers can instrument their apps for logging and data collection and add a UI workflow that lets users request help from within an app. Right now, the WebRTC-based functionality works only on iOS apps, through Android support is promised to be coming.
With the built-in support code, developers or other help personnel can actually see the same thing a struggling user sees and talk to that user during the help call, with data such as logs and changes to an embedded database available to aid in the troubleshooting.
The platform provides APIs for functions such as logging, opening a help ticket, browsing databases, sharing screens, gathering system information and more. A sample app on GitHub demonstrates such APIs.
"RevTwo is making help available to app users everywhere, providing a low-cost, infinitely scalable, in-app platform, packaged so today's developers can deliver innovative support solutions and business models," a company video says. "The RevTwo mission is to connect app users directly with the help they need, immediately, and in the way that works best for them. Developers can use RevTwo for free, with developer support through testing and community support for production."
The free developer support helps coders find problems at the software level, the company said, which helps to pinpoint the root causes of those problems quicker.
While the company publicizes some casual support scenarios -- such as a gamer connecting with other gamers to overcome an in-game obstacle -- it also features more enterprise-oriented functionality.
"For high-value consumer offerings and mission-critical enterprise apps, RevTwo offers help desk support, by connecting tech specialists, content experts and developers directly with end users requesting assistance via in-app video, audio and screen share," the company said. "Users get quick results to their issues while support professionals see problems as they happen on a specific device, ultimately shortening support timeframes, reducing help desk ticket volumes and maximizing a company's support experience. The integrated help workflow is designed to provide quick support, whenever and wherever it's needed, reducing the risk of app abandonment."
The Boston-based start-up said its help system will combat app abandonment, citing statistics that show only 16 percent of users will continue to try an app after it fails two times, while an estimated 80 to 90 percent of apps are deleted after one use.
"At today's speed of app development, support is almost always an afterthought, something tacked on long after a release, or often, never included," said Dale Calder, co-founder and CEO. "At RevTwo, we're disrupting that model and putting support and human connection at the center of development and the app experience. We founded RevTwo on the belief that fast, easy support is a universal right -- and need -- for end users of any technology."
David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.