We’ve all had it happen.

You open an app, start using it, and right when you’re in the middle of things, the app crashes. Interrupting what you were doing, wasting your time, and providing a frustrating experience.

When that happens in a user’s favorite app, they probably shrug it off. After all, they use the app all the time, get a lot of value from using it, and these issues rarely happen. But a crash can be a lot more fraught for other apps. Most people spend 80% of their app time in their personal top three apps—so if your app falls into that other 20% for a user, a crash could be a serious problem. After all, if they haven’t made a habit of using your app yet, that crash might be the main thing they remember, making it less likely that they return.

Ideally, your app would never crash. But that’s just not a realistic outcome. Bugs happen. Crashes are going to occur. And that means you need to have a strategy in place that lets you respond effectively when a crash does happen. Here’s what that looks like:

1. Monitor app crashes and other in-app issues in real time

Responding effectively to an app crash requires data. You can’t address the reasons behind the crash or communicate intelligently with affected customers if you aren’t aware that a crash happened. That means it’s essential to ensure you have the tools you need to monitor and record crashes and other in-app issues as they happen.

2. Segment customers based on whether they experienced a recent crash

While some crashes may affect all users, many only impact a subset of the people using your app. By automatically segmenting your post-crash messages so they’re only sent to people who actually experienced a crash, you can communicate directly with people who had an issue without cluttering your other users’ inboxes or notification centers.

3. Automatically trigger customer outreach following a crash

Sending customers a timely message right after a crash demonstrates that your brand is responsive and thoughtful to users’ negative experiences. Sending a message days or weeks later, however, can feel like too-little too-late, reinforcing the impression that your brand is dragging your heels. To avoid that kind of delay, marketers can automatically trigger messages whenever customers experience a crash, ensuring timely, relevant outreach.

An example of a push notification sent to users after a crash.

4. Use personalization and deep linking to make your post-crash messaging more effective

When you’re communicating with users who have gone through an app crash, there are two things that you’re likely looking to achieve: first, to get more insight into the crash, and, second, to communicate to them that you care about the negative experience they had with your app. In both cases, you probably want to encourage users to engage with the message you send, whether by filling out a short survey providing details about the crash or by accepting a discount or other gift that you offer as a compensation or apology.

You can increase the chances that affected users take action by individually customizing messages to include user names and other relevant details. This kind of personalization increases conversions by 27%, making your post-crash messages more effective. And by using deep linking to send customers directly from these messages to your app or website’s crash survey page, instead of relying on customers to find their way to those sections on their own, you can improve the post-crash user experience and increase the chances that they provide the information you need.

Final thoughts

To respond effectively to app crashes, the right strategy is essential—but executing on that strategy is difficult if you don’t have the right tools. That means making sure you have a marketing automation platform and an app performance solution that can work together effectively.

In order to make that sort of coordination easier, Appboy has partnered with Apteligent to allow marketers to build responsive, personalized campaigns triggered by in-app crashes. For more information on how that integration works and how it can bolster your post-crash engagement strategy, check out our documentation.

Todd Grennan is the senior content producer at Appboy. When he’s not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention, and emerging technologies for Appboy, you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.