3 Quick & Easy Ways to Boost App Ratings
Ratings and reviews can massively influence whether a user opts to download your app. They can also help you, as an app developer, or brand, know how to continually improve your app.
Based on my own personal experience, working at Fashion Retailer, Next, I want to share a few ways in which you can improve your app ratings and reviews.
1. Don't Just Read Your App Reviews, Act On Them
A user has taken time out of their precious day, to leave feedback for your app, so make time during your busy working day, to read what they have to say. Not only that - encourage your colleagues and superiors, to do the same.
App feedback is worth its weight in gold. It gives everybody in the Business, an understanding of what's currently working well, and where areas of improvement need to be made, from the perspective of those that matter most - your app users. It's also a great way to identify bugs, crashes and other such usability issues, you may otherwise have never known about, or deemed to be a problem.
At Next, our Mobile Dev Team have created a dedicated channel on group messaging app, Slack, to receive notification of new app reviews, as they hit the App Store. It enables our Developers to keep tabs on any new issues they need to further investigate and address, as well as understand what our app users are crying out for, by way of new functionality.
Reading reviews is all well and good, but you also need to act on them - and fast! Fortnightly app updates, now seem to be the norm for most major organisations, so there is an expectation among users, for change to be bought about quickly. The more rapid the rate of response to acting on app feedback, the more likely the individuals(s) that originally requested the change, are to want to use your app again.
2. Fix the Crashes, First
Not so long ago, our iPhone app, had a 2.5 star rating. Our current release, now has a 4.5 star rating, based on 76 reviews. So what did we do, to turn things around? We fixed a whole host of crashing issues - that's it. No UI changes, or new features introduced. We just targeted the recurring annoyance, referenced in the negative reviews by our app users - app crashing. In light of these fixes, our iPhone app currently has a crash-free rating of 99.5%.
There are a few tools out there to help identify when your app is crashing, and the reasons for it; however, I thoroughly recommend getting set up with Crashlytics.
Another piece of advice, is to always test ahead of major upgrades to iOS and Android, such as the recent release of iOS 10. Sign up to download the Dev or Beta version of the operating system upgrade, ahead of its public release. That way, you can pre-empt where the crashes are, fix them, and release an app update, to prevent the likelihood of your app users encountering them.
3. When It Comes to Asking for App Feedback, Timing is Key
Prompting the user to give feedback on their experience in using the app, after just a couple of minutes of opening it for the very first time, is a seriously dumb move. Give them chance to explore the app and everything it has to offer, then ask for their feedback.
Think about the user journey and the points at which the user is most likely to be satisfied, or in a positive state of mind. For a retail app, this is likely to be at the point they have just completed their order. So, why not ask them then? It's a lot less disruptive than asking them midway through making a purchase.
Further-still, asking a user at the point of completing their second order using the app, increases the likelihood of a positive review. Things must have gone well first time round, for them to want to come back and place that second order.
Whilst the above advice, might not necessarily benefit apps across all sectors and industry verticals, it's at least worth knowing. If nothing else, regularly read your app reviews and share / escalate user feedback to the powers that be, internally. It's then up to them to make the right decision. All it takes, is that one opportunity to demonstrate that the return on investment of acting on direct, user feedback, far outweighs the cost associated with making the change.