The success of any consumer oriented product fully depends on its customers, and mobile apps are no exception. It’s up to a user to decide whether to download an app and let it stay on his or her smartphone.
Users shape the core functionality of your app, refine the UX, and outline your business model. In my article «Building a mobile startup that makes money» I already talked about why listening to your users could mean life or death for your product. Gathering user feedback and mobile app reviews in App Store and Google Play is what we’ll talk about this time.
What you need to know about users
By asking users for feedback and reviews, app developers are actually pursuing two goals — getting insight on what can be improved, and trying to boost their app’s rating. Neither of these goals is within your reach unless you know how to communicate with your users. Here is what you need to know to get reviews for your app:
- There are two types of users — talkative and non-talkative. Neither is perfect. The talkative type provides feedback, but may also be demanding, which leads to negative reviews on both app stores. The non-talkative type hardly ever gives any feedback, let alone reviews unless he or she is approached correctly.
- Every time a customer closes an app may be the last time they use it. That’s why finding the right time to ask for feedback or review is essential.
- Users don’t like to waste time. They probably won’t go to the FAQ page on your website, even if you beg them to. A feedback function should be an integrated part of your app — easy to reach and quick to interact with. However, if you do have a promo website for your app, make sure to take advantage of this channel for user feedback as well.
- Users don’t like to be interrupted in the middle of their experience. You need to be careful with pop-up strategies when trying to get more app reviews.
- Users may get angry and leave a poor rating simply because you annoyed them by asking for reviews too often and too insistently.
How should I get app reviews and ask for feedback?
Clearly, users are fickle when it comes to feedback. But there are still several methods you can employ:
— A «Send feedback» function built into the app
Placing a «send us your feedback», or «contact us», or «tell us what you think», or «rate us» function inside the app is a common practice most app developers use. But quite often users ignore this button simply because nobody asked them to use it. If you’re working hard on improving your app’s rating and functionality, it makes sense to elaborate a more effective approach.
Pop-ups usually exist to boost an app’s rating, and can even bring good results. However, there is a huge drawback to this method — instead of giving users a choice, pop-ups require interaction and interrupt user experience. This may result in negative reviews and a poor rating, even if you don’t show pop-ups to every single user. Pop-ups irritate people, especially when they appear on the screen every time a user opens the app.
— Natively integrated feedback forms
According to Matt Galligan, a co-founder of the Circa News app, you should ask for feedback as natively as you possibly can. This means that all components for gathering reviews should be custom-built. Unlike pop-ups, integrated forms give user a choice — they can either skip them or interact with them. What is more, integrated forms look native and don’t irritate users. This method is perfect for any app which contains feeds — social, news, dating — but can also be used with other types of apps. In a shopping app, for instance, an integrated form can be placed after a successfully completed purchase.
Circa places an integrated rating form in the middle of a user’s news feed. The form contains a simple question «Are you enjoying Circa?» If the answer is «Yes», the user gets the question «Would you like to rate us?». Tapping «Not really», presents a user with a request to leave feedback.
— Instant messaging
Already familiar when it comes to websites, an instant real-time messaging window can also be embedded into your mobile app. Letting users reach out to developers in real time can lead to fewer one-star reviews in the first place. You can either develop this feature yourself or integrate an SDK. For example, Helpshift, for example, lets app developers communicate directly with users for a price, ranging from $20 to $500 per month. The company argues that embedding its service into existing apps can help reduce churn by about 40 percent.
Surveys are a good way to understand how to improve your app’s functionality. The questions should provide a few possible answers to simplify user experience and may relate to new features, as well as existing functionality. Surveys are usually integrated with a third party service, like Apptentive. Read about mobile app surveys here.
Read also: App development process in Yalantis
When should I ask for app review?
John Gruber, a popular blogger, suggests that if you do ask for review directly, you should do it only once: «No customer should be asked to rate an app twice — it’s like that clueless waiter asking a customer to tip twice.»
Since you only have one chance to ask for review, you need to find the right time. As I mentioned in the beginning, the goal of the feedback strategy is not only to find out what people think, but also to get a good review for the App Store or Google Play. Therefore, it’s best if you ask for a review when a user has successfully accomplished an intended task within your app, or has become somewhat loyal, judging by the number of sessions over a certain period of time.
Circa asks for review only after the app has been opened at least 10 times over the course of three days. They believe a loyal user is most likely to reward the app with five stars.
The app HotelTonight follows the same strategy. They ask for a review only after a user’s had a successful experience booking a room.
Users of the to-do and reminders app Clear will receive a «rate this app» request a few weeks after the download and only if they cleared all the remaining tasks from their list.
The function «send feedback» is just like any other feature in your app. It should be tested, improved, and enhanced. Guess who will help you do that? Users, of course. User feedback is a golden compass that guides you all the way to success. I hope this compass always points you in the right direction.