Advocacy, collaboration, and more: 5 Key Takeaways from Grindr

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Olivia Doboaca
Advocacy, collaboration, and more: 5 Key Takeaways from Grindr

Table of Content:

  1. Key takeaway 1: Focus on collecting feedback everywhere you can
  2. Key takeaway 2: Collaborate with other teams to gain more insights into sentiment changes
  3. Key takeaway 3: Be open to any kind of feedback, as it means a lot to people
  4. Key takeaway 4: Make sure critical feedback reaches the right people in your team
  5. Key takeaway 5: Leverage feedback to increase user retention

User feedback comes in many forms, such as surveys; interviews; and usability testing. This plays a significant role in helping our teams stay both humble and receptive to new ideas.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jeffrey King, the Community Advocate at Grindr, about the power of user feedback. During our discussion, we explored active and passive user feedback forms. Jeffrey spends much time listening to users and hearing their issues and concerns. He works on an individual level to help solve specific problems and look at feedback trends to provide solutions that work for everyone.

Jeffrey's role is vital in ensuring that Grindr continues to provide a service that remains relevant and worthwhile for people to use.

"Every role I've done has been about feedback and providing a service that people want to continue using."

At AppFollow, we couldn't agree more with the importance of customer feedback. Incorporating user feedback into the product development process is essential in building something that truly meets the needs of our customers. By building, measuring, and learning from user feedback, we can work towards optimal solutions, ultimately leading to customer satisfaction.

We're excited to have had the opportunity to speak with Jeffrey about the power of user feedback and learn more about his work as Grindr’s Community Advocate. Here’s what we learned.

Key takeaway 1: Focus on collecting feedback everywhere you can

App reviews are great for gauging sentiment and figuring out what's causing a drop or a rise in the rating. While positive reviews are ideal, it can be useful for a business to see a drop in reviews, as it can help identify any latent issues with the app in question. In some cases, drops can be due to factors like outages or other problems that can happen in tech.

In the past, Jeffrey mentions, Grindr has identified the situation or topic that has caused the most frustration for their user base. They have also seen the one that has made them very happy in the past. Jeffrey believes both changes to be equally important, saying: “Whenever there's been a change in the rating - positive or negative - focusing on these changes can often result in quick wins.”

Review ratings are also crucial to Grindr’s online presence, even though they're usually lower - people are generally more likely to voice their displeasure than their satisfaction. Jeffrey believes listening to and understanding both kinds of customer reviews are important to building Grindr’s community presence, commenting that feedback on what people like or dislike is where the app improves. We know that ​​77% of people read at least one review before downloading an app, with 100% of users browsing the stores that discover an app will see the average rating.

Often, companies focus on low-rated reviews and try to turn things around, which has the dual effect of improving the rating and making the customer happy in the process. Here at AppFollow, we help many of our clients do the very same thing, and for a good reason: apps with a 4-star rating and lower lose up to half of their potential downloads.

Grindr gets between 150 and 200 daily reviews - every one of which he and his team read through. For him, this is a boon to community engagement. On reading these reviews, he says: “It really helps give us at least a baseline of what people are talking about, what they have been talking about, and how that changes. Sometimes in slight ways, but sometimes in meaningful ways.”

Grindr’s community advocacy for users does not stop at reading app store reviews - users often take to active online forums such as Reddit to discuss their experiences with the app. Jeffrey and his team have relished the opportunity to hear a broader range of opinions and experiences.

“Most of the time people are having a positive experience, but also sometimes they may not be. It’s good for us to hear those stories as well, because that’s where a lot of the real improvement happens.”

Using a tool called User Voice, the Community Advocate team can read contributed ideas from users, which are shared not only to give feedback but to troubleshoot existing issues users may have with Grindr. The task of assessing user feedback may seem to some a never-ending task, but to Jeffrey, it is a fascinating endeavor. In his opinion, within the approximately 1500 ideas contributed over the years, the different flavors of feedback are worthwhile - in his own words, “the good, the bad, the inquisitive, the funny - all of it is good.”

Naturally, every company aspires towards and relishes receiving positive feedback from its users - and Grindr is no different. Jeffrey reflected on the importance of seeing positive reviews - it reminds himself and the company at large of the positive impact of their platform. But for Jeffrey, this is not the way a company improves. For him, improvement comes from hearing things that perhaps people are not as happy with. His long-held belief is that collecting feedback and ensuring people are fulfilled by the experience the app promises to provide is crucial.

Jeffrey tells us, “of course, we want the good; we want to know the things that people love, but even more important are the things that people don't like or didn't land as well, or things that maybe people are unclear about.” For Jeffrey, this shows Grindr where they can improve and where they can clarify their vision. In this way, he says, it is how the app creates something people want to continue engaging with.

“Sometimes, as an organization, you may receive feedback that you may not want to hear, but it's important to listen and understand how your customers process and think about things. The goal is to know your customer base so that you can provide them with the best solutions possible”

Key takeaway 2: Collaborate with other teams to gain more insights into sentiment changes

When it comes to app reviews, it's important to keep things in context. While there may be a lot more customers using an app than leaving reviews for it, those reviews can still be valuable in terms of the sentiment they convey.

For example, if only a small percentage of users are regularly writing about a particular issue in their reviews, but that percentage grows significantly over the course of a month, that indicates that something is changing. At that point, the challenge then becomes figuring out why there is a change in the first place. Is it the result of something that the company has done, intentionally or otherwise? Or is it simply a reflection of broader trends in the dating world, or whichever industry the app is focused on? In order to answer those questions, it becomes important to consult and collaborate with a range of sources.

The customer experience team can be a valuable resource, as they may see similar support ticket patterns. Additionally, the company's trust and safety or content moderation teams may also be able to offer insights in this regard. In the interim, the user research and product teams can help clarify the issue in a broader context and determine its overall impact on the user experience.

Ultimately, the goal is to determine how much time and attention the issue deserves. Issues are still worth addressing, even if only affecting a small percentage of users. Still, the scale of the response will depend on how significant the problem is and its general effect on users.

Jeffrey mentioned that he and his team often get approached for collaboration with Grindr’s product team, looking to tap into their insights from the user community. Sometimes, the product team simply asks the community advocacy team to collect feedback. At the same time, in other instances, they want to talk to users who have had a particular experience or are passionate about a new idea.

Another aspect of Jeffrey’s job is to release a ‘Voice of Customer report,’ which provides insights on what people are talking about, hitting onto some aspects the company is thinking about. This report offers a channel for Grindr to hear about community issues and feedback anytime.

Key takeaway 3: Be open to any kind of feedback, as it means a lot to people

It is vital to Jeffrey and the company as a whole that Grindr be a safe space for people to be themselves: he considers it an honor that users feel comfortable and safe enough to share their experiences in public settings, such as app reviews and Reddit.

As a queer dating app, they are not blind to the challenges faced by queer people globally. As a result, they have made user feedback an absolute priority - to Jeffrey, ensuring queer people have safe spaces to be themselves and connect with others.

“Grindr is a dating app designed for queer people, and we often hear from individuals who live in countries where it is not accepted or safe to be queer. It's humbling to hear that our platform can provide solace and joy for those who may not have a safe space to be themselves. Regardless of how we identify, most of us want love and connection in some form.”

Jeffrey remarked that it had been great to receive feedback from appreciative users, grateful to have a platform where they can connect with others. He also noted that when users express their wish for certain quality-of-life features within the app, Grindr takes that feedback seriously. Ultimately, the goal is to help people connect more easily and better serve those who may not yet have found a safe space on the app.

Among the most affecting feedback to Jeffrey is that which reminds him that many people simply do not have safe spaces. The expression of vulnerability and desire to connect, he believes, is innately human - “we all want to experience joy and happiness, and it's an honor to be able to help facilitate that for our users.”

Key takeaway 4: Make sure critical feedback reaches the right people in your team

When it comes to feedback, it can be tempting to try and read everything that comes your way. However, for Jeffrey, it is important to prioritize how your attention is divided. In his team, users are dealt with individually- especially those with issues without clear or fair resolution.

Most of the community advocacy job involves analyzing bigger trends: what is being talked about; how users feel; there is something the team may have missed; has something actively changed making people feel strongly. Due to different cultures, beliefs, and values, the same thing may be discussed across several sources, only in differing ways.

In assessing trends more broadly, it is crucial for Jeffrey to determine what the base level needs are that require solutions and how essential these are to the functioning of the app.

Using a product roadmap, the community advocacy team provides feedback to the company in a way that helps create a better product. By opening up collaboration, Grindr ensures the relevant information gets back to the right departments.

“Our goal is to help create a better product that resonates with our users. We speak to users to get an understanding of what they want and need, and we ensure that their feedback gets back to the right people.”

Key takeaway 5: Leverage feedback to increase user retention

Since Jeffrey reads every app review, he constantly reviews feedback and observes trends regarding how users interact with Grindr. By his own admission, this has been a journey of self-improvement for Jeffrey, as he recognizes the need to take the feedback he gathers and communicate it effectively to other people. In looking at such a great amount of feedback, he understands what people are trying to achieve. While he may not see a situation or topic as an issue, he acknowledges that it may be a problem for a certain percentage of Grindr’s user base. Separating his personal opinion from what users are telling him is crucial.

“Sometimes, organizations need to remember that their customer base may be telling them something they don't necessarily want to hear, but it's still important to listen. The goal is to understand your customer base so that you can provide them with the tools they need to solve their problems.”

Overall, Jeffrey is aware of the importance of communicating with the user base and leaving behind preconceived notions about feedback. While important, it is just a piece of the overall puzzle. This is where collaboration is key to community advocacy.

“I need to talk to my other teammates who might be seeing something totally different or coming at it with a different perspective. I need to understand what I might be missing, which is usually something. It's important to share and be open to what we can do to solve the base-level issue.”

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