Brand reputation, closing the feedback loop, and you.

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Olivia Doboaca
Brand reputation, closing the feedback loop, and you.

Table of Content:

  1. Understanding mobile app reputation
  2. Approaching brand reputation the right way
  3. On maturity
  4. Advice on managing brand reputation
  5. Afterword
  6. FAQ
    • Does mobile brand reputation affect conversion rates?
    • What is needed to manage mobile app reputation?
    • What does closing the feedback loop mean in brand management?

Once again we held a tremendously insightful webinar dedicated to closing the feedback loop. Jeannie Zaemes (Senior Director of Growth Marketing at Alchemer), Robi Ganguly (Founder & General Manager at Alchemer), and our own Jonny Davies (Head of CX at AppFollow) took part in the conversation.

Discover the expert insights discussed during the webinar in digestible form, and why improving brand reputation is all about being there for the user when it counts the most.

Understanding mobile app reputation

Your app in the App Store is like a restaurant on the High Street with live reviews. This influences whether you choose it or not. Mobile app reputation starts on the review page—-aiming for a four-star rate or above increases download chances. It's not just about aesthetics. You have to factor in how customers journey through your app, the content, and response efforts. Reputation requires transparency, authenticity, and consistency.

The rising cost of digital advertising makes focusing on mobile reputation, handling feedback and reviews, and user attention and overall customer experience more important than ever. The pandemic greatly shook things up, with brand marketing defining the success of an app in an overcrowded space.

When you are in an overcrowded space, surrounded by tons of other apps like yours, what drives the customer’s choice, is again, ratings. It's a public thing that leads to results, but it's not the only measure of how customers feel about the brand.

To understand what your brand means to the users, you have to get into the practice of talking to customers privately, asking them about your brand, your mobile app, and the connected experience. It’s a digital experience connected to a physical experience.

Moving from monitoring public reviews to going beneath the surface, proactively soliciting feedback about moments in time paints a picture of why people feel the way they do. Building a company with a system around understanding all the picture pieces gets into brand reputation from the mobile app store reputation.

Approaching brand reputation the right way

The first step is moving from having an app to monitoring it actively. The next step is responding in the app stores. This shows you can close the loop with customers, telling them what you're doing about their problem. Once you're responding, it naturally leads to others in the company caring about what customers are saying, and becoming proactive. 

This movement gets more of the team focused on customer problems and proactive solutions, using tools like surveys to gather feedback and iterate around customer problems, pain points, and needs.

You've gone from just monitoring what people say to responding in public stores to shifting internal processes to be more proactive. The goal is to close the loop with customers before they've said anything publicly. Ideally, you're so proactive that the only public comments are about how excellent you are. This journey can take years, involving changes in processes, systems, and behaviors.

On maturity

Maturity is proactively listening to customers and closing the loop with them before they need to publicly report problems. Closing the loop is critical, creating an enlightening experience with the brand when done proactively.

It's about building muscle and treating reputation management as a discipline, something you train and get better at. Like any reputational thing, it's multi-dimensional, works in different ways, and takes time. As you get further up the maturity curve, it's more reliant on the culture of the business, the mindset, how it thinks about its users, uses data, and humanizes insights.


There's a danger of getting swamped in data, but the best brands are the ones that can see through that and focus on insights, action, and the feedback loop.

You want to hit 100% of replies because you don't have many and it's a good thing to do, plus you're learning. It's a manual approach, not using a tool, doing this natively within the app stores, and not automating reply coverage.

There are reviews safe to automate, like great feedback. Reviews can be emotionally charged. If needs haven't been met or there's been a glitch, money lost, or a poor experience, they'll let you know. You still want to respond 100%, automate good five-star reviews, remove bad stuff like foul language or irrelevant content, and focus on reviews that could cause damage. Around 25% automated, getting more systematic, creating a culture of insight beyond just reviews.

The power of AppFollow and the customer stories is where there's an intersection between customers finding efficiency gains in workflow and this initiative leading to a reputational increase. 

Kakao Games was looking to cool down the engine of all these reviews for their popular game Guardian Tales. They harnessed automation and integrated it into ZenDesk, so their teams didn't have to use multiple tools. They could get to reviews, segment them, tag them, and close the time to reply loop. They had alerts for rating changes, spikes in reviews, and featured reviews.

Kakao Games has something called a reply effect, which is important at AppFollow. The process of having fast, meaningful replies, automated or carefully crafted, led to around 60% of first-time reviewers changing their reviews. It creates an emotional connection.

Thus, Kakao Games saw a one to one-and-a-half point star improvement over a year, driving their app's average total rating up by about half a point. Achieving efficiency and through that, reputational gain.

After all, a brand is the promise you make to your customer.

Every human interaction, every digital interaction, every interaction as they walk into a store or facility, is part of this holistic view of your overall brand. Your app is a critical part of that.

Advice on managing brand reputation

If you're an app-only business, your app is your brand. Protect that asset by managing reviews well. To leverage this for overall brand reputation, use your user reviews as reference points. Promote positive reviews in your marketing literature, website, and anywhere you promote what you do.

User-generated content is important to show the authentic voice of the user, not just the corporate voice. Collaborate with influencers, if applicable, for organic promotions on social channels. Customer stories humanize your brand, show you're listening, care, and foster a sense of community around your app.

A more sophisticated approach is to look through positive reviews and feedback, find themes that people are attracted to, and use that for targeted advertising. You have targeting capabilities through platforms like Google and Facebook. You can take messages from customers and deliver them right to the right prospective customers who see that as a solution to their problem.

Get sophisticated around the problems you're solving for customers and market against them.

Cultural philosophy and behavioral change are the biggest obstacles to great ongoing brand management. If your company views feedback as a hot potato, that's a problem to address. Ownership of feedback often starts with marketing or product marketing, then moves to product for long-term changes. When both teams see the problem the same way and benefit from listening to customers, philosophy shifts. There's no easy answer to changing philosophy, but multiple teams should have the tools to make sense of it and do their jobs better.

Afterword

Brand reputation will make or break your app’s journey to success. Watch the entire webinar to learn more insights into managing reviews and ensure your app remains at a stellar rating of 4.5+.

FAQ

Does mobile brand reputation affect conversion rates?

App users often rely on ratings and feedback when choosing apps. High ratings, typically four stars or above, increase an app's download rates. The overall user experience, including app functionality, content relevance, and response to user feedback, are key components in shaping an app's reputation.

What is needed to manage mobile app reputation?

Monitoring and responding to reviews in app stores shows customers that their feedback is valued. The focus should be on preventing issues before they arise. Surveys help in understanding customer pain points. The ultimate goal is to create a cycle where the brand is so attuned to its customers that public comments are overwhelmingly positive.

What does closing the feedback loop mean in brand management?

Closing the feedback loop involves listening to customer feedback and communicating back to the customer. Address concerns before they escalate elsewhere.



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