Closing the feedback loop: insights from App Mastery Connect 2023, part 1
Table of Content:
In AppFollow's App Mastery Connect 2023, "The Feedback Loop: Enhancing Apps, Ratings and Reputation with User Input" session taught developers how to actually use customer feedback to make their apps better and keep users hooked. We didn’t just talk about strategy but also dived into managing negative reviews.
Read this advice-packed recap article to learn why customer feedback is so important for keeping apps successful in the market.
Elevating your app in a user-centric market
A customer feedback loop is all about actively pulling in user feedback and actually using it to bolster customer relationships. Gather feedback, recognize its worth, and leverage it to better your product.
Scaling demands segmenting feedback due to the sheer volume of data. Reading all feedback isn’t realistic, so summarized, maybe even segmented, data management becomes a must, particularly for big companies.
It’s not just about collecting feedback but ensuring it gets to the right department. Tools and automation can steer feedback where it needs to go, making it a priority and ensuring it's dealt with effectively, which fuels a consistent system of listening and improving.
Companies differentiate the value of feedback from varied user types. Feedback from a seasoned player may be valued differently than a newbie’s. Don’t just collect user metadata like in-app purchases and time spent, but utilize integrations, like forming a Jira ticket, to prioritize feedback—e.g., giving more weight to insights from a high-value customer in the next sprint.
All feedback is valuable, but context is king.
Pivoting on clear communication, swift responses to feedback, and a real promise to make the user experience better will get you ahead—it’s a fact. Your app needs to be more than useful – it needs to embed itself as an indispensable, trustworthy tool in users’ lives.
The power of high star ratings
Star ratings tell more than just “this app works okay”; they tell stories of bugs, fixes, and how attentive the developers are. A big star rating drags in downloads because of the nearly universal belief: more stars mean more trust.
Your app store rating is undeniably yoked to how well you close the feedback loop. In the dense jungle of app marketplaces, users lean on satisfaction ratings to make picks. So, do the work: listen actively, reply to issues on platforms like Google Play or iTunes Store, and flip low-star reviews by proving you’re actually paying attention and not robotically responding. Doing this not only pumps up your app store rating but also drives up your downloads.
People are dissecting reviews before clicking download, often zeroing in on the bad ones to see how companies deal with problems. Solid, prompt customer service responses, even to poor reviews, show a company gives a damn and is on the ball with issue resolution, swaying people to interact with the app or company.
Here’s a little story that underlines why nodding to feedback matters: Hit a bug three times in a language learning app, gave them detailed feedback, and got nothing, not even a 'thanks' mail. Making users feel valued for their feedback is so simple, yet so few companies do it.
Closing the feedback loop
How crucial is customer feedback for a product’s longevity, and how does it weave into developing new features and products? AI review summaries can be a godsend for managing heaps of data and cutting through the fluff, letting you group feedback for the app’s future.
Depending on the feedback, product and engineering teams can adjust the roadmap accordingly. Some companies dare to use public roadmaps—it’s a gamble but it broadcasts a willingness to listen to users, and it’s lovely seeing apps evolve based on user feedback.
Your development roadmap should be crafted with feedback, yes, but align it with your company’s trajectory. Powerful as it is, feedback should be employed smartly, always in sync with current strategies and focus.
If the goal is clinging to marginal users, for instance, prioritize feedback that champions this over feedback that focuses on keeping the old guard. Customer feedback, roadmap development, and your feedback loop should perpetually be in harmony with both your current strategy and app market positioning.
When it comes to prioritizing feedback, it’s all about comprehension. But also, vet your feedback. Especially in a B2B context, decisions based on unchecked feedback from surveys or votes could send you down a rabbit hole.
Besides that, the post-COVID app scene has changed.
Users are picky and outspoken. They demand more than just a slick app; they want you to care about their needs. Your goal is to make them stick around by ensuring that their entire journey, from downloading to daily use, is worth their while. This means, actually hearing them out, understanding what bugs them, and making the necessary changes, fast.
Strategies for feedback management
Verifying feedback—quantitatively and qualitatively—is non-negotiable, and while B2B can harness qualitative data through conversations, B2C might not have that luxury.
Product development needs to be propped up by data pointing to both profitability and user satisfaction. Want to bring new features or services? Meld customer wants into a workable solution by actually talking to them. Make sure whatever you build serves the user effectively.
Respond to your client feedback even if you can't fix their issue right away. A ‘thank you’ isn’t just polite; it's smart business. Internally, you need a clear-cut process to sift through feedback, prioritize it, and figure out your next moves. While you can't (and shouldn’t) act on every piece of feedback, recognizing it and communicating clearly about it is non-negotiable.
Talking to users effectively is a game-changer in both B2B and B2C scenarios. Be transparent; let users know if and how their feedback is being used. That builds trust and can convert to loyalty and revenue.
Owning up to your decisions, explaining them, and updating users after changes or fixes shows you value their input. Being upfront, even when you screw up, boosts user satisfaction and strengthens the user-provider bond. Making customers feel valued doesn’t just maintain relationships; it can amplify them and polish your reputation. Moving forward, a strong user feedback system is a must, especially for rising products like MVPs.
Make sure your in-app feedback mechanism isn’t a maze, especially at launch. Recognize feedback promptly to prevent user frustration and potential exits. Beyond written feedback, opening up channels for direct dialogue, like calls, can unveil real insights into user-perceived versus anticipated value.
While letting users vote on features can be engaging, it’s vital to stick to your app’s core goals and roadmap before letting external inputs steer the ship. Ensure user-driven decisions don’t skew away from your core offerings and vision. Although iOS and Android are different beasts, the general principle of gathering and using feedback doesn’t discriminate between platforms, even though user experience and feedback nuances might pivot based on regional and demographic contexts.
Be cautious with user feature voting, particularly before your product-market fit is rock solid. Rolling out a ton of features, even if your core users back them, can spiral into technical headaches and future hurdles like having to rejig your app to support them all.
Before you launch, keep a keen eye on competitors using tools like AppFollow to sharpen your App Store Optimization strategy, deciding whether to tangle with similar keywords or carve out your own niche. After you launch, engaging with and responding to customer feedback is key. Tools like AppFollow can also help you manage feedback by letting you tag and track trends in issues or feature requests over time.
User loyalty is now arguably more vital than user acquisition in today's app development landscape. Listen to your users, seriously consider their feedback, and act on it if you want your app to succeed and provide a genuinely enjoyable user experience. Positive reviews aren’t just for show – they need to inform your development strategy to keep users happy and invested.
Negative reviews are a goldmine of user perspective. Prospective users are nosy. They dig through bad reviews to see if and how developers respond. Your response to criticism is a public display of your app’s user focus.
Go beyond usability and make your app an indispensable part of users’ digital routine through continuous engagement. Commit to enriching user experience so the app becomes a non-negotiable tool for them.