Customer feedback has a profound influence on the success or failure of your app. App ratings have been shown to impact search rankings in Apple’s App Store and on iOS, meaning that garnering quality feedback and reviews for your product is critical now more than ever. While it might be impossible to completely avoid negative reviews, responding to and addressing them in the appropriate manner goes a long way.
Managing Your Emotions
Robi Ganguly of Apptentive encourages app makers to view feedback “as an indication of care.” Given that the vast majority of app users likely won’t take the time to say anything at all, you should appreciate the input of those who do.
With this mind, Ganguly notes that it’s important to not argue with consumers. It’s natural to get defensive when you feel that something you’ve created is coming under attack. However, “In the world of customer service, this is a disaster — being on the opposite side of an issue with your customer results in antagonistic relationships rather than cooperative and collaborative ones.” Reigning in your emotional responses is crucial to the appropriate handling of negative feedback.
Ganguly advises app makers to acknowledge the validity of the consumer complaint: “By first communicating that the person who’s upset is valid in feeling upset, you can diffuse the tension.”
Saying Sorry and Making Customers Feel Special
Owning up to your errors in a sincere fashion goes a long way towards appeasing users and improving customer relations. But apologizing alone isn’t enough — app developers also need to correct their mistakes. Making an attempt to actively correct the problem demonstrates to app users that you truly care about their feedback.
“Taking the time to go the extra mile and take care of your customer in a way that resolves their issue or delivers them unexpected value is usually well worth the cost to you and your company,” writes Ganguly. It’s also important to let users know that the issue has been resolved with a short follow-up comment on feedback forums where the discourse with consumers is visible.
Apart from simply fixing the problem, Ganguly suggests that companies go above and beyond, offering users free credits for in-app purchases in response to negative feedback. This can pay dividends for app developers, in the form of satisfied customers passing on positive word about the company to others.
The Importance of Listening
Ganguly explains that above all, it’s important to truly listen to what the user has to say about everything from in-app features to pricing — and then make adjustments accordingly. “You might be surprised about what you learn as a result of truly listening and asking questions in order to deepen your understanding,” he writes. “You might find that a problem you’re completely unaware of is impacting the user experience.”
At the same time, it’s important to be able to distinguish between constructive feedback and comments left by trolls. Trolls can be addressed in a polite and professional fashion, but after a few responses it’s important to stop engaging and thereby discourage further unhelpful responses.
The Upside of Negative Feedback
If handled correctly, negative feedback can help your company create a better product, providing insight on what features to add or subtract, identifying bugs, and determining an appropriate price point. Responding to comments can strengthen company-consumer relations, giving users a sense of involvement and collaboration with your company and your product. Services like Helpshift and Apptentive can aid developers in interfacing with users in-app.
Learning how to leverage negative feedback is critical to any app’s success. Devise a plan of attack for dealing with customer feedback, and get started creating your own app with AppMakr: the original way to #makeanapp.
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