What’s the funniest review you’ve ever seen on Yelp? My personal favorite is when I saw a review for an All-You-Can-Eat sushi restaurant that complained that their kid ate just a bit too much sushi and let’s just say there were consequences. The review blamed the restaurant for charging consumers if they wasted food and this forced the child to binge eat raw fish until the breaking point. If only I knew I could blame others for my own poor decision making…
Reviews are make or break for a lot of different companies, big or small. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small, family-run sushi restaurant or a massive financial services brand. Reviews matter.
Consumers have multiple avenues to review a company. Google reviews and Yelp give the option to review a company-wide level, Amazon has product-specific reviews for every product offered, and the App Store lets consumers review brands’ apps. According to Inc, 84% of consumers trust online reviews from a stranger as much as a recommendation from their friend. There’s a lot of power behind those quick snippets.
And it’s not just products consumers review. While the sushi-binge was certainly not the restaurant’s fault, it was an experience that was included in the review. Banks won’t just be reviewed on their savings account offerings, but their customer service too. The refund policy is fair game for retail while reclining chairs in movie theaters are just as important as the movie quality. Experience is everything.
And when experience is so heavily valued, reviewers will discuss everything, and we mean everything. Each interaction a consumer has with a brand, from an app session to a customer service call, shopping in person to account management on your website—everything will be considered. And some interactions may be coincidences that are completely out of a brand’s control, just like at the sushi restaurant.
Being able to review is not a meritocracy. Anyone can review and, just like the sushi example, some of the bad reviews won’t always be your brand’s fault. From our experience, if you’re looking to increase your Apple and Google Play Store reviews, it’s important to consider these tips when you’re prompting customers to review your app.
Timing is everything
We have found that with certain types of apps, negative reviews may stem from results that are not the brand’s fault. Take an app that trades stocks. We noticed that a lot of negative reviews would pour in after a bad trade. Not the app’s fault, but the sour taste in the customer’s mouth from a bad trade on their part resulted in a negative review on their app. Sometimes the review was prompted after a negative trade and that further led to negative reviews.
We built a strategy with a financial services app to only send an in-app message prompting a review after a positive yield trade was completed. By conditioning the app to only send the pop-up message to when the customer would feel happiest, customers were both more inclined to review, and to do so positively. Positive reviews came soaring in.
There are plenty of types of apps where strategic timing on when you prompt your users to review your app could incline them to actually do so, and to do so positively. Consider these—
Timing doesn’t only have to be when a user makes money though. There are plenty of indicators for your users who prefer your mobile app to other channels. Pretend you’re an entertainment venue like a movie theater. Sending prompts to users with a high threshold of app sessions and ticket purchases would indicate movie-lovers who prefer to interact through mobile devices instead of your website or in-person. Sending the prompt to users who prefer the mobile channel will likely lean towards more positive reviews.
Or what about when you shouldn’t send them a prompt? Similar to the stocking trading example above, there are times to not send them. For the financial app, make sure to not send the prompt when a user lost money on a trade. Or let’s say your app is retail focused. You wouldn’t want to send a prompt if there was a delay in shipping or a problem with their order.
Determining when you send a message to your customers can make or break your end-goal. Every single message sent to your users needs to have a strategy behind what time you send it, who it’s being sent to, what’s being sent, etc. If your end-goal is to get people to review your app, and especially positively, thinking of these variables will help increase your success.
The example may sound niche, but there are plenty of examples of when your customers will be more inclined to give you a positive review. Let’s say your app helps customers book hotels—how about when they recently left a hotel a good review. If your app is an e-commerce, the best time may be after a product delivered on time or ahead of schedule.
There are so many opportunities for an app to send a message to a user, over 86,000 options a day. Choosing the right one will help you achieve your goals more efficiently. If your goal is to increase your app rating with a large volume of positive reviews, timing could be everything.
Don’t fall victim to an upset customer rating your app. Instead, pinpoint the best time to reach out to a happy customer! With more and better ratings, you’ll likely find more app downloads, and with more app downloads, you’ve found more opportunities at revenue.