In our last post, we discussed why positive reviews and ratings in the app stores matter (hint: it’s about more than just looking good). But how do you go about gathering these positive reviews? And, an equally important question: how do you continue to gather constructive feedback while keeping not-so-nice reviews out of the stores?
How to get 5-star reviews
Just ask for them!
No, seriously, how do I get 5-star reviews?
I’m serious too! (Assuming you built a great app, of course…)
Surely as an app user, you’ve seen a dialog like this:
They’re everywhere, and as a user you can’t avoid them. The reason why? They actually work. In a big way. The chance of users flocking to the app store on their own volition to discuss how amazing your app performs is pretty low. Sure, that happens every now and again, but why wait? If you want lots of reviews, prompt your users. You can find these dialogs already built for you in tools like Appirater. Crittercism even has a tool built into their SDK for this functionality out of the box.
If you’re not a fan of the standard dialog, you can still be creative about the experience. Prompt your users in a unique way, build it into your app’s natural flow so it’s not a jarring experience. Most importantly, always make sure to wait at least 5-7 days after they installed your app before asking. If they’re still using your app after a week, chances are: a) they like it, since it’s still on their phone b) they’ll probably give a high rating if they choose to rate and c) they’ll be less irritated by the prompt since your app has already proven its value.
Mix it up
As with everything in your app, you should continue tweaking the experience until you find the right combination. In this case, which flow will get you the most positive reviews? Consider the following dialogs:
Notice the variations in text, button placement and options. The fourth dialog actually acts as a filter – if the user selects It could be better, they’re taken to a support channel rather than the app store. Also, interestingly enough, you’ll generally have more success when the messaging explicitly asks for 5-stars rather than simply rate us. It seems to help turn strange reviews like this into higher star ratings:
LOVE the app, it’s perfect in every way! 4 stars?????
Don’t hesitate to go even further, tweaking attributes like how many days to wait before prompting users, the design of the dialog, how it ‘fits’ into your app. A great rating mechanism can make all the difference.
How to limit negative reviews
Bad reviews will happen, it’s just part of being an app developer. Instead of throwing in the towel at the first bad review, take it with a grain of salt and see if there is something to be learned from it. The last thing you want to see, however, is a performance-related 1-star review:
There are tools like Crittercism available for this very reason. As a developer, you can’t possibly test everything under every imaginable scenario – and bugs will slip through the cracks. The key is to fix them as soon as possible, without having to wait for users to tell you what happened. Having Crittercism SDK will give you crash and performance alerts in real time, allowing you to fix any new issues and keep your user experience smooth for everyone.
Gathering less-than-awesome feedback
Getting positive ratings are great, but they don’t necessarily help you improve your app. Sometimes the users who are most critical of your app can bring issues or new ideas to light, but you probably don’t want to find out about these via a 2-star review.
It’s a good idea to always have a support channel directly within the app so frustrated users can vent (I personally enjoy Uservoice). This keeps complaints and issues on a private channel between you and the user – and even allows you to follow up with them directly to solve their issues.
Oftentimes, a positive support experience will yield a shining review in the app store – so once you’re able to solve a user’s problem or build their suggested feature, reach back out to them and ask for some support in the form of a review!
There are lots of ways to gather feedback as an app developer, the trick is finding the ways thatwork best for your app. As a user, you can start to get the feel for what works and what doesn’t, or maybe even draw some new inspiration from other developers. Let us know which techniques you use on Twitter @Crittercism, and we’ll follow up with a few more tips in our next Office Hours.
To see the full discussion from last week’s Office Hours, including a more in-depth look at the user feedback loop, check out our YouTube Channel.