At SEP, we care a lot about keeping the end users of mobile apps happy. Over the years, we've learned several lessons (some the hard way) that lead to 5 star apps. Think getting your app to the app store was the hard part? Think again! Here are 5 ways to make sure your app earns 5-star reviews.
1. Make it easy for your customers to interact with you
One of the coolest features we've added to our apps is a service called Intercom. It provides a chat feature that makes it easy for your customers to get ahold of you. It’s a great way to have conversations with you customers instead of just “closing tickets”. Intercom allows you to onboard new customers, retain them via push notifications, and re-engage customers who are slipping away. You can try it out for 14 days for free.
2. Release to a small segment first
Your continuous integration build is green, all of your unit tests are passing, and you have tested everything. You launch your app and you suddenly see several crashes that you didn’t catch in your testing. The real world is a wild place and it is difficult to replicate some cases in a testing environment. By releasing to a smaller group (we suggest approximately 10% of your customers) first, you can catch issues before your entire customer base encounters them. You can never test too much!
For help testing Android apps, check out Android Beta Testing.
For help testing iOS apps, check out TestFlight.
3. Validate your feature ideas
If you haven’t read The Lean Startup, you should. The book recommends treating ideas as hypotheses and trying to validate them as quickly as possible. It explains how to do this using a Build->Measure->Learn development cycle. We always think we know what our customers want. But after investments of time and money, we often find out that we were wrong. Make smaller bets by validating your ideas early and often!
One way to expedite this cycle is to use prototyping. Our designers and product managers really love Invision. You can quickly build prototypes, download them to a phone and do some quick user testing to get feedback.
4. Track crashes/exceptions
Nothing is more frustrating to users than when your app crashes. As developers, we know mobile is a very dynamic platform and you have to keep up with OS changes. There are several options for monitoring crashes, but the two we've used the most are New Relic and Google Analytics.
5. Monitor your reviews
Last but certainly not least, you need to stay on top of reviews from your customers. Telescope, an app review monitor, collects all of your reviews from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store and displays them on one platform.
Here is an example of three reviews of Snapchat:
Telescope allows you to see where your customers are having problems with your app. It’s a great place to collect feature requests too. Telescope also has a notification system which can send review notifications to email and Slack.