Steps to Take Before and After a Mobile App Update
Two weeks after your team’s app update launches, your boss stops by your desk to share some bad news: App store ratings have plummeted from five-stars to three-stars and new download volume has decreased 25 percent. On top of that, they’re seeing negative reviews flood into the app store, specifically highlighting some of the key updates your team just released. Customers are uninstalling the app right and left. Now what?
All of this could have been avoided if you had taken the steps we’ve outlined below. We can’t promise customers will love every update or change you make to your app, but we know these strategies will help you understand what your customers actually want, intercept negative feedback before it’s public, and capitalize on the people who do like the changes.
Steps to Take Before an App Update
How do you inform your product roadmap? Hopefully, customer feedback is a core component. If you’re gathering feedback and using that to help make product decisions, customers will be more receptive when you make changes.
1. Survey Customers to Determine Areas of Improvement
Create an in-app survey to help you understand what your customers need and want. Keep it short and be sure to leave room for open-ended feedback. Before making any major changes or adding anything drastic to your product roadmap, make sure the survey responses are statistically significant. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is making decisions based on feedback from a small portion of your customers. You need a more holistic view that represents the majority of your customers in order to make informed decisions.
2. Create a Baseline for Satisfaction
Measure satisfaction initially to serve as a benchmark for the future. You’ll be able to see any changes in customer happiness much easier when you have this to compare and contrast. You can take a baseline for a specific feature/area or focus on overall satisfaction. Regardless, it will help you have a better understanding of your cohorts and identify sentiment shifts easier.
Here are some specific metrics to measure and compare:
- Rating changes
- Retention changes
- Satisfaction score changes
- Rating changes
- Feedback on functionality
- Product leadership
- Changes in feedback sentiment
3. Notify Customers About Upcoming Changes
Don’t let your updates catch customers off-guard. Let them know what to expect and how to prepare. Announcing these changes not only helps prepare them, but it can create hype and get people excited. Reach out separately and close the loop with people who gave constructive feedback. Let them know if the changes are a reflection of their feedback and if not, why.
4. Introduce or Tease New Features
When the update goes live, make sure you clearly highlight the changes. This will promote usage and help with overall navigation. Consider using deep linking to promote adoption, as well. Ultimately, the more informed and comfortable your customers are with the updates, the more accepting and receptive they’ll be to change.
Steps to Take After an App Update
1. Remeasure Satisfaction Against Your Benchmark
Send out the exact same baseline survey to your customers after the changes launch. This will give you a side-by-side comparison of happiness before and after the update. If satisfaction stays the same or increases, you’re in the clear. If satisfaction decreases, something went wrong in the update; maybe you removed a feature everyone loved or updated the UI to be less intuitive. Regardless, it’s important to identify these shifts in sentiment and uncover the root cause so you can take reparative action.
2. Distribute a Survey about Specific Changes
It’s also important to gain feedback on specific features or changes. Surveying customers with questions like, “How easy is the new feature to navigate?” will help you determine the effectiveness of your updates. If people are unhappy or unsatisfied, that’s your opportunity to intercept their negativity before they make it known to the whole world in an app store. Use disgruntled survey answers as a chance to convert a detractor to a fan by chatting one-on-one.
3. Continue Iterating and Learning
Depending on what feedback you get, you could have no major repairs to implement or you might have significant changes to reverse. Regardless of the satisfaction result, it’s important to keep iterating based on feedback. As time goes on, you’ll get more unique and diverse perspectives from customers that help you have a better understanding of your product, and therefore a more informed product roadmap.
“Customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experiences.” – Peter Kriss, Harvard Business Review
All in all, a continuous feedback loop is critical to understanding shifts in sentiment and satisfaction as a result of an app update. By benchmarking your app before the update, you’re able to clearly understand changes in emotion and customer happiness.
Get started improving your customer experience with Apptentive today.