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How 5 Top Travel Apps Collect Customer Feedback

Ashley Sefferman  //  February 28, 2019  //  6 min read

Travelers are on-the-go by definition, and apps in the Travel category face a unique set of challenges for engaging with and listening to their customers. Because travel happens in real-time, these brands must be constantly available to listen and respond to customer needs, challenges, itinerary changes, and most importantly, changing sentiment.

From travel planning and geolocation, to weather forecasting and translations, there are plenty of must-have features apps in the Travel category should offer. But above everything else, providing an easy, proactive way to gather (and act on) feedback from customers using the app is key to success.

Let’s look at five strategies top apps in the Travel category implement to listen to their customers, which help them deepen customer loyalty and increase #customerlove.

5 ways top travel apps collect customer feedback

1. Surveys

While there are lots of ways to listen to customers, mobile surveys are among the most effective. Surveying your app customers is a great way to find out more about who they are, what drives them back to your app, how they feel about your app, and what they’d like improved. You can gather thousands of responses in a short amount of time, allowing you to make data-driven decisions faster than ever.

Unlike traditional survey methods that happen via email or the Web, in-app surveys allow you to target your customers without making them leave their in-app experience, at the optimal time and place. But if your survey is full of poorly written questions that discourage customer participation, the benefits aren’t as profound.

There are plenty of best practices to lean on when creating a mobile survey, including limiting survey questions, targeting the correct audience, triggering the survey at the right place and time, and allowing for open-ended feedback. Take Intercontinental Hotels Group’s survey below, for example. IHG’s survey questions are short and to-the-point, and allows the customer to remain in the app to share their thoughts, which removes the concern of disrupting their experience in order to gather their feedback.

Intercontinental Hotels Group’s survey

2. In-app messages

The opportunity to connect with customers has never been greater than when you’re in their pockets. In-app messaging allows you to turn your app into a communication channel, particularly when you provide the ability to send and receive two-way messages. These messages help you gather feedback, solve customer problems, and stay on the pulse of customer sentiment.

In-app messages makes it easy for you to hear about problems before they make it to the app store and respond to customers with two-way conversations. You are able to get to the bottom of the problem and build relationships with your customers in-app support—again, without ever asking them to disrupt their experience by leaving the app.

Let’s take Airbnb as an example. Airbnb provides a place within their app for customers to leave feedback or to report a bug, which is a great start. However, they don’t provide the ability to respond to learn more about the issue, or to close the loop by letting customers know when their product feedback has been implemented. Although one-way in-app messaging is a great starting point, it’s a missed opportunity to deepen the relationship with customers who provide feedback through this channel.

Airbnb in-app messaging

3. Ratings and reviews

Through industry changes like iOS 11’s new ratings prompt, app publishers have had to get smarter about how the encourage ratings and reviews in the context of new ratings limitations, and a big piece of getting ahead is finding the right time, right place, and right person to communicate with in-app.

At Apptentive, we don’t really think about ratings and reviews except in the context of what you know about your customers, which works best by starting conversations in order to understand how they feel. Obviously ratings and reviews still matter quite a bit when it comes to downloads, but a major missed opportunity for brands is to understand the “why” behind the feedback and to follow up accordingly.

Many top travel apps have caught onto this sentiment and have started asking for ratings and reviews with a simple question: Does your customer love you? It is crucial to understand whether or not your customer loves your brand, loves your app, and loves the experience so you can make sure their feedback goes to the right place: either to the app store or directly to you so you can provide a solution.

Take JetBlue for example. If a JetBlue customer answers “Yes,” they follow up with plenty of engagement opportunities, including the chance to receive positive ratings and reviews in the app stores. JetBlue also now has the broader ability to focus on how to learn from customers who love them, which is much more gratifying than a myopic focus on ratings.

JetBlue Love Dialog

4. Social media channels

Having an active, engaging social media presence is a fantastic way for customers to connect with brands in the Travel category wherever they are, whenever they need to. It’s also a great way for brands to promote new app features customers may be interested in, and to deepen relationships with their fans.

For example, take this amazing testimony from a happy customer of HotelTonight. The customer takes a moment to rave about a less-popular feature within the app, the Concierge Service HotelTonight provides. HotelTonight then takes the opportunity to not only respond to the positive comments, but to share more about the feature for others who may be curious. It also helped that this particular happy customer has a large Twitter following of their own, which helped spread the review to a new audience of potential customers. Win-win!

5. In-app engagement

What are your customers telling you, but without really telling you? In most cases, you can understand sentiment by looking at customer activity within you app—and sometimes it’s the best feedback you’ll receive.

Let’s take a look at Bird, the dockless scooter-share company. The Bird app offers a robust FAQ section within their app that provides short answers to popular customer questions. Although the channel may look static, it’s actually a great place for Bird to gather and act on customer feedback based on how customers are using the information.

Bird in-app engagement

For instance, if the FAQ section has a 0:07 average on-page time and an awful bounce rate, there is a part of the experience that is not being properly communicated as customers are visiting the support content but are not utilizing it. Another area for feedback is digging into each question to see which is the most popular, and thinking about how to make the answer more obvious in the onboarding process for new customers. When it comes to gleaning insight from this “silent” form of customer feedback, the sky’s the limit.

Why customer feedback matters

In recent years, mobile has skyrocketed to the top, replacing desktops as the most used digital channel for the first time in 2016. The sudden relevance of mobile platforms has surfaced gaps in our understanding of the role it plays in asking for and gathering customer feedback, a recent study from Apptentive shows.

Today’s mobile consumer has incredibly high expectations of the brands they spend their time and money with. Consumers realize they are not beholden to brands as options arise across the ever-expanding Travel market, and brands have begun listening to customers to help drive their product roadmaps, and ultimately, to drive success through loyalty.

Additionally, many brands struggle to gather customer feedback in proactive, non-intrusive ways, feedback typically comes from the smallest, most vocal group of customers. Many brands today may think they build products around their customers based on feedback from a majority, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Our data shows that brands only hear from less than 1% of their customer base, which we call the “vocal minority.”

Vocal Minority, Silent Majority

Ultimately, the main takeaway for apps in the Travel category is to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to customer feedback. The best apps in the business are your competition, and many have already begun to pull ahead. But it’s not too late to integrate the tactics above into your strategy in order to provide a more seamless, customer-centric mobile experience.

Of course, Apptentive would love to help you bridge the gap in your mobile customer feedback strategy, but we want to understand your needs to see where we can be of service, even if it means pointing you in a different direction. Get in touch to let us help, or leave your thoughts in the comments below for us to get a conversation going.

About Ashley Sefferman

Ashley Sefferman is Director of Marketing at Apptentive. A digital communication and content strategy enthusiast, she writes about multichannel engagement strategies, customer communication, and making the digital world a better place for people. Follow Ashley on Twitter at @ashseff.
View all posts by Ashley Sefferman >

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