Five Ways to Avoid Bad App Reviews

The best way to avoid bad app reviews is simply to plan. A set of bad reviews for a mobile app can seriously undermine the chances of your client’s app succeeding. People are simply less likely to download something with a low average rating, and it’s both difficult and time-consuming to push the ratings back up once a number of poor reviews already exist.

It doesn’t help that apps for almost everything are so readily available. Users lose patience very quickly and don’t hesitate to move on and try something different to meet their needs.

It also makes little distinction if the app in question is free; Whether or not it’s completely fair, people can be just as savage about free apps as those they’ve paid money for. Therefore, ensuring reviews are solid is equally important for both free and commercial apps.

But it’s OK, you’re there to help your client deliver that awesome app and equally awesome in app experience for downloaders. So, what can you do to help your clients minimize their chances of bad app reviews?

Thankfully there’s plenty you can suggest to help:

Testing = Good.  Testing Paralysis = Bad

Testing Paralysis is a condition where you just don’t know if your app is ready, so you keep testing and testing and testing. You want perfection, you don’t want to risk bad reviews and you know you only have one crack at getting it right. Well the reality is that no app is borne perfect first time. There will always be things that just don’t work as you expect. But that’s OK. It’s about striking a balance between getting your app out there and learning from real users experiences and making if function well so the user experience is awesome. Learning and Refining is the way to go. But, and it’s a big but, make sure that the core features and functions of your app, the things that you expect users to get most value from, are up to scratch.

The key way to make sure an app makes the grade is really understand your Product MVP, and with that they most important features of your app and then test these as extensively as possible.  The defining with your client what’s really really important within the app and the pre-release testing phase are some of the most important parts of the development cycle. Testing carefully against the MVP in particular should never be treated as a superficial part of the process.

With all this in mind, when you are planning the project make sure you avoid project crunch, and if you need to crunch, make sure that testing isn’t the first thing to go.

Make Sure App Users Know What to Expect

Sometimes, poor app reviews are less about fundamental problems with the app and more about users misunderstanding what to expect from it.

It’s therefore imperative to build in ways to ensure app users have realistic expectations. This begins with the store descriptions, but also involves including useful introductory pop-ups that explain how the app works, and easy access to concise documentation so people learn what they’re doing before losing heart and ranting in a review.

Take a look at these App Store readiness guides for more useful information about getting this right for iOS and Android.

Also video overviews are becoming increasingly used and are powerful ways to get the essence of the App across, so downloaders will know what to expect from the app. We can help show you how it’s done, just get in touch and ask about our App Explainer Videos.

It essential to encourage clients to step back from their own knowledge of their app and their business and see things through the eyes of someone expecting the app to solve a specific problem. “Oh, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work” should never be a reaction to a bad app review. If it is, an opportunity’s been missed to properly inform the user. One way to really dig into that with clients it so ask the right questions up front. Here’s the 20 most important questions to answer up front with your clients.

Keep Communication Open With Users

One way to avoid bad app reviews is to actively encourage contact if downloaders are struggling to make the app work as they need.

If downloaders are, for example, proactively and politely persuaded to contact a support team who will efficiently help them, this could stop bad reviews in their tracks. In fact getting this bit right turns doubters into fans instantly.

It’s also worth noting that while app producers have a “right to reply” to bad reviews in the Google Play Store, this is a little like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, because not that many people are likely to retract a bad review.

Test. Test and – yes – Test

Yes, this refers back to testing, but it’s important enough to warrant a mention of its own.

It’s especially relevant to Android apps, because the huge number of device and operating system options can frequently throw up unexpected anomalies. However, it’s still important with iOS too, as there are plenty of iPhone and iPad variations out there.

Realistically, you won’t be able to arrange for your client to test on every device out there, but the general rule should be that the app should be tried out on as many device types and screen formats as possible.

Don’t Rush

It’s hard to beat the natural inclination to get the app “out the door” and into the store.

In fairness, clients and developers often have an equal sense of haste regarding this. The clients want to see their app on the virtual shelves as soon as possible, and developers often need to free themselves up for the next project.

However, an app launch delayed by a couple of weeks that results in decent reviews is always preferable to a rushed launch resulting in a nasty average rating in the app stores.

Urgency to sign off is often self-inflicted, so it’s worth considering if there’s really any commercial damage that will be done by delaying until final issues are ironed out. This is one situation when good things come to those who wait.

Avoid Bad App Reviews

Hopefully these tips will help avoid bad app reviews. Some are inevitable, as some people are simply impossible to please – but many are easily avoided. Poor public perception of an app reflects on the developer and the client alike, so it’s essential that everything possible is done to avoid it.