Distribution through app marketplaces is the key weapon now in every app developers distribution arsenal. And nothing helps your presence in a marketplace more than a bunch of positive, high quality reviews written by users who love your product.
Our product GrexIt has been on the Google Apps marketplace for around 18 months, and we realized the value of reviews on influencing users’ decision to try out an app soon after we went live on the apps marketplace. Since Google Apps is used by business users, it is very important to establish credibility before a serious user will try out your app.
Business users value their time, and it is fairly hard to get such users to write good quality reviews for you. As programmers, our first approach to solving this problem was to send automatic emails to users at certain events requesting them to write a review – we tried automated emails at various levels of activation and on upgrade to our paid plans. This approach failed miserably.
And that led us to our most important learning for getting users to review us.
Ask for a review personally, and ask at the right time
Automated emails don’t work. Human interactions do. It was not hard for us to see that a user would happily write a good quality review if they’d had a good human interaction with a member of our team.
For instance, a user who got personalized help from us in setting up their account was very likely to write us a review after GrexIt starting working as expected for them. So what we needed was to create positive human interactions with our users which solved a real problem for them.
It is easy to see that quick, efficient customer support would be the key way to create positive interactions with customers. It indeed was for us, but more about that later. Lets first talk about how we used our Free Plan to get our users to review us.
Putting your Free Plan to work to get reviews
We found that users on the Free Plan were way more likely to write a review than paying customers. The key was asking them at the right time.
At GrexIt, we don’t automatically move a user on Trial to the Free Plan at the end of the trial. We send them an automated email asking them if they want to continue on the Free Plan, and move them to the Free Plan immediately on hearing back from them.
This creates a human interaction between us and the user, and leaves the user happy being able to continue using the product. Requests for reviews just after we have moved a user to the Free Plan have a great success rate!
The importance of speed in customer support
Everyone says they provide awesome customer support. But what does it really mean? For us, it meant instantaneous. We threw all advice about email discipline to the wind, and would monitor our inboxes every 30 minutes to see if there were any new customer support requests.
We resolved almost all support requests within an hour. We routed all user phone calls to all our phone numbers, and made sure we pick up a call even when it came at 3 AM in the morning. And if there was a chat message through Olark, we dropped whatever we were doing to attend to it.
When you do high quality customer support, users easily see it because most companies suck at customer support. And when they feel cared for, they’d happily write you a review. We asked for a review every time we resolved an irritating problem a user was facing, and we got a review almost every time.
Other than speed, there has been another thing which has helped us get a lot of our users to review us.
Being flexible about trial period and pricing
A 30 day trial period is not enough for a lot of Business users. In many cases, there are multiple stake-holders involved within the company, and the approval to buy a new tool has to move through multiple levels. We realized this early on, and we started offering trial period extensions proactively to users.
We could very easily see that when offered a trial period extension, many users opted for it, while not offering an extension meant a dead-end as very few users asked for it by themselves. Offering to extend the trial period showed our users that we cared, and again, created a positive human interaction between us and the user.
We have adopted a similar flexible approach with pricing too. Some of our users with small teams do not need unlimited shared labels, and we have been very prompt in offering a discount to them against a limit on the number of shared labels. It has always translated into a great review!
Broadly, our strategy has been being genuinely helpful, prompt and extremely flexible. And it has worked wonders in getting users to say great things about our product. We hope you can use these tips too to build an amazing app marketplace presence for your product.
Article on: The Social Media Hat, 7 mei 2013
By: Niraj Ranjan Rout
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