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Helpshift’s Review Analytics gives a thorough, actionable breakdown of what people say about your product in the app store. You now have the ability to transform feedback into a solid product development and marketing strategy at scale. Every week we’ll provide data-driven insights for an app based on its publicly available user ratings.

Tumblr has a global average review score of 3.0 on iOS, excluding ratings without a review attached. How can such a large app increase their average score effectively? How can they regain some of their churned customers?

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In the two weeks from April 9th to April 23rd, 40% of Tumblr’s reviews have been 3 stars or below. Pushing a single bad update will result in a spike of bad reviews, but having consistent bad reviews over time means that there are lingering concerns with some of Tumblr’s standard features. Let’s figure out where the problem lies by checking what customers ask Tumblr to “please improve”:

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Many customers (including the two examples) complain about Tumblr’s loading times when experiencing content. In a good example of brand trust, one customer left a 5 star review but noted that they hope Tumblr “can fix it to run smoother soon.” Another customer says that they will always love Tumblr before leaving a 2-star review that asks “please improve on what needs to be improved and add things later.”

Repairing current features is generally a better retention tactic than adding new features or content. Customers who feel their complaints have been met with a real update are 2x more likely to stick around. In contrast, anything that causes consistent bad reviews will churn customers and therefore deflate the reach of new updates. 44% of mobile app users say they would delete an app immediately if it crashes, while 32% would tell a friend how bad it is. Customers are both churning from the app and actively telling others not to download it.

In the long term, Tumblr could attain better reviews by iterating their product with a battle-tested method that successful apps use after launch. What Tumblr should do immediately is discover where users crash by analyzing app reviews. Reviews have feedback from churned users as well–get the details on what happened to make them leave, so that you can bring them back. 46% of app store reviews are actually product feedback that you can measure.

When you search “Crash”, the review analytics dashboard fills up with reviews from today alone:

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All of these suffering users enjoyed the app before it crashed, which means they are likely willing to return if you engage with them to solve the problem. How could Tumblr reengage customers that have deleted their app? Try using an omnichannel support tool built made for mobile apps.

The advantage of omnichannel support is that your customers can get help regardless of the medium they want to use. Mobile users prefer mobile-first experiences, but going omnichannel also enables you to reduce negative reviews even when your mobile app crashes. Microsoft’s Outlook (formerly Acompli) used omnichannel FAQs to intercept bad reviews from beta to acquisition for $200M. Currently Tumblr does have a web FAQ, but it’s not built to inform customers when something new goes wrong. Tips on reblogging and permissions will annoy a user who wants to find out why the app is crashing. Thus they turn to leaving an app store review.

Forrester found that to really succeed with omnichannel support, you must focus on delivering a unified experience. Think about your help in terms of “touchpoints”–when will a customer need your web knowledge base instead of your mobile one? Where would you want a customer to go when the app crashes? It’s an advantage when updating your mobile knowledge base also updates your web knowledge base at the same time. Tumblr will benefit from letting users know about crashes wherever they are.

  • 40% of Tumblr’s reviews were less than 3 stars for two weeks straight. When bad reviews come in consistently rather than in a spike, look for existing features that need to be tweaked by analyzing app reviews.
  • Tumblr should focus specifically on what makes users churn. Searching the terms “crash” and “delete” within their reviews are a good start.
  • Having an omnichannel support tool is essential to handle crashes, because you’ll need a web page that syncs with your mobile page when addressing an issue. Customers will stay informed even when the app is down for maintenance or is deleted.

Improving your mobile app reliably is all about data-driven feedback. We’re happy to help. To get a free ratings breakdown, contact me at devin@helpshift.com.

Published May 11, 2015
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