Whether we are choosing a hotel or an app, most of us like to look at ratings or customer reviews online before we buy. This is hardly surprising as they help to build trust and are influencing our shopping behavior more and more. Customer ratings are generally more trusted than information that the provider puts out there themselves. For many customers, they are just as valuable as a personal recommendation.
Building trust with customer reviews
68 per cent of consumers read more than four customer reviews before deciding to trust a business, according to a 2017 study conducted by BrightLocal. In fact, the average consumer initially reads seven reviews before they trust a business – up from six in the previous year.
Customers are also getting more demanding: 48 per cent of consumers now expect at least a four-star rating, up from just 28 per cent in 2015. The reliability of a rating corresponds to the total number of ratings. On average, consumers expect 34 reviews before trusting the star rating.
Experienced app providers know that the trust factor plays a very important role, especially in e commerce. They use direct customer feedback to boost app downloads and benefit from increased conversion rates. By contrast, customers view apps with no or few ratings with suspicion, unless the app is totally new. Is nobody interested in the app? Or does it perhaps come from a dubious source? Apps with no or only very few ratings typically do not get many downloads. It’s a vicious circle, with low download figures limiting the number of reviews.
Even in app marketing, honesty is the best policy
Right from the launch of an app, successful providers rely on a marketing plan to boost recognition, downloads and, of course, ratings. Buying in ratings and downloads via an agency might seem like an easy option, but cannot be recommended under any circumstances. As well as avoiding repercussions, honest customer ratings give the provider an excellent source of information for analyzing their app in terms of both content and functionality. Customer ratings serve as a reliable guide to help sustain development going forward. Only developers who respond to customer requests and continually improve their offer will survive in the app market.
What does this mean for B2B e commerce apps?
Users of B2B e commerce apps are usually already customers before they start using a provider’s app and are therefore familiar with the provider and what they have to offer. In such cases, the main aim is to ensure customers use the app on a long-term basis, rather than reverting to previous ordering methods like e-mail or fax. The app must therefore clearly offer added value compared to the conventional ordering system and give users reasons to keep coming back. To boost recognition and to communicate the app’s benefits, it is essential to use marketing tools such as videos about the app, information in customer mailings, and loyalty schemes.
Providers should never shy away from requesting customer feedback directly. User reviews give the provider insights into how customers perceive the e-commerce app and which aspects are in need of optimization. Comments about functionality and user friendliness are of particular interest in terms of technical development. What are the app’s availability and speed like? Is the search function efficient enough? How smooth is the ordering process? Does the customer find anything lacking? These and other questions help in the analysis of various aspects and provide a guide for the e commerce app’s continued evolution. In practice, many providers are not yet making use of the great potential inherent in customer reviews. They are therefore not yet leveraging this opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition.
- Always examine customer reviews of your app with a critical eye. They will help you to better understand both your app and your customers.
- Analyze ways in which you can optimize content and functionality on an ongoing basis.
- Maintain contact with your app users.
- Reply to comments, especially in cases where you can point out improvements and issues that have been resolved.
- See feedback as an incentive to include new features and innovations in your next app release.
- Use the feedback platform to engage in direct and ongoing dialog with your customers.
- Show that you value your customers by focusing on their needs and demonstrating that support requests are acted on.
- Do not use generic phrases such as “We are improving our app all the time.”
- Respect your customers’ time and willingness to engage by looking into their concerns and personalizing your reply.