3 Ways to Improve Mobile App Scores

By Kelly Street

As mobile banking continues to expand and evolve, mobile app ratings are one of the most important factors driving consumer discovery and conversation. According to an Apptentive study, 79 percent of consumers check ratings and reviews before downloading an app and 53 percent check before updating an app.

Industry benchmarks show that jumping from 2 to 3 stars can effectively increase app store conversion by over 300 percent, while moving from 3 to 4 stars increases conversion by 92 percent. For banks interested in driving adoption of mobile banking services, investing in boosting mobile app scores can clearly deliver dividends.

While certain factors such as having up-to-date and user-friendly technology or having responsive and well-equipped customer service teams are givens for achieving high app scores, there are other marketing-driven factors that can impact app scores.

Mobile apps are a primary channel for customer interaction, and effective management and marketing play a critical role in the customer experience. Here are three ways marketers can directly impact mobile app scores:

  1. Responding to reviews

By their very nature, service-related apps can attract more negative reviews than non-service or gaming apps, due in part to the essential role service apps play in people’s lives—and the expectation that these apps should work 100 percent of the time. Consumers take any interaction with their bank very seriously and any obstacle to accessing their account or performing critical financial functions can be a source of frustration. Very often, that frustration is then expressed in the form of a negative review.

While it’s not possible to completely prevent negative reviews, it is well within a bank’s power to limit their impact by identifying potentially damaging reviews and responding quickly. Users appreciate replies and have shown a tendency to limit negative reviews once they see an institution demonstrate willingness to:

  • Acknowledge feedback. Very often, customers just want to know that their bank is listening and taking their concern seriously. This sets the tone for a positive resolution.
  • Include resolution information. This next step shows customers that the initial response was sincere and that the bank is invested in addressing their concerns.
  • Request a new review. Once the issue has been resolved and the customer is satisfied, request the customer re-review and re-rate the app. Customers are more likely to give a more positive review once their concerns have been satisfactorily resolved.
  1. Inviting reviews

People are significantly more likely to leave a positive rating or review when asked. That said, it is critical to make the request strategically. One of the most advantageous times to request a review is after a positive interaction with a customer.

For example, banks that consistently offer positive call center experiences can follow up with an email or text message encouraging customers to rate the app. Banks can also utilize face-to-face interactions—such as branch visits—to invite feedback in the form of reviews and app scores, as these represent an opportunity to build rapport with customers.

It is worth noting that banks should be cautious with how often they ask for reviews. A good rule of thumb is no more than three times a year.

  1. Resetting app store ratings

Refreshing app store ratings is one way to improve scores, but this should be used sparingly. For example, if an app score is lower than 3.5 stars and there are a limited number of reviews, resetting can be a viable strategy, as both low scores and limited reviews often discourage customers from downloading the app.

This strategy makes the most sense when aligned with an app update that includes improved functionality or new features. This offers the opportunity to kick start the app score process with a new set of scores, leading to a higher rating.

App scores have a significant impact on attracting new mobile banking users, retaining current customers and growing loyalty. Banks should manage ratings just like any other customer service channel. By addressing feedback, strategically asking for reviews and taking advantage of updates, banks can ensure that their app scores accurately reflect the experience their technology enables.

Kelly Street is director of consumer marketing at Fiserv, a financial services technology firm based in Brookfield, Wis.