Great app store reviews are a cornerstone of getting your app noticed by users, featured in the app store, and transformed into a business. Unfortunately, many customers also provide negative feedback in the app store, which decreases visibility even after you fix the problem. How do you maintain steady good reviews after spending most of your budget on development? Tophatch's Ben Merrill--the Maker of Concepts app--describes how he started improving his customer reviews within a day.

This interview is about:

  • Encouraging better app store reviews with proven tools and strategies
  • Making informed product decisions that drive acquisition
  • Providing a more engaging app experience that promotes evangelism

What is the customer service philosophy at TopHatch?

Concepts is a young product, and anytime someone cares enough to write in and shape it, we're thrilled. We value their time and think a quick, personal response is the only way to show our appreciation. Good service is just not negotiable; we serve a broad and varied market of designers, architects, educators and many others, and hearing what each group needs is critical. We also believe in getting our hands dirty, which means everyone here talks to the customer, no matter what their normal job is. As a result, everyone is grounded with the needs of the user and we make more informed decisions.

Why did your company decide to switch from email support to our in-app messaging for Concepts app?

It's the classic horror story. We started with a generic contact form on our support page, which would submit responses to a database and then alert us whenever a message came in. Then one day, right before Christmas, we were doing some maintenance and discovered over 175 messages from the last month that hadn't been delivered! Within a day we found - and implemented - Helpshift.

image1Which Helpshift feature is most useful for your app's goals?

It's a toss up between the FAQ and the in-app contact form + push notifications. Our customers certainly know what they want, though. We recently got this comment: "I loooovvee your new "Ask Us Anything" feature. It's so refreshing to know you're close by in the rare event I get stuck. Thanks for your awesome app, and for being there!" Mission accomplished.

Have you seen improvements in retention or engagement since switching to in-app help?

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While we have seen slight improvements in session frequency and length, the real benefit for us has been seen in app review quantity and quality. When prompted, many people are happy to leave that all-important review, but only once they've had a more personal - and positive - experience with our company.

Do you have any stories to share about an awesome customer interaction?

Lately, we've been approached by several schools that are using Concepts to teach Math, Science, Design, and even Architecture to kids in grades 5-8. One of them sent pics of a dozen kids huddled over their iPads, diving into their work before the teacher could even give the instruction. Talk about inspiring!

Visualize your next big idea with the Concepts app for iPad.
Don't negotiate good service--find product evangelists with a free consultation from Helpshift.

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