Low ratings and bad reviews on the App Store or Google Play Store can really become a drag on your mobile product’s success. And often, it’s not even your product’s fault—it’s just that people unhappy with their experience for any reason are more likely to leave a crummy review than users who enjoy it.
But what if you could take control of your app store ratings and make sure they send your app to the top of the charts? The team at real estate platform CINC did, and all it took was some creativity with Pendo for Mobile’s in-app guidance.
A 180-degree turn with one quick guide
One of CINC’s core offerings is a mobile customer relationship management app called CINCAgent for real estate agents to manage their business on the go. But Joshua Lowe, product manager for mobile apps, noticed that the app’s ratings were much lower than their competitors.
“We only had 75 total ratings, and our scores were pretty low—around 3.3 out of five stars on iOS and 3.8 on Android,” Lowe said. This was becoming a real thorn in CINC’s sales teams’ side.
Lowe knew there were plenty of agents out there who were happily using the app to help close deals, but they weren’t the ones who were motivated to go to the App Store or Google Play Store and leave a review. Those who were, unfortunately, were the disgruntled clients who couldn’t find solutions to one technical problem or another. Rather than simply reaching out to CINC’s support team to see if the problem could be addressed, they marched over to the app stores and left one-star reviews and unhelpful comments.
Lowe was positive he could improve the situation if he could find a way to convince the satisfied users to leave their own positive reviews.
So, he set a goal to push ratings above 4 stars and decided to use Pendo in-app messaging to reach out directly to users, targeting those who had been on the platform for at least 90 days and completed specific tasks. Those users were served up a guide on the home page, right after they logged in, asking for feedback. Those who left positive feedback were encouraged to leave a review on the app stores, while those who left negative reviews Lowe contacted directly or diverted to the support team so they could get the help they needed.
“We noticed a lot of the negative feedback had nothing to do with the app but still led to bad reviews, and when we got feedback that was specific to the app, I could reach out to those clients and find out more information about what was going on to try to help their situation,” Lowe said.
Now, the app has nearly 600 total reviews on the Apple App Store and boasts a 4.7-star rating—that’s a full star and a half increase. Ratings on Android, meanwhile, have jumped to 4.0. (Nearly 80% of CINCAgent users are on iOS, Lowe noted.)
“Our team was very happy. We’re now able to say we have the highest-rated app in the industry,” Lowe said. “Now, we own the story versus negative reviews owning the story.”
His new goal is to reach 1,000 reviews and a 4.8-star rating on iOS.
Leveraging guides and data without relying on developers
For Lowe, the best part of his entire experience with Pendo so far has been being able to build and deploy guides, and analyze usage data in real time, without any assistance from development teams or having to release a new app version. He has every bit of data available to pull up retroactively from the time Pendo was installed.
Other solutions Lowe has used didn’t have both of those capabilities, requiring the team to patch together solutions to make it work. “Pendo was an all-in-one solution that we could easily deploy to everyone, and it was the easiest thing to deploy,” said Product Marketing Manager Emily Bishop.
“The biggest thing was being able to know which pages and which features are most used, and being able to do that by myself,” Lowe said. “Finding developer time, especially when you have a small team, is really hard. I could go in and tag everything, and that was great.”
Not having to involve developers and engineers also means those teams can focus on more important things. “Do you want your devs to spend time writing code for a third party SDK, or do you want them writing code for some bugs and features that will really help our clients?” he said.
Customer health scores
Having Pendo on the mobile app has also helped the CINC team increase the depth of their customer health scoring process. Prior to Pendo for Mobile, the score only reflected users on their web apps. But, many of their users only use the mobile app.
The team was able to get a holistic view by integrating Pendo for Mobile with Salesforce and feeding mobile usage data into their model. That way, the Client Services team has deeper insight into what’s driving customers to renew or what’s causing them to churn, and can proactively address issues no matter which app they are using.
“It was critical for Client Services to have all of that data to make sure, ‘Hey, these are the people that are doing well. These are the people that are at risk because they’re not using any one of our applications,’ said Bishop.
The team soon plans to start using Pendo’s Product Engagement Score and Core Events features to get an even deeper understanding of customer health and product success, Bishop said.
Communication, compliance, and marketing with in-app messaging
The CINC team has since expanded their use of in-app messaging to solve for a variety of needs, from encouraging users to upgrade app versions to boosting webinar attendance.
Lowe said his team will soon begin putting Pendo to use on their consumer-facing mobile app, which allows homebuyers to search for listings. Many homebuyers still use older devices or versions of operating systems, which can be difficult to develop for and keep bug-free.
Pendo data will show the team which users have these outdated technologies, and in-app guides will be targeted at them to educate them on why updating their equipment or software will provide a better experience.
This same tactic has been useful for informing subsets of users about critical updates that they need to install. Occasionally, Lowe will make the guide undismissable so that users can’t continue working in the app until the fix is applied.
Pendo guides have been a popular solution not just on the product team, but throughout the entire org for communicating with customers. Real estate agents are on-the-go sorts of people, meeting clients for showings or holding open houses, and they can be tough to get in touch with via email.
Pendo in-app guides let CINC’s marketing team deliver important messages and announcements inside the mobile app the agents are using all day long. They’ve also used it to collect testimonials and success stories from users, and to boost webinar registration and attendance.
Segmenting users by role, behavior, and other criteria also helps ensure only relevant messaging reaches the right users, rather than blasting the same message out to everyone on the platform, whether it’s useful or not.
In-app messaging has become so popular, in fact, that the marketing team has had to become the gatekeeper of Pendo use to ensure there’s proper governance around what does and doesn’t get pushed out. “Everyone wants to use it,” said Jamie Quenzer, VP of marketing and sales operations. “It’s been a secret weapon in delivering important messages and events to our clients.”