Launching is Only the Beginning

David Enarson | December 2, 2014 | Mobile App Development

One way Propelics works with Enterprise clients to build a comprehensive app portfolio is by facilitating focused ideation sessions in which we define key business drivers and actors while identifying and prioritizing functionality. Each app is further defined by a product roadmap—phased over several release cycles—that balances time-to-market with value.

But even after establishing an initial strategy, how do you ensure your apps remain aligned with employee and customer needs in an ever-evolving mobile landscape? Our recommended approach is to also develop a strategy for continuously gathering app feedback and analytics post-launch.

As you start to gather input be sure to organize information into the following categories:

  • Behavioral (Related to Business Goals)
  • Feature Request/Product Roadmap
  • Performance (Consistent Trends, Crashes, etc.)
  • Design/UX (Pros, Cons)
  • Support (Isolated, User-Specific Issues)

Three sources of feedback include: reviews, analytics and in-app feedback. You will achieve the most value by analyzing input from all three sources, then cross-referencing the data to develop a comprehensive assessment.

Reviews

Reviews typically consist of a star rating or like/dislike indicator as well as qualitative text-based feedback.

You can enable reviewing for your internal apps by delivering them via an Enterprise App Store such as Apperian. Within the app store, a review section lets employees Like or Dislike the app, and provides fields for writing a more detailed review.

reviews
For consumer facing apps, online tools such as App Annie aggregate a history of all reviews for your app by platform for iOS App Store, Google Play and Windows Phone.

Reviews are valuable because they can be mined for trends:

  • What features are in the highest demand?
  • Is one device more problematic than others (crashes, lags, etc.)?
  • Is a perceived problem a result of poor UX?
  • Are users displeased by the latest version release? Why?

As you analyze the reviews be sure to classify data into key categories so it can be cross-referenced with the additional feedback sources.

Analytics

Analytics can be used to implicitly gather feedback about how users are experiencing your app. Analytics are valuable because they capture the entire user-base by automatically collecting data without the need to prompt employees or customers.

analytics

Analytics are further divided into three types: lifecycle, performance, and behavioral.

  • Lifecycle analytics are broken into acquisition (installs), engagement (frequency of use, average session length, total sessions) and retention (active users/installs).
  • Performance analytics includes responsiveness, uptime, crashes, etc. Is anything technical getting in the way of the user’s experience?
  • Behavioral analytics capture key user actions and events that are tied to business goals. Each time a final goal is reached in a business sequence a conversion occurs.

Analytics can be implemented through the use of services such as Appcelerator, Flurry or Adobe Marketing Cloud App Analytics. For additional info about mobile analytics check out this Appcelerator white paper.

In-App Feedback

Another method of collecting information to improve the app experience is through in-app feedback. Today’s app users expect an easily accessible feedback mechanism.

in-app-feedback

For internal Enterprise apps, providing another input channel can increase feedback and provide the opportunity to route it appropriately, based on type. For public consumer facing apps, in-app feedback can be used as a mitigation strategy to gather negative feedback and respond to it before it appears in a public app store.

The difference between in-app feedback and reviews is in-app feedback is not displayed publicly, instead it is submitted to the company for review and analysis.

Companies such as ForeSee and OpinionLab provide mobile in-app feedback solutions. As an example, OpinionLab’s mobile feedback is integrated into the Bank of America app. It enables customers to provide a star rating, then submit free text feedback in one of the following categories: Report a Problem, Request a New Feature, Share Positive Feedback, Comment on Ease of Use, Other.

Categorization is critical so feedback can be properly routed. Due to the volume of feedback this isn’t a mechanism meant to facilitate responses. Rather, problems can be aggregated, categorized, and routed; Technical issues can receive visibility from support and development, while feature requests can be routed to the product team for potential inclusion in the product roadmap.

From Input to Insights to Action
Now you have the tools to gather the right info to improve your Enterprise apps. How do you turn this info into actionable insights?

Put a plan in place to review app feedback at intervals that make sense for your business. The shorter the better.

Analysis/Reporting

  • Categorize all the inputs: Behavioral, Feature, Performance, Design, Support
  • Analyze the info for trends
  • Report findings

Action Steps

  • Route the results to appropriate groups: Product, Development, Support
  • Incorporate highly requested feedback that aligns with business drivers into phases of the product roadmap
  • Triage and fix identified issues
  • Release an updated version of the app, and communicate the changes clearly

By considering the full spectrum of app feedback you evolve your mobile applications and delight employees and customers alike by specifically and proactively solving their needs. This approach can only result in increased positive feedback, engagement, and retention.

App development isn’t a prescriptive monologue but rather a dialogue you create with your app’s key audiences. The initial ideation sessions build a foundation for your mobile app roadmap, so long as you always keep in mind that employee/customer needs are constantly changing. To ensure consistent app relevance throughout the life cycle of your company’s application, always create and implement an effective app feedback strategy.

David Enarson

David Enarson is a Mobile Strategist at Propelics. He has experience leading mobile application initiatives in the Enterprise, specifically with sales force audiences. He has worked with well known brands in the Pharmaceutical, Consumer Packaged Goods and Services verticals. David combines his ability to chart out a big picture strategy with his technical aptitude and understanding of the complexities of the Enterprise to drive value for clients. He has a true passion for startups and mobility and was a past participant and coach at Startup Weekend Chicago. David’s interest in mobility began early on when he founded a company to develop and market applications for the Palm OS.

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