Sunday, June 16, 2013

Customer Service on the App Store

Even the most skilled ios developer knows that bugs will eventually come up. No matter how extensive your testing has been, you need to be extra careful about it.

In the real world, a bug can always be managed. A customer will call you and you'll end up dealing and solving the issue.
On the App Store, not a chance. You don't know the customers, they are Apple customers. And if they get a bug, they may end up firing a terrible review and that's bad.

Despite all efforts, there's always a bug somewhere

Three scenarios may show up:

Scenario 1 (likelihood: 70%) : they get angry and drop you App. Most people just stop using an app when they are not satisfied with it, this "fire and forget" behavior is not in the developer interest. You might never get the information on the bug and you will lose a customer forever.

Scenario 2 (likelihood: 20%) : they get angry and write a bad customer review. And that's bad. Because everyone knows that excellent reviews are fake (they come from your friends, your mom or whoever else) but bad ones are real.

A bad review will follow you for a long time

And a bad customer review is there for a while. The only way to get rid of it is to come up with a new version that hopefully corrects your bug.

Scénario 3 (likelihood: 10%): they still get angry but they are nice enough to send you a request to complain. And that's the best thing that can happen.

Now when you get the complaint through email (or facebook page or twitter...), answer right away with 3 elements:
- Acknowledge receipt of the message
- Say you are sorry
- Say you'll do your best to correct the issue.

Whatever happens, say you are sorry

Keep in touch with the customer to inform him/her of your corrections because correcting the bug and submitting to Apple may take a good month over all.

If the customer is really angry and has already dropped a bad review, you may want to pay him/her back (provided your app is not for free...). It doesn't sound very profitable but in such a case, some customers have corrected their review and that's completely worth it!

Finally make good use of those customers who took the time to write to you: ask them for the features they would want, the usage of your app they have. Apple will leave you any access to them, so take advantage of the situation!

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