Your app’s score in the App Store and on Google Play affects the number of potential clients who will download it. Here’s how to lift the rating.

An app can have all the features that clients ask for – a clean design, frictionless access, and intuitive navigation – but ultimately, its success also depends on what users think of it.

In the competitive financial world, apps are an important channel connecting the customer with the bank. They are not just a way to carry out transactions – rather, they offer opportunities to provide superior user experiences (UX) and access to financial services. And that is where the ratings count.

Star ratings are not just a metric. They have immediate consequences for both the number of downloads and the financial institution’s reputation. According to a report on mobile app ratings by Apptentive, a marketing optimization software company, the lower an app’s rating, the less likely a consumer is to download it.

Why improve your app’s rating?

A highly rated app is proof of its quality. It drives a higher number of downloads without raising advertising costs. Your retention rate also increases.

At the same time, there is a high price for having an app with low ratings. All financial institutions want their mobile offering to be among the most-downloaded apps, to become more competitive in their sector. Yet negative ratings and reviews will play against their chances of reaching the top 10. And no one wants their bank to have an app with the lowest rating in the market.

So here are three key strategies to improve your app´s ratings.

Tip 1: Monitor Comments (and Accept Criticism)

When an app’s performance falls below expectations, it is susceptible to unfavorable ratings and reviews, especially when it delivers a financial service, uses sensitive information, and must offer immediate transactions.

Bear in mind that ratings originate from two broad groups of users. On one side, there are those consumers who enjoyed a 100% successful experience. On the other side, the ones who did not.

While you might think that the first group will rate the app 5 stars, many times this does not end up happening. But the second group, who had a bad experience, often won’t hesitate to share their dissatisfaction publicly.

How do you balance the scales? The key is to request a rating at the right time. For example, when a customer has finished making a transfer, completed payment for a service, or after using QR for payments. That is, immediately after having successfully used the app.

The idea is to encourage users who are satisfied with the experience to leave positive feedback.

As for negative comments, the key is to act quickly. Just as in a face-to-face setting, customers value being listened to and having their concerns addressed in the event of a bad experience. It is also of utmost importance to resolve any problems or frictions that arise, and thereby provide a tangible solution.

Finally, we suggest asking the user to take a look at the problem once it’s resolved, and then to update their rating.

Tip 2: Focus on the Most Common Journeys

Optimizing the most common user journeys is another way to improve the rating of a mobile application. Bear in mind that the first one starts from the moment the customer installs the application on their smartphone.

It is essential to recognize the steps taken by consumers, identifying where they go most often, and why, to enrich the experience at the points of contact. This will result in happier users who are engaged with the product long-term.

In the banking sector, points of contact can be complex. They might involve multiple steps, from checking account balances to making loan applications, deposits and other transactions. As a result, it is important to focus on understanding the customer.

This insight comes from developing user personas that are based on real life banking situations. These profiles will make it possible to tailor the bank’s products and services, personalizing the experience.

Once the people to be served have been identified, the next step is to describe an end-to-end experience, with all the steps of the journey; that is, the interaction that the user will have with all the interfaces of the app. This is, roughly speaking, a journey map that your users will make every time they access the application.

Exploring the user journey, detailing, and analyzing it, will allow you to identify your customers’ needs and expectations, and then innovate and develop a friendlier digital banking experience. All of this will result in users who are more satisfied with your financial app, better served and more likely to give you positive feedback.

Tip 3: Move Fast (but Don’t Break Things)

In digital environments, time to market is associated with the period from when a product is conceived until it goes live for users. Yet, the time to market for optimizing a banking app must be based on demand.

When flaws have been found in the mobile application, development processes must be agile, and based on customer demands and expectations.

Many innovation departments have prioritized scrum methodology, an agile and flexible methodology for managing software development that aims to maximize the company’s return on investment (ROI).

Among the benefits of scrum are the promotion of innovation, motivation, and commitment of the project team; it also allows users to interact with the most important application features before the end of the update or development phase. This will result in a more flexible time to market, where customers’ needs are given priority. The rating of the mobile banking app will improve, as users will find that their bank is attentive to their expectations, to improvements, and committed to a better experience for the sake of innovation.

Andy Tran