Your apps exist in a complex and highly competitive marketplace that continues to evolve guidelines to maintain a high degree of compatibility, engagement, and security. Apps are changing our world. The holy grail of success is to have an excellent reputation, but best intentions aren’t enough to achieve it.
Trust is the key to a good reputation
The dictionary defines trust as confidence in the integrity or ability of something. It is the confident expectation of a specific outcome. Trust is based on the quality of experience delivered. When an app maker has to navigate through monetization, collecting and sharing data, extending the app users’ exposure to other products, advertising, tracking and so forth, delivering a quality experience can be challenged every step of the way.
The sequence looks like this:
Promise > User Experience > Customer Service > Value > Trust
Whatever the app, a customer will have chosen it based on the expectation that it will provide the value it promises. That promise is made and implied at all touch–points leading to its installation or purchase and sets the stage for the establishment and maintenance of trust. This is your real contract with the customer. If promises, explicit or implied, are not met by the app, customer trust is likely to be compromised.
This has broader implications than might be immediately obvious. Product platforms want to maintain the good name of their brand and ad platforms do not want to be a conduit of bad outcomes and poor reviews. Payment platforms know that excessive chargeback actions are the result of unmet expectations, low value, and poor customer experience. You may lose your ability to get paid.
Delivering something other than what was promised or bundling that value with something unwanted can get your app labeled as a “deceptor” and make you unqualified to exist in the business community. To ensure you are not committing deceptive or risky behavior, a good place to start is on the AppEsteem deceptor page: https://customer.appesteem.com/deceptors.
While the physical design of your app is important to the user experience, it’s not just UX controls, but the net effect the app produces within the user (psychology) or in the user’s environment (life). It is a feeling/emotion or facility that the user considers valuable. This is the holy sacred core of any app. Apps that sacrifice a great experience for technical shortcuts, quickie programming, or disruptive upsells will create negative ripples in user communities. One of the worse examples of the latter is YouTube pausing song videos in the middle to run short ads. Drive brand and app growth through the quality of experience and everything else falls into place.
No app can ever expect to meet every customer’s expectations regardless of how accurately the promised value was delivered. Customer service is critical to securing and protecting customer trust. When there are issues, good customer service will help reset perceptions and mitigate the negative consequences of unmet expectations.
Here’s where you get priceless customer feedback – better than any survey – that lets you know how well your promise of value aligns with expectations of the customers you’ve attracted at considerable expense. You can use this data to create laser-perfect app revisions, product upgrades, and killer marketing campaigns.
Value & Trust
The material value of the human body is about $160. If you were able to sell off all the organs for transplants, the value soars to $45 million. Clearly, value is a perception based on needs/wants. Money flows to where value exceeds it. The more abundantly an app delivers value, the more trust is generated for the brand. Higher trust increases paid upgrades, new product sales, profitable affiliations, and the powerful network effects of a thriving customer community. Competitors will have a difficult time keeping up.
Components of app reputation
Having briefly covered the higher principles of reputation, the nuts and bolts of navigating the business world can be better understood. Apps are big business. According to Forbes, U.S. ecommerce will net $855 billion by 2022 and 50% of this amount will be driven by mobile apps. There are 2.3 billion video games currently in use netting $90 billion internationally.
With great opportunities come opportunists who will make every effort to “game” the system with deceptive practices or rush-to-market apps that are poorly built and open the customer up to security breaches, system glitches, and unexpected results. Currently in the news (third quarter 2020), Ars Technica reports the discovery of aggressive adware and exorbitant prices hidden in deceptive iOS and Android smartphone apps distributed on the Apple app store and Google play. 2.4 million downloads, mostly by children and young adults!
Because apps are the red blood cells of the digital universe – an environment our society depends on to function – compliance to increasingly complex standards have become the order of the day. Non-compliance could cause your app to disappear from a sales platform overnight or be flagged and quarantined by your computer’s AV. Even if you get back up quickly, you’ve wasted advertising money and momentum and put your app at risk of serious reputational damage.
The following key areas will draw the most scrutiny from distribution platforms, AV companies, government regulators, operating systems, payment processors, customers, and prospects.
- Honor the policies and agreements you’ve committed to on the platform your app is sold and/or operated on. A close and respectful relationship with these platforms can make it easier to build marketing campaigns, collect data, reach more markets cheaply, and much more. The end-user expects a certain level of professionalism and quality from the platforms they patronize. One of the roles of the platform is to detect and root out malfeasance before it spreads and erodes their own platform’s reputation. Ignorance of the rules is never a defense.
Fortnite made the news in late 2020 for introducing its payment service outside of the iOS and Android platforms in violation of written agreements. While there are underlying business issues that will get dragged through the courts, Google has made it clear to the public that “these guidelines create a level playing field for all developers and make the store safe for all users.”
Some of the key platform guideline pages you and your team should be familiar with are the following:
Apple App Store Guidelines: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/
Google Play Policies: https://play.google.com/about/developer-content-policy/
Microsoft Edge Add-On Policies: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/extensions-chromium/store-policies/developer-policies
- Design the path you create to the customer along the lines of compliance. This includes ads, landing pages, necessary disclosures, and an accurate description of the value and function of the app.
- App behavior. How are you onboarding the customer? How are you providing value? How efficient is your customer service? What steps are you taking to retain your customers?
- App monetization. Are your refund/cancellation policies and payment processing functions transparent and in compliance with regulations? Are your customers fully informed so they know what to expect?
- App security. Customer privacy and information security practices must conform to existing protocols. At the same time, they must be clear to the customer.
- App removal. Your app or service should be easy to uninstall, leaving no orphan files or clutter behind.
App reputation and happy customers
When all is said and done, an app’s reputation is organically built from happy customers. They go hand in hand. People look to peer reviews of an app before they download. They check ratings. Your prospects seek a certain kind of experience and they want to know if others got it. Did you deliver what you promised? When you’ve optimized your reputation, you’ve made it easier to turn your customers into evangelists for your brand.
At the end of the day, this is where your prosperity lies.
IMPORTANT: CleanApps.org helps app makers and promoters thrive in the digital economy. To learn more and stay up to date with the latest news affecting the app business, join free here: https://cleanapps.org/membership-application/