In-App Feedback: How to Get It and What to Do With It

Yes, talking to your app users will help you understand their problems and create valuable user experiences.

·Published Oct 12, 2023

Frank L.

But, given users' decreasing attention spans, varying needs, and busy schedules, eliciting meaningful app feedback from your users becomes a tall order. Fortunately, there are tactics for eliciting meaningful feedback directly from the app instead.

Leveraging these best practices for generating user feedback will help you gain valuable insights to improve your mobile app.

What Is In-App Feedback?

In-app feedback is a process for getting feedback from your users with the least amount of steps right inside your app.

For instance, by collecting feedback in your app, you eliminate user workflows, such as finding a feedback option, clicking an external link, and being redirected to a different web page without disrupting the user experience.

There are various types of in-app feedback collection mechanisms. Here are six popular use cases.

1. In-app popups: These are small dialog boxes that appear when a particular user event is triggered. When implemented well, in-app popups receive more engagement than email and SMS survey links. But poorly implemented popups are known to lower app ratings, slow down loading times, and contribute to negative reviews.

2. App-rating survey: This targeted survey gets you contextual information about the overall app's performance. Typically, users are asked to rate the app from one (least favorable) to five (most favorable) stars.

3. NPS survey: A type of user survey that is specifically designed to understand who your loyal customers are. It asks users how likely they are to recommend the app on a scale of 0 to 10. Based on each user's response, the NPS survey classifies users in the following manner:

  • Detractors: Respondents with a score that is equal to or less than six
  • Passive Users: Respondents with a score of seven or eight
  • Promoters: Respondents with a score that's higher than eight 

5. Feature-specific survey: A variant of the app-rating survey, this also uses a five-star rating system. But instead of getting overall app performance feedback, it is used to identify how users rate a specific feature, a change in pricing, or a customer support experience.

6. Satisfaction survey: A variant of the NPS survey, this survey helps you understand how happy your users are with the overall app or a specific workflow, such as the shopping cart checkout process.

7. Post-purchase survey: A survey that elicits important user feedback after a purchase takes place. Typically, users are asked to rate their overall purchase experience. Some post-purchase surveys may also ask users to rate other parts of their purchase, such as price, quality, and delivery time.

The Benefits of Collecting In-App Feedback

In-app feedback helps you iteratively improve performance, enhance the user experience, pre-empt problems, and increase user retention.

- Improve app performance: Your app users can help you identify the bugs, usability problems, and friction points that slow them down. User feedback also helps you prioritize the performance issues that need to be addressed first.
- Get near real-time feedback: In-app feedback forms, questions, and NPS surveys help you collect frequent feedback right when users are using your app, which elicits more timely and accurate responses. 
- Help prevent bad user experiences: Receiving negative feedback with respect to a new feature or update can enable you to identify what's broken. This helps you resolve urgent issues and prevent bad customer experiences before it's too late.
- Increase customer engagement and loyalty: Involving app users in your beta releases, roadmap planning, and feature prioritization processes will make them more invested in your app's success.

How to Implement In-App Feedback Across the User Journey

Stop pestering your users with generic email survey links and feedback forms. Instead, use the right tools at each stage of the user journey to collect contextual in-app feedback.

Onboarding Stage: Understand Friction Points

An effective onboarding process will help you deliver value to new users as early as possible. But if you aren't careful, you could lose new users in the onboarding process.

To avoid squandering the precious conversion opportunity, use an onboarding tool to create in-app feedback opportunities during the onboarding process. Give preference to the tools that allow you to implement no-code in-product surveys. Use these surveys to target specific feedback requests based on each user's plan type, role, or previous interactions.

You should also use an onboarding tool to create guided onboarding workflows with specific in-app feedback surveys. Such a feature allows you to make changes to your feedback collection process without affecting the app's code.

Retention Stage: Collect User Engagement Data 

As your users begin to see value in your app and return to it frequently, you'll have more opportunities to understand how they engage with your product features.

Instead of assuming that your users will discover all of the relevant features, use a product adoption tool to personalize each user's in-app experience. It will help your users discover new features based on their persona. Such a tool also empowers your users to tell you about the features they love most.

Similarly, if you have multiple mobile apps across iOS and Android platforms, you may want to use a tool that offers all in-app feedback survey results in one consolidated dashboard. Tools that give you AI-based user sentiment scores based on each user's interactions offer an extra dimension of customer intelligence.

Retention Stage: Identify Bugs in Real Time

Leverage your users to catch those pesky production environment bugs in real time by empowering them with in-app bug reporting tools.

Such bug reporting tools will deliver instant bug reports with the necessary supporting contextual details to your developers via email, Slack, or a project management app. Using these tools also helps you to automatically collect in-app user feedback with respect to app crash frequency, bug origin logs, and other performance issues.

Retention Stage: Inform Customer Support

Chat tools are often not considered in-app feedback tools. But in reality, such tools can provide valuable in-app feedback on unknown usability issues.

For example, you can use a chat tool or API to implement a chatbot or live chat feature that offers users a real-time, in-app support messaging option. You can also use chat tools to collect in-app bug reports and performance issues directly from your users.

Advocacy Stage: Turn Delighted Users into Evangelists

Your ideal users who get the most value from your app are also the most likely to bring in more referrals. Delight your power users by using a feedback management tool to observe users, uncover actionable insights, prioritize user requests, and inform product strategy.

Sometimes, predefined feedback options aren't enough to capture your users' pain points and feature requests. For instance, feedback management tools that allow you to watch how a user interacted with your app before submitting feedback can provide invaluable context.

Some specialized feedback management tools will also help you categorize all user events based on attributes, such as app platform, user device, user payment plan, and user demographic details. This allows you to better understand what each user is trying to achieve with your app --- helping you prioritize the right product roadmap to delight your ideal users and turn them into referral-attracting magnets.

5 Best Practices to Collect Meaningful In-App Feedback

Apply the following five best practices to improve your chances of getting meaningful user responses.

1. Use Quick and Direct In-App Prompts

Quick and easy-to-answer questions such as "Are you enjoying the app?" or "Was your checkout smooth?" give you the best chance of receiving useful user feedback.

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The best user-feedback questions can help you answer a central hypothesis. For example, to understand the value your app delivers, ask your users how they'd feel if it no longer existed. Or, if you're looking to understand the usage patterns of a particular feature, ask your users whether they'd miss the feature if you rolled it back.

Bunch, a multiplayer gaming app, does a good job of asking its users one direct and quick-to-answer feedback question:

Caption: Bunch asks a quick and direct feedback question.

But remember that feedback questions are like cologne --- they are useful only when applied sparingly.

2. Don't Allow the User Experience to Suffer

Feedback requests work best when they're least disruptive to your users.

For instance, asking users for a Net Promoter Score (NPS) after they complete a task works better than interrupting them in the middle of that task.

Caption: How and when you present an NPS survey will determine the quantity and quality of the responses.

While asking for feedback, ideally, you'd want users to only enter new information, so you wouldn't collect user names and mobile numbers if you already have these details.

Another important consideration: Taking your users to a new web page or screen that has an entirely different UI from your app when requesting feedback can be disorienting. That's why it's best to use in-app surveys. 

For even better results, consider gamifying your feedback questions with a progress bar, social recognition, and in-app rewards.

For example, Paired, an award-winning app for couples, gently nudges its users to answer questions about themselves in exchange for an in-app reward.

Caption: Paired gamifies user participation using a progress bar and in-app rewards.

3. Triangulate Feedback from Multiple Sources

Use feedback from the app store, your social media pages, and support tickets to get a holistic understanding of user sentiment.

While in-app feedback is the most direct and convenient way to get user feedback, it is influenced by the user's most recent interactions with your app. So augment in-app feedback with other sources to get more detailed and non-contextual feedback.

For example, Tabby, a flexible four-installment buy now pay later app, has an average rating of 4.8 stars on the App Store. That's because many of the reviewers are genuinely happy with the app.

But among the five-star reviews, there is a user who faces a login problem.

Caption: But one such five-star review is actually a call for support. User reviews can identify bugs.

Such reviews can help reveal potential bugs or usability issues. So reviewing your App Store account, social media pages, emails, and customer support tickets can help you uncover hidden user issues.

4. Prioritize Feedback from Your Most Valuable Users

Segment your users based on their lifetime value, and prioritize feedback from your most valuable users.

If design by committee can kill your app, then implementing every piece of feedback you get is equally dangerous. Not all users are the same. Pay more attention to your power users and loyal brand advocates because they're more likely to fit your ideal customer profile.

Caption: Pay more attention to feedback from your power users and loyal brand advocates.

5. Leverage Mobile App Event Tracking Tools

Using event-tracking tools can help you better understand your users' actions.

For instance, such a tool will help you track user events like:

  • Logins and logouts
  • Clicks
  • Scrolls
  • Items added to cart
  • Purchases
  • Rage taps
  • Exits

And what those user actions mean:

  • The frequency of logins and logouts tells you how sticky your app is.
  • Button clicks tell you the effectiveness of your CTA and its placement.
  • Scrolls help you categorize the app into the most and least-used parts.
  • Shopping items inform you of user interests and likes.
  • Purchase data gives you insights into user buying patterns.
  • Rage taps and exits can help you identify usability issues.

Tracking mobile app events can also help you categorize users based on their actions. For example, you could identify users who are most likely to make in-app purchases or users who are most likely not to complete a purchase. Such user lists can help you take targeted actions and improve the odds in your favor. 

Create Customizable In-App Chat Experiences

Using in-app chat is one of the most effective ways to collect in-app feedback.

But when developing a custom in-app chat experience, don't forget to factor development and maintenance costs into your evaluation criteria. For instance, creating an in-app chat experience from scratch can cost over $170,000 and at least 15 months of development effort.

However, a ready-made chat API significantly reduces the cost, time, and development effort needed to create a custom in-app chat experience. Editable UI kits further reduce the design effort needed to create a seamless brand experience.

So, instead of approaching in-app chat from the lens of in-house engineering capabilities, broaden your horizon to find the best-fit solution.

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