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What Your App Ratings are Telling You About Member Happiness

Ratings are among the most significant factors customers weigh when deciding whether to download a bank or credit union’s mobile app. Still, app ratings play an equally significant role in ongoing member happiness.

With banking app technology on the rise, reviews and ratings matter more than ever. All financial institutions should view their app ratings as a meaningful measure of member engagement and happiness. Success requires identifying and analyzing the most relevant app rating data to understand app ratings on a deeper level. Then banks and credit unions must be able to use that information to make strategic decisions around digital banking offerings.

The Significance of App Ratings

According to Apptentive’s 2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report, nearly 60% of mobile app users regularly check ratings and reviews before downloading an app. And going from a three-star app rating to a four-star app rating can increase conversions by 89%.

Even after a bank or credit union member downloads a mobile banking app, they often continue to engage with the rating system via reviews and ratings of their own and look for answers when they run into issues. Mobile app ratings can provide a lot of quantitative information regarding conversions, the number of users an app has, and even a company’s reputation. However, their most essential function is as a barometer of how happy members are with a bank or credit union’s offerings.

What an App rating Says — and What it Doesn’t

The number of ratings an app gets and the average rating is critical, but they only tell part of the story. One of the most significant and overlooked aspects of app ratings is the sentiment of the reviews. Recent studies have uncovered that, on average, the overall rating for an app is 1.1 stars higher than the rating on individual ratings that also include a comment. In other words, reviews with comments tend to have lower ratings. That’s because many customers tend to use reviews as a way to voice complaints or report bugs.

Additionally, an examination of 6 million app reviews found that up to 8% of reviews contained “mixed sentiment” where the app rating and the review comments seemed contradictory (e.g., a high star rating with negative review text, a seeming “false positive”). So a low app rating may not actually mean an app is poorly made or that customers aren’t, on the whole, satisfied.  Conversely, a high start rating might not indicate 100% consumer satisfaction.

Measuring What Matters

Analyzing the sentiment of app ratings and reviews can help banks and credit unions suss out specific shortcomings and strengths regarding member satisfaction. Understanding a rating’s sentiment can provide more accurate, comprehensive insights than app ratings alone. This allows banks and credit unions to discover bugs and other usability issues that may have been overlooked and identify features that members love.

Evaluating app ratings for sentiments is a two-fold process. First, look for common trends such as:

  • Spikes in reviews after updates
  • The features or functionalities that tend to come up the most
  • Comparisons to competitors

Banks and credit unions should also look for words that are often associated with high or low ratings. For example, a 3-star rating review that includes the words “the only thing…” may point to members who are generally happy with the app and are only looking for minor changes that would improve the rating to four or five stars. The information that banks and credit unions receive from app rating sentiment analysis is multifaceted, providing a better understanding of what the ratings mean and a better understanding of the needs of their members beyond the rating scale.

Using App Rating Data Strategically

Taken together, mobile app ratings, sentiments and trends can help banks and credit unions make well-reasoned strategic decisions around their digital banking offerings. Using these ratings and sentiments, financial institutions can develop a framework that accentuates customer happiness wins, identifies places where improvements need to be made, and integrates app rating data into every aspect of the organization.

Use to analyze what changes need to be made and who needs to make them. If there are many 1-star reviews due to glitches, then the development team will have to take point. Suppose many 3-star reviews mention excellent customer service but long wait times for live chat. In that case, the customer service team will need to figure out how to improve speed without sacrificing quality. Prioritization is critical here, so banks and credit unions should identify which ratings and sentiments have the most impact and start there.

It’s also essential to keep customers informed about updates and improvements. While it’s unnecessary to respond to each rating, prioritizing the most common pain points and describing what’s been done to fix them in the release notes will let members know that the company is listening and acting accordingly.

Using App Rating Data Strategically

App ratings are an essential measure of customer recruitment, retention and overall happiness. A full analysis of this valuable customer feedback will help ensure your app rating accurately reflects the experience customers are having. Meanwhile, a strong strategy for integrating said feedback is imperative to ensuring that customers have the experience your banks or credit union is striving to deliver.

Lumin Digital can help financial institutions make sense of their mobile app ratings and review data. You can learn more about our member engagement platform and get in touch with questions.

Lauren Treadwell is a fintech writer and enthusiast specializing in cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, innovative investment strategies and financial service startups.


Apptentive – Apptentive’s 2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report

AppBot – The App Review & Rating Checklist