Above all else, brands and apps have to get it seamless on consumer experience. The downsides to not doing it are daunting. Image Credit: Gulf News

In the interconnected digital landscape, the proliferation of platforms that enable consumers to express opinions is shaping a new narrative for businesses. The customer is becoming the catalyst for both the reputation and long-term success of brands and their products and services.

Word of mouth has always been a prime source of authentic advertising, but these days, app ratings matter. It’s no surprise that if you’re an e-commerce business and you don’t have an app, you’re likely to get forgotten. When considering how to retain a loyal customer base, that app rating is what significantly impacts user decisions.

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In 2023, app store spending within the MENA’s mobile sector increased by 10.3 per cent equivalent to $3.1 billion. Daily mobile usage increased from 3 per cent to 4.5 per cent on average and new app downloads increased by 45.7 per cent, reaching 13.8 billion downloads.

Terminal to an app’s fortunes

According to findings from Apptentive, a mere 3-star rating dissuades 50 per cent of potential mobile users, while a 2-star rating deters 85 per cent. For paid apps, this percentage rises to 80 per cent. Consequently, dismissing ratings and reviews is not an option, as they hold substantial importance in influencing user perceptions and choices.

Collinson regularly conducts studies that delve deep into loyalty programs and the corresponding consumer behavioural trends. A study in the Middle East found 58 per cent of consumers in the UAE prioritize a seamless customer experience for future brand success, while 42 per cent of Saudi consumers emphasize the need for a configurable, cloud-based technology ecosystem for a unified customer experience.

In the UAE, the spotlight is on surpassing heightened customer expectations, tackling customer fatigue, and integrating sustainable loyalty options. In contrast, Saudi peers grapple with adopting AI and predictive technologies, embracing the metaverse, and the balance between budget constraints and demonstrated results. However, both markets share a common focus on customer satisfaction, but confront distinct challenges ahead.

These apps cater to customers' expectations for convenience, personalisation, and prompt responses, offering accessibility, self-service options, real-time communication, and multi-channel engagement. They align with the mobile-first mindset of customers, enabling seamless interactions on their preferred devices.

Adopting well-designed customer service apps elevates customer satisfaction and underscores a business's adaptability and dedication to meeting ever-evolving expectations.

Brands have to react

A declining app rating is a clear signal, requiring a focused strategy to tackle underlying issues. Whether it's device-specific bugs or monotonous loyalty programs, addressing these challenges head-on is crucial to protect brand perception and avoid compromised customer retention.

A lack of investment in mobile apps signals a shortfall in the overall customer experience. Responding to reviews in the brand's voice is essential.

In this era of heightened consumer influence, businesses that embrace the dynamics of loyalty, app ratings, and customer feedback are poised for success in the MENA region's evolving digital landscape. The rise of mobile technology underscores the interconnectedness of these elements, making customer feedback the catalyst for businesses to thrive.

It is evident that consumer influence is the driving force behind business success, where app ratings have the power to either make or break your customer loyalty strategy. The future of loyalty programs centres on a promise to deliver a seamless customer experience, establish a single customer view, and connect adaptable technology ecosystems.