Why, I think, My Trips has high a customer rating…

As you may, or may not, know I build a fairly well used TripIt.com Windows Phone application called My Trips.  It all started as a side project when I switched from an iPhone to Windows Phone & there wasn’t a tripit app out at the time.image

Well as time has gone on (over a year in the marketplace now), it’s had really good reviews (currently 4.5 out of 5 stars).  And I have a theory on why … (other than it being a kick ass app of course!)

I get very little negative feedback in the review system.  Why is this?  Well I think its because I highly encourage My Trips users to engage with me when they have any questions, feedback or concerns.  How do I do that?  A couple of different ways that are not rocket science:

  • Contact info in the About page in My Trips (email, web, twitter)
  • Twitter comments & replies to people moaning about the official TripIt.com app on Windows Phone.
  • Automated feedback if something bad happens in the app.

The third one is really what I think has made ALL the difference in My Trips.  Here is what I mean by “Automated Feedback”.

If something bad happens in My Trips and my code doesn’t cope with it (poor coding on my part) then I catch the Exception in the Unhandled Exception handler and do something with it.

  1. Log all the exception information to Isolated Storage for the record
     
  2. Prompt the user with a Message Box that says “Something bad happened :(“  and “Would you like to report this problem so we can fix it?”

  3. If they click “OK” then it creates an email with things like a stack trace, and other environmental information in it.  All they have to do it click send.

Most of the time a user clicks “OK” and sends me a bug report (not often any more … but in the beginning I got quite a few).

This means two things happen…

Firstly, they don’t go running to the Marketplace and leave a bad review because they have already sent feedback (to me).

Secondly, I take the bug reports REALLY seriously and I try to fix them ASAP.  I reply and tell them I am looking into it & once I have found and fixed it I reply and say “Thanks again for reporting the issue” and that it will be fixed in the next update.  They feel good because the problem is fixed and that someone listened to them.

So what the real moral of the story here? … actively engage your users.  Especially if something bad happens to their experience in your application.

Its easy to do and I would urge everyone who writes apps to do something like this.

@toddbaginski also put me onto another service called bugsense that helps you record issues and errors in much the same way.  They have a Windows Phone plugin too!

This is the out of the box unhandled Exception Handler that you need to plug code into in App.cs:

// Code to execute on Unhandled Exceptions
private void Application_UnhandledException(object sender, ApplicationUnhandledExceptionEventArgs e)
{}

Thanks and happy coding…

-CJ.

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