Southwest Airlines ($LUV) continues its phenomenally successful feedback campaign, adding 45,000 fresh reviews on Apple iTunes App Store over the President's day weekend. In the entire 8 years prior to the start of the campaign in January they had only amassed 31,800 reviews - now they're blowing that number away in just one weekend. What's their secret?

southwest app store

We heard from Southwest's Director of Digital Customer Platforms, Mark Hursh, who said it's actually pretty simple. "The large volume is due to the huge amount of active daily visitors to our mobile apps, which were recently rebuilt from the ground up to make for an easier experience while our Customers are on the go.  Because we are the United States’ largest domestic airline with over 24% market share (as of June 2017), and a significant portion of our Customer base uses our mobile apps, you simply get some really big numbers very quickly!"

But if that's the case, why were they getting dozens of new App Store ratings prior to January 17th, and thousands to tens of thousands a day since? And why are their competitors (who may have lower market share, but still have millions of customers) only seeing a comparable trickle of results?

united airlines upp store

(Note: this is the "Version Count", which means each time the app adds a new version it resets to zero and starts building back up. Slowly.)

So what did they do differently to cause this explosion of enthusiastic feedback?

"If you’re interested in the technical specifics," Hursh explains, "we leveraged Apple’s SKStoreReviewController feature that was launched in iOS 10.3.  This feature is designed to collect feedback and allow our Customers to give a rating and write a review if they would like.  It also limits how often that review pop up can be shown using rules defined by Apple.  I can promise you that we didn’t do anything other than that.  We didn’t leverage a promotional campaign, and we haven’t found anything in our codebase that shows anything out of sorts.  This is all genuine Customer feedback from our Customers."

Pretty amazing results! We'll be keeping tabs on Apple App Store data to see if any other companies are able to leverage that feature into a gigantic increase in feedback.

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