Keeping tabs on feedback is important, particularly when rolling out updates to your rewards program. Using data gleaned from our daily tracking of App Store ratings, we recently noticed a jump of 2,401 percent in user ratings for Whataburger’s iOS app. That’s a crazy increase in customer interaction, and astounding when you consider that the regional burger chain only operates in ten states. So we dug a little deeper to find out what happened.

Burger chain consumers are a loyal lot. Ask the millions of Dairy Queen, Five Guys, In-N-Out, Krystal, and Shake Shack customers who they like for lunch, and they'll give you food takes for hours. They’re willing to let you know what they think, but the data shows that first, you need to ask.

Whataburger’s iOS app was released about a year ago (an Android app is also available), Like similar apps from McDonalds and Starbucks, it rewards customer visits with free food. That’s a small price to pay for the increase in customer loyalty - and the ability to track customer data sets, like spending and product trends. 

Customers are willing to let you know what they think, but the data shows that first, you need to ask.

Until November 15, 2017, the app had a core of a few hundred reviews. Then, over the course of a few days, that number jumped to the thousands. By December 21 it had reached 46,000 (and growing), pushing the app’s rating from a limp 1.5 points to an extra-large 5 out of 5. The feedback on the iTunes and Google Play store is highly detailed, with plenty of firsthand experiences, so we don’t suspect foul play from bots or false reviews from marketing firms (aka "astroturfing").

What's cooking? The last update (1.7) fixed bugs and improved compatibility with iOS 11 and the new iPhone X. But the secret sauce is zen-like: the updated version asks its customers for feedback and made it easy to do so. How much easier? 2,401% worth.

The customer feedback could lead to more app usage, as well as improvements (they’d already corrected some common nits like time-robbing user log-ins). Which should also lead to increased sales, better customer data, greater loyalty, and all the other benefits a rewards program can bring in - when it's done right.

Thinknum members can see the full dataset here.

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