How to Turn Unhappy Users into Delighted Long-term Customers

For the past week, I’ve been dealing with a myriad of very unhappy users because of a critical bug in Teleprompter Lite.

The bug was stopping users from accessing their work after a certain amount of activity (the point at which I ask “What do you think?” and prompt to rate on the App Store).

I’m unable to rely on Apple approving my update quickly (despite two requests for an expedited app review), so what do I do with so many unhappy users?

Since I have no means of repairing the issue until the update is approved, I have to think carefully about exactly how I can solve the problem for the user. I ended up with a simple choice of two options:

  • Apologise to the user, and explain that they will have to wait for the update (potentially over a week away)
  • Give the user a free copy of Teleprompter Premium, but sacrifice the $9.99 upgrade revenue

The choice was actually very easy… I decided that anybody who contacted me though the support page will be offered a free upgrade to Teleprompter Premium, with no strings attached.

Here’s why is was an easy choice…

The user that is experiencing this bug is already frustrated, so the chance that he/she will upgrade is already low. By giving him/her a free upgrade, they feel like I’ve gifted them $10, and they’re delighted with the customer service.

I’m not losing a $9.99 sale because that user was unlikely to upgrade anyway… I’ve managed to catch an unhappy user who was ready to move to a competitor or leave a bad review, into a delighted user who will stick with me, remember my name and recommend me.

…Got back to me right away and fixed the problem. He was great and for that reason I would recommend this product over and over!

In fact, I’ve had countless good reviews from happy users mentioning how delighted they were with the offer of a free upgrade, and now strongly recommend my product. How many sales is that worth?

Here’s the lesson…

If you have a bug in your app that could discourage your users from spending or upgrading, give anyone that encounters the bug that premium content/product/upgrade for free. When you do, you’ll lose the revenue but keep the customer. If you don’t offer anything, you’ll lose the revenue and lose the customer.