"...the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it...or learn from it"

by ErlichBachmann on May 20th, 2016.

When I was a child I watched the Lion King numerous times. Most children did! Behind these cinematic masterpieces there was always an underlying theme, some sort of deep moral which they tried to impart on the children (and accompanying adults!).

Two things from the movie have always stuck with me despite my memory fading over the years.

1: "Hakuna matata" - the famous phrase muttered by Timon (meerkat) and Pumbaa (warthog) which means "No worries".

2: the scene where Rafiki (monkey) cracks Simba (lion) over the head with a stick and says "Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it...or learn from it". Such wisdom is hard to swallow when you're a kid.

Regardless of what we do, we often have a past that we're not happy about. As an app developer you've probably published an app build which you weren't perfectly happy at the time (aka MVP) and you now probably have a wonderful piece of negative feedback to remind you in the app store to remind you - from now until the end of time.

Whether it was a result of rushing out a change without adequate testing; an unexpected bug resulting from an OS change; a disgruntled customer unhappy with your decision to develop one feature over another; often these nuggets of brutal honesty are hard to swallow. It's quite easy to run away from these or simply to shrug it off as the negativity of a select few (about 3% of people are always negative!).

However, only a small portion of your end-users will ever leave feedback (good or bad). More often than not, the satisfied will carry on without ever leaving you a thumbs up or leave words of gratitude, whilst the dissatisfied - having no other forum to do so - will often leave you feedback on the App Stores or your social media pages (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc), and are much more likely to do so.

Keeping this in mind it's important to face this negative feedback head on. Beyond the harsh words you will often find suggestions on how to make your application better and what you need to do to please your end user - after all, they did take the time to leave you feedback.

Even better, sometimes these pieces of feedback will help you identify that you have a critical bug that needs addressing; service outage or a defect which you did not uncover during your testing on a particular combination of device and OS.

With Heedzy (free to register) you'll be able to extract this raw data into a CSV file and have it fed into any existing analytics tools you might already be using. This allows you to monitor your feedback wherever suits you best, as frequently as you need to.

If you are having trouble working out which feature to develop next or wonder if there's a problem with your application, there's no substitute for listening to the end user. After all, you've practically crowd sourced your testing to your customer. As Rafiki said, "you can either run from it...or learn from it".

I think I might watch Lion King again. It's been more than 20 years.

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