Almost all connected cars now have an accompanying smartphone app. In this insight, we analyze user reviews from seven car maker apps and find many facing low levels of customer satisfaction.
Twenty-six car brands in the USA now offer a smartphone companion app, helping drivers remotely find their cars, monitor electric vehicle charge levels or pre-set their air conditioning – all from the comfort of their living rooms. Some also support safer access to smartphone features while driving.
SBD recently conducted a deep-dive study into smartphone apps offered by Audi, BMW, GM, Hyundai, Nissan, Tesla and Volkswagen. As part of this study, we analyzed 6,000 user ratings posted on Google Play Store, mining reviews for words that could help us understand the causes of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
The average rating across the 6 car maker companion apps we analysed was 3.05 out of 5 stars, with the lowest rated app (BMW) achieving only 2.2 stars. According to AppBrain, the average rating across all apps on the Google Play store is 4.1 stars, indicating that car makers are struggling more than others to offer competitive app experiences.
SBD used the incidence rate of keywords to derive an index score for three different app performance metrics: usability (ease of use), responsiveness (speed of interactions) and robustness (glitchy-ness). For five out of the seven car maker apps, reviewers commenting on the robustness of the apps were most likely to drag down the overall rating.
Many negative reviews written for these apps went well beyond criticizing the app itself, with frustration translating into a negative perception of the brand itself. While consumers generally do not buy a car because of the companion app offered by the car maker, a negative first impression among many of these reviewers may be leading to an erosion in brand loyalty.
Below is an infographic summarizing some of the key findings from our research.