Responding to (good and bad) reviews on the App Store

By Jennifer Nelson on April 20, 2017

With Apple’s latest iOS 10 release, developers are now allowed to respond to reviews and comments left on the App Store

Earlier this year Apple released an updated version of iOS that gives developers the ability to respond back to user reviews. This is a tremendous update since this was never before possible. If a developer wanted to respond to a reviewer’s feedback, the developer had no way of getting in touch. If a developer needed further elaboration on a user’s issue with the app, that developer would have to do some investigative digging just to find the user. This essentially made the process of responding to feedback null.

When it comes to app reviews, there is a mix bag of comments and feedback that are left by users. Great reviews help to boost the app’s likelihood of getting more downloads. Developers could find reasons to respond with praise and even provide inside updates on what’s to come with future versions.

Now with the ability to respond to app reviews, developers are entering an entirely new area of exposure and scrutiny. Developers should carefully think about how to engage with end users when responding to app reviews, both good and bad.


How does it work

The basic way this works on the Apple App Store is that a user downloads an app and then writes a review. The developer of that app can then respond directly under that review. The developer’s response will then be available for all customers to view. As an end result, developers get to effectively provide an update to an entire group and not just a single user. It’s practically a win-win for all.

How to effectively respond to feedback

As we all know, not all feedback will be great, and it’s hard to keep composure when a presumably unjustified review is given. However, customer service is key here, and an overall professionalism and transparency must be kept when responding to users’ comments. Here are a few tips that you should consider:

Communicate effectively

For negative responses, avoid getting defensive, but rather use the feedback to see where you can improve your app in current or future feature updates. Also remember that you are responding on behalf of your company, so respond in your brand voice using language that your customer understands. Avoid unfamiliar industry jargon.


Don’t let negative app reviews linger

You obviously don’t want too much time to lag between your customer’s initial question and your response. Ideally respond within 24 hours. Apple let’s you setup email alerts in the App Store to be notified when someone leaves a comment or review.


Answer the question at hand

One of the biggest mistakes a developer or company can make is using their responses to promote or advertise a new product or feature. Stick to the topic at hand and use your responses to clearly and succinctly answer your customer’s question.


Let your reviewer know you’re taking action

This one is fairly simple. Give your user a brief action plan of what’s to come next. It doesn’t have to be a full detailed outline of your next course of action with the app. Rather, let them simply know that you’re taking action on fixing that bug, or give them an expected timeline on new release date. This will help alleviate any frustration, and also remember since all users are able to view your response; this will also help answer any and all similar questions.


Do respond

It goes without saying that you should absolutely be responding to reviews, good and bad. A response to a negative review gives you the opportunity to shed light on next steps and stages of your app. You will let others know that an update is available and that fixes have been made. You’re also letting your users know this is an app that will continue to improve with their feedback.


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