Feature image credit: Picsart Google Play Listing
One thing that Google does right that Apple could stand to learn from is allowing developers to reply to user reviews. Recently with Apple's new iMessage store, this became even more of a critical issue, as users couldn't find their newly downloaded iMessage apps and began flaming apps in reviews, incorrectly assuming they were spam downloads; you can read more about that snafu here.
Why should you reply to users, and what's the best way to do it?
- Users may change their review and give you a higher rating.
- Many users read reviews to determine whether they want to download your app or not, and your comment can help influence their decision (conversion rate).
To test the accuracy of benefit #1, we browsed through a few of Google's new and updated apps to see who replied to reviews and who didn't. Curiously (yet not surprisingly), the apps that did respond had higher average ratings than those that did not. You can also see several instances of benefit #1 in action, where the app team replied to a user, who subsequently changed their rating once the issue was fixed.
Average rating of the apps we looked at that do reply to user reviews: 4.45
Average rating of the apps we looked at that do not reply to user reviews: 4.167
While this is a small, random sampling, the findings are directionally clear: reply to your users for better results.
How to do it
Go to the Google Play Console and click into Rating & Reviews. Then select reviews, and you'll see a box under each review that you can type your reply into. Google even provides a filtering system that allows you to filter by specific APK version, rating, language and even reviews that you have or have not replied to yet.
With regard to what to say, here are some tips:
- Address your users by name and apologize for their inconvenience – be personable!
- Address their concern directly – help them troubleshoot in your review reply if possible, tell them whether it will be fixed in an upcoming update or that you are actively looking into it.
- Provide a support email for the user to provide extra information if necessary.
- Prioritize replying to the most useful reviews first – these are promoted by Google at the top of the list.
- Don't reply to every single review – this would take forever and will lead to a templated reply approach, which will lead to less genuine replies, which users can and will pick up on.
Picsart – replies to user reviews
WPS Office + PDF – replies to user reviews
Skyscanner – replies to user reviews
Citymapper – replies sometimes to user reviews
Dubsmash – does not reply to user reviews
Google Allo – replies very seldom to user reviews
Underarmour – does not reply to user reviews
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