Apple finally allows developers to respond to user’s app reviews in the App Store

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Hello, iOS app developers, your long wait and insistent begging have finally come to an end. With the recent release of iOS 10.3, Apple has decided to provide you with a much-needed feature. You’re now capable of conversing with users on the App Store, via the reviews (or feedback) they’ve lodged for your application. There has been no such response system in the App Store till date.

The said change to the App Store has been in the works for long and had even been spotted in the wild back in January. Developers had been clamoring for the response system in the review section for who knows how long. The feature to reply back to consumer reviews has been available in the Google Play Store since 2013 and Apple just now decided to play catch up. Well, it’s better late than never and developers can finally benefit from this feature addition to the App Store.

Earlier, as TechCrunch suggests, developers had to go to extreme lengths to gain access to the user’s identity who had left a review on their application. They had to reverse engineer the said individual’s UserID to know their email address. This enabled them to shoot a message to their loyal users, who’ve been kind enough to take out the time to report some bug or call out the developers to report that the app is crashing insistently. But, that would no longer be the case with developers.

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Justifying the importance of this addition, the official developer page for review responses reads as under:

Positive ratings and reviews can encourage customers to download or purchase your app. By delivering great responses to users’ comments and assisting those who have questions about your app, you can create a better user experience, drive increased engagement, and improve your app’s rating.

This means if you decided to write down a review for an app on the App Store, either to praise the product or provide feedback, then there’s a good chance that you’ll hear back from the developer right there itself — underneath your review. Now, when the developer responds to your review — be it to answer your queries, ask follow-up questions, or just interact, you’ll be intimidated of the same via email. This email will display the reply and provide you with a chance to either update the review or contact the developer directly to further explain your grievance.

Also, Apple has provided developers with a handy guide to what they should and should not be doing while replying to a user’s review on the App Store. The highlights of how app-maker should use this feature are as under:

  • Individualized responses can be a valuable tool in helping you create strong relationships with your users and letting them know you value their feedback. You can also foster deeper engagement by asking users for feedback on future app updates as part of your reply.
  • Be timely and consistent when replying to customer reviews. By addressing your customer’s feedback quickly, you can have more direct dialogue with them when they’re most interested in sharing their feedback.
  • If you can’t respond to every review, try prioritizing reviews with the lowest star ratings or those mentioning technical issues with the most current version of your app.
  • When you release an app update that fixes issues users mentioned in older reviews, include this information in your release notes and consider replying to the relevant reviews
  • Your responses should be topical and foster positive interactions with your customers. Replies shouldn’t be used to advertise or offer promo codes for other apps, services, or in-app purchases.

Well, this medium of communication will finally enable the developers to instantly gather feedback and improve upon the experience of their platform according to the feedback (or needs) of the consumer. Apple definitely came through in support of the developers by adding the response system to the reviews section — I cannot emphasize the importance of this feature enough.

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