Apple iOS 10.3 Adds Review Replies for Developers

February 20th, 2017

Apple iOS 10.3 Adds Review Replies for Developers
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

It is the worst feeling when a new app crashes and there is no way to solve the issue. Many iOS users want to converse directly with app developers, but could not do so until now. Apple has been making many improvements recently, including App Store Search Ads that target popular terms that developers can now bid on, similar to Google’s Ad Words platform. The biggest news, however, is the recent announcement of Apple’s newest software update iOS 10.3, which finally allows app developers to respond to user reviews. To create more interactive storefronts, developers can now reply to any posted app review, making the response visible for all other users in the App Store to see. Users will get an alert when their review receives a response and can update the review if they choose. Moreover, with the addition of the SKStoreReviewController API, users will be able to review an app without sending them back to the App Store. iOS users can look forward to getting fast responses and feeling more support when there is an issue. Developers replying to reviews will create a better user experience and improve their app’s rating. By delivering great responses that assist users, developers will be able to fix issues faster, improve user engagement and see increases in conversion rates. While iOS users will get the satisfaction of hearing back from developers, Android users have first-hand experience in receiving responses from app developers. Replying to reviews has effectively solved confusion or issues and has led to higher conversion rates. Google Play is the first to create a dialogue that in turn brought more popularity to apps. It has also been incredibly informative to users on what to look forward to next in upcoming app updates. iOS developers need to learn from what Android developers have done to effectively respond to app reviews. Thankfully, Apple strongly encourages developers to take advantage of the new update and start responding to all reviews, regardless of star-rating. There are some tips on how Google Play developers should respond and what kinds of reviews to reply to. Apple, however, has a list as well to help developers get a good handle on how to reply to app reviews.

Tips on Replying to Reviews

  1. Every app wants to be unique and stand out, and developers want to improve app ratings and conversion rates. Be timely and consistent with quick responses that give users fast feedback on how the issue is being resolved. By timing your responses, you are more likely to improve those ratings, downloads and conversion rates. Developers can also set up email alerts to see when user reviews have been edited based off the given feedback.
  2. Any bad experience needs immediate resolution in a way that satisfies both the user and the developer. Not every review can get a response, so try prioritizing reviews that mention distinct errors, bugs or technical issues. Provide specific, clear information to the user on how to correct the issue, but also ask questions to know exactly what went wrong. By replying to reviews that point out specific criticisms of the app, it creates dialogue between the developer and the user. Developers can fix many of their issues quickly and effectively when they communicate and prioritize reviews.
  3. Always let the user know what steps have been taken to fix the issue. If giving users tips or FAQs is the best fix, at least the next step has been taken and the developer took the time to reach out. Developers can go back and address any older reviews to update the user and let them know about any new information in release notes. This will show previous users the problem is solved and reintroduce them to the app.
  4. Keep all responses on topic to encourage a positive interaction. Do not reply to a review solely to promote codes, services or in-app purchases. Also, developers should not try to incentivize users to change a review or rating because it violates the App Store’s review guidelines.

Keeping up with users’ reviews in the App Store will have huge effects on an app’s conversion rate. If users see negative reviews without action from a developer, they may be less likely to convert. Ultimately, users want to interact with developers when there is an issue, and Apple is strongly encouraging developers to go the extra step and start replying to reviews. iOS 10.3 finally gives developers the opportunity to create a dialogue in efforts to increase downloads and conversion rates. Updated information regarding the new ratings and reviews features on iOS can be found first on Gummicube’s Twitter:

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