Google today announced that all Android developers can now reply to user reviews in Google Play. Developers can reply to app store reviews through the Google Play Developer Console. All replies are displayed publicly below the corresponding user review on Google Play. Users receive an email notification when a developer replies and can either reply to a developer directly by email, or update their review if they feel the need to.
In June 2012, Google first allowed a select group of developers — those with a Top Developer Badge — the ability to respond to specific reviews directly from the Android Developer Console. Google expanded the program to more developers in January. Comparatively, the Apple App Store still doesn’t have the ability for developers to directly respond to user reviews.
Responding to app reviews is helpful to developers because an app’s average review score is a powerful viral mechanism for app discovery as well as provide a more effective communication channel with their audience to handle any customer support requests like complaints, bugs or suggestions for new features.
Google also provided some best practices when replying to user reviews, which it collected from developers who had the ability to reply to reviews already:
- Check reviews frequently, and involve people from all parts of your organization
- Identify and prioritize bugs based on user impact
- Let users know when their problems are resolved
- Reply constructively to both negative and positive reviews
- Refer users to documentation or other support channels
- Get ideas about new improvements or features
- Thank the users who are your biggest advocates
Developers interested in learning more about replying to user reviews can go here to see Google’s posting guidelines.