Android Developers can now respond directly to user reviews on Google Play

Google Play developers can now write replies to user reviews of their apps, Google announced today in a blog post.

As of today, developers with a Top Developer Badge — a designation awarded to developers directly by Google Play administrators — can write responses to specific reviews directly from the Android Developer Console. Developer responses will be posted publicly, and will be shown alongside reviews. When a developer replies to a review, Google will send the reviewer an email, telling them they have received a response.

The inability to reply to user reviews has been a long-standing pain point for many app developers on both iOS and Android. It’s not uncommon to see users turn their reviews into unofficial support requests when complaining about compatibility issues, bugs or asking for new features in an app. The ability to reply to reviews will allow developers to communicate more effectively with their audience and funnel more serious issues out of Google Play and into their official customer support mechanisms.

According to Endomondo co-founder Jakob Nordenhof Jønck, nine out of 10 users connect with the company through an app store. He tells us that although most users have no issues with the company’s popular Sports Tracker Apps, helping those that do is a big part of the company’s product improvement strategy.

“For most people, writing a review on an issue that they are trying to solve, is the first, the easiest and most convenient step. Only if they stay with us, despite the problem, do they use the energy to write us at our support email. In effect, this means that we lose users facing problems that we could have helped them with, had we had this feature before,” he explains.

Although the ability reply to reviews is currently limited to Top Developers, according to today’s blog post, the company will be rolling the feature to all developers with Google Play apps soon.