Apple has finally implemented the ability for developers of iOS apps to respond to reviews left on the App Store.
This functionality has been available on Google Play since 2013, and can play a key role in letting the community know that their views are being listened to and acted upon.
It can also be crucial for confronting unfounded criticism. This is not only useful for creators, but also for consumers, who risk being mislead by poor feedback.
“The ideal response is concise and clearly addresses your customer's feedback,” Apple’s guidelines say. “Communicate in the tone of your brand, and use terminology your target audience will appreciate and understand.
“Individualized responses can be a valuable tool in helping you create strong relationships with your users and letting them know you value their feedback. In some cases, you can combine a personalized introduction with a more generic response when answering similar concerns. You can also foster deeper engagement by asking users for feedback on future app updates as part of your reply.
“Once a user indicates that your response answered their question or fixed their technical issue, consider asking them to update their rating and review.”
Apple has also outlined a few good practise principles.
“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,” it added. “Don’t offer users an incentive to change their review ratings in your responses. Manipulating reviews and incentivizing feedback violates the App Store Review Guidelines.
“Apple’s Terms and Conditions prohibits using profanity, posting users’ personal information, and spamming within replies. Users can use Report a Concern to flag responses that are offensive, off-topic, or otherwise inappropriate. If your reply violates Apple’s Terms and Conditions, you may be removed from the Apple Developer Program.”