App Reviews Manager - why and how to reply to reviews

Why & How to Reply to App Store Reviews

Sukanya Surby 
Content Marketing Manager

13 min read

App stores have revolutionized how users discover and install new apps, making app reputation management more important than ever. One crucial aspect of managing your app’s reputation is replying to app store reviews.

User reviews offer invaluable feedback and wield significant influence over the download decisions of others. It is crucial to understand that replying to app store reviews is equally important as receiving and analyzing them. The way you handle app reviews can have a direct impact on user perceptions, potentially leading to ratings upgrades or downgrades.

In this blog post, we will explore the significance of review responses, identify which reviews should prompt a reply, and provide you with best practices for effectively engaging with your users.

Why do you need to reply to app store reviews?

Replying to app store reviews is not just a formality but a crucial component of maintaining a successful app. Here’s why:

  • Build trust and loyalty: By responding to app store reviews, developers can demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction. Prompt and personalized replies show that you value users’ feedback and are dedicated to addressing their concerns. This fosters trust and helps build long-term loyalty among your user base.
  • Enhance user experience: App store reviews provide valuable insights into users’ experiences with your app. By engaging with these reviews, developers can gain a deeper understanding of user needs, pain points, and feature requests. This valuable feedback can then be used to improve the app, enhance its usability, and provide a better overall user experience.
  • Turn negative experiences into positive ones: Negative reviews are inevitable, but they present an opportunity for developers to turn things around. By promptly addressing negative feedback, developers can acknowledge and empathize with users’ concerns. Offering solutions or workarounds demonstrates a commitment to resolving issues and can potentially change a dissatisfied user’s perception of your app.
  • Boost app store rankings: Engaging with user reviews signals to app store algorithms that your app is actively maintained and updated. This can positively impact your app’s visibility and rankings within search results. Additionally, positive interactions with users may encourage them to leave more positive reviews, further boosting your app’s reputation and credibility.
  • Drive user acquisition and retention: Potential users often read app store reviews before downloading an app. When they see that developers actively reply to reviews, it instills confidence in the app and portrays a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. This can help attract new users and increase user retention rates, as satisfied users are more likely to continue using and recommending your app.

Discover how to monitor app reviews and ratings to drive conversion

Which app store reviews require a response?

When it comes to responding to every reviewer, opinions may vary. This is particularly true if you have a large portfolio of apps and limited customer success resources. As a result, prioritizing review responses becomes crucial. Here are some valuable suggestions to help you prioritize your app store replies:

  • Negative reviews: Negative reviews are an opportunity to turn unhappy users into satisfied customers. Responding promptly and professionally shows that you take feedback seriously and are actively working to resolve their concerns.For example, if a user writes a negative review about a crash issue, you can reply by acknowledging their frustration, apologizing for the inconvenience, and informing them that a fix is already in progress. You might also consider offering a potential workaround in the meantime.
  • Constructive feedback: Reviews that offer constructive criticism or suggestions should be acknowledged and appreciated. Responding to these reviews demonstrates that you value user input and are constantly looking for ways to improve your app.For example, suppose a user writes a review suggesting an additional feature. You can reply, thanking them for their valuable feedback and letting them know that their suggestion aligns with your development roadmap. You might also mention that you will consider implementing it in a future update.
  • Technical issues: Reviews highlighting technical problems or bugs should be addressed promptly. Responding shows that you are aware of the issue and actively working on a resolution. For example, imagine a user reports an issue with push notifications not working. You can reply, acknowledging the problem, informing them that you’re investigating the issue, and providing an estimated timeline for the fix. If possible, it’s helpful to let users know how they can stay informed about updates.
  • Praise and appreciation: While not mandatory, responding to positive reviews can reinforce a positive brand image and foster a sense of community among users. For instance, when a user writes a review praising a specific app feature, you can reply, expressing gratitude for their kind words and telling them how delighted you are that they enjoy the feature. You can also encourage them to share their positive experience with others.

Best practices to reply to app store reviews

Replying to app store reviews is crucial if you want to stay ahead in the competitive app industry. Now, let’s dive into the best practices for replying to user reviews in order to boost your app’s reputation, attract more downloads, and create a loyal user base:

1. Reply to app user reviews promptly

It is vital to respond to reviews in a timely manner to demonstrate your appreciation for user feedback and your proactive efforts in addressing their concerns. By promptly acknowledging their reviews, you convey that their opinions are valued and their voices are heard. This fosters trust and loyalty among your user base, as they perceive your commitment to delivering excellent customer service and taking their feedback seriously.

2. Express gratitude sincerely

Take the time to genuinely express gratitude to users for leaving a review, regardless of its positivity or negativity. Acknowledge their feedback and convey that their input is highly appreciated. By expressing gratitude, you encourage users to continue providing valuable insights and foster a positive relationship. This can also help mitigate any negative sentiment and transform a potentially adverse review into an opportunity for improvement and growth.

3. Address user feedback comprehensively

Allocate enough time to thoroughly address the specific points raised in the review. Show genuine understanding of the user’s concerns and provide helpful responses that offer solutions or explanations. This demonstrates your commitment to resolving issues and improving the user experience. By addressing feedback thoughtfully and meaningfully, you demonstrate the value you place on user opinions and your active efforts to make improvements based on their input.

4. Be respectful in your responses

It is essential to maintain a professional and respectful tone in your replies, even when faced with negative reviews. Avoid becoming defensive or engaging in arguments. Instead, approach the situation with empathy and understanding, demonstrating that you value the user’s perspective and are open to constructive dialogue. This helps de-escalate potentially tense situations and shows your willingness to listen and work towards a resolution.

5. Inform your users about app updates & bug fixes

Have you recently released an app update that includes new features and resolves issues? It’s crucial to keep your users informed! In addition to sharing release notes and sending push notifications about updates, there is another important task to complete. Make sure to review your app store reviews and respond to users who have requested new features or reported bugs.

By keeping your users informed, you demonstrate your commitment to building an app that caters to their needs and value their feedback. Users who are eagerly awaiting new features will be thrilled to engage with your app once again. This sense of involvement fosters a strong sense of community within your app’s user base.

6. Address both positive & negative feedback from app users

While the instinct might be to only address negative reviews, as it may seem unnecessary to respond to a user who had an excellent experience, that’s not the case. There’s always something to say! This is your opportunity to demonstrate that there’s a dedicated team behind the app, continuously striving to improve it. It’s also a chance to express gratitude to your users and motivate them to keep using your app.

7. Send customized replies

When possible, try to reply to your users in a manner that is as tailored to their needs as possible, so they feel they are talking to a person, not a bot. It is important to make users feel that the issue they are facing truly matters, and that you are taking action to improve their experience. If you use templates to manage your reviews in a more efficient way, try to make them as personalized as possible. For an extra touch of personalization, you can also use their name and your own when answering a review.

Expert Tip

Avoid replying to your users in a way that suggests you have completely missed the point of their contribution. This can lead to even more dissatisfaction and look unprofessional.
Do not respond to every review with the same template. This will result in a less genuine response, which users will notice.
Avoid using the same template for every review response. This can lead to responses that lack authenticity, something that users are likely to pick up on. Source: Advanced App Store Optimization e-book.

8. Provide reviewers with additional support resources

Offer additional resources such as support contact details, a FAQs section, or comprehensive documentation to enhance the user’s app experience. Never hesitate to extend the dialogue beyond the confines of Google Play or App Store. There are scenarios where it’s beneficial to carry on the conversation via email with your dedicated support team. By shifting to another communication platform, you can delve into the intricacies of the bug, feature request, or any other concerns or requests in greater detail. This proactive approach often helps in resolving potential problems, which could have resulted in negative reviews.

9. Encourage dialogue

Invite users to continue the conversation or reach out to you directly if they have further questions or concerns. This demonstrates your willingness to engage in ongoing communication and your commitment to resolving any outstanding issues. By encouraging dialogue, you create an environment that promotes trust and nurtures a strong relationship with your user base. This can also uncover additional insights and suggestions to further enhance your product or service.

10. Express gratitude through a token of appreciation

Effectively managing a negative review is more manageable than accumulating seven positive ones. Occasionally, it may be appropriate to provide some form of compensation to express gratitude for a poor user experience within your app. However, this does not mean offering discounts or sending gifts to every user who leaves a negative comment. Instead, consider showing special appreciation to users who have encountered unique issues but remain open to changing their opinion about your app.

11. Avoid asking for improved app ratings or other promotional tactics

Every app has, at some point, faced unjust low ratings. While it may be tempting to request users to change their rating, such an approach can have negative consequences. It can make your app brand appear “needy” or untrustworthy. Additionally, it is advisable to refrain from using marketing jargon in your responses. The objective should be to establish a meaningful dialogue with your users to enhance their experience, rather than trying to push another product onto them.

12. Offer an apology and avoid conflict

Sometimes, users may become upset over an issue that is either beyond your control or not attributable to you. They might express their frustration aggressively or post a negative review on your app store listing. Rather than getting embroiled in a dispute, aim to diffuse the situation.

Engaging in a quarrel with your app users will only worsen the situation, potentially leading it to a point you’d rather not reach. Keep in mind that both the reviews and your responses as a developer are in the public domain. They could be read by anyone, including prospective new users. Opt for the mature approach, offer an apology, and strive to resolve the issue as effectively as possible to preserve your app’s reputation.

How to respond to app reviews more efficiently with AppTweak?

AppTweak’s App Reviews Manager is a powerful tool that app developers can leverage to manage app store reviews effectively.

Utilize GPT-4 suggestions & auto-translate reviews

The built-in GPT-4 suggestions generates responses that mimic human interaction. This feature is particularly useful when dealing with a large number of reviews on various subjects, in diverse languages, or expressed in different tones.

Our AI will autonomously analyze all reviews and generate tailored suggestions for each. Users have the liberty to select the most suitable tone for each response (neutral, brief, or formal) and decide whether to post these responses directly or customize them further prior to posting.

If you’re working on reviews in foreign languages, simply auto-translate any review, reply, or suggestion to ensure you are accurately addressing international markets.

Leverage GPT-4 & bulk actions to provide faster support with App Reviews Manager.
Leverage GPT-4 & bulk actions to provide faster support with App Reviews Manager. Source: AppTweak

Bulk reply to relevant reviews

App Reviews Manager offers the ability to bulk reply to reviews. Unlike store consoles that require individual responses to each review, AppTweak helps you craft optimal responses and apply it to all relevant reviews in one go.

For example, if multiple users report the same bug in your app, you can promptly identify these pertinent reviews and save precious time by using the “reply all” function to post a new response (or utilize a pre-written template) to the stores. Furthermore, you can maximize productivity with bulk actions across our main features – including tags, templates, AI suggestions, and more.

Use templates & tags for increased efficiency

The templates and tags in App Reviews Manager help you save your most effective replies for potential reuse in similar future scenarios. For instance, you could design reply templates:

  • Tailored to specific languages or cultural references
  • To address frequently occurring bugs
  • To maintain a uniform tone once an issue has been resolved
  • When additional information is required from the user about a concern
Save your best replies with App Reviews Manager's pre-made templates
Save your best replies with App Reviews Manager’s pre-made templates. Source: AppTweak

Review Management with GPT-4

Centralize all your app store reviews & increase efficiency with GPT-4 reply suggestions, templates, Zendesk integrations, and more.

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Sukanya Sur
by , Content Marketing Manager
Sukanya is Content Marketing Manager at AppTweak, creating intriguing content for app marketers. She possesses strong editing skills, delights in storytelling, and holds a deep appreciation for classic literature.