How to Handle Negative App Reviews

Let’s face it - you can’t please everyone. No matter how brilliant and life-changing your new mobile app is, nothing is safe from the dreaded negative reviews. There was a time that you, the developer, was silenced, impotent and unable to respond to bad reviews. All you could do was watch your downloads plummet, often, because of a misunderstanding on functionality or the intention of the app.

This is no more (hallelujah!)

Now that developers can respond to reviews on the Apple App Store, as well as Google Play, you need to consider how you’re dealing with these ‘glass half empty’ types. Seeing a negative review in the comments for your app can be as painful as watching everyone else in the restaurant get served before you, but a shouting match won’t cut it here. After all, you want people to continue using your app, so it’s essential to find the silver lining and know how to turn a negative review into something positive.

So how exactly do you respond in a constructive way when people are (rightly or wrongly) lambasting your app? Simply remember our 3 Ps and you’ll be turning those frowns upside down in no time.

Be Proactive 

Getting negative app reviews in the Google Play or App Store can actually be a blessing in disguise, as it’s often your eagle-eyed users who are the ones that spot glitches and issues. Checking for these comments once in a blue moon leaves the feedback a bit redundant, so respond to reviews in a timely fashion. If you don’t reply to an issue for three weeks, it’s not exactly going to endear the already-frustrated customer to you.

Being proactive doesn’t just refer to the speed with which you respond to your comments. It’s also about wanting to solve a customer’s problem then and there where possible, not just seeking to fob them off on a helpdesk or FAQ page.

Even though the update allowing us to respond to these comments has been available since March this year, you’d be surprised at how few developers take advantage of this (no seriously - trying to find example screenshots was HARD). Mobile app users might not even expect a reply, so this is your chance to surprise them and set yourself ahead of the crowd. By making this a part of your daily schedule, you’ll start to show your users that you do really care (or you could hire a really nice firm to keep an eye on things like this for you and let them soothe the rage of frustrated users… if only there was one out there😉)

disney magic kingdom app responding to review

The dev team at Disney Magic Kingdoms have given a proactive solution to their issue, and supplied additional contact information just in case the user still faces problems. Giving practical assistance not only saves you time, but the user has no additional digging for help to do.

Be Personal

Best Practice No. 2 is about having that personal touch. Social media has transformed the way that businesses interact with their audience; people like to communicate with companies that respond to them naturally and with personality. No one likes getting an automated response to their query, whether it’s over the phone, via email, or on their app review. It’s neither a solution to their problem, nor is it going to calm users down. It’s a lose lose situation.

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Responding to negative mobile app reviews is essentially customer service. The secret to success is acting like a human being who understands their needs and is empathetic to their problem. This is the way to win them round.

A little goes a long way. Something as simple as referring to the customer by their name and signing off with yours transforms the tone and shows a disgruntled user that you’re taking them seriously. Make sure you maintain the same tone of voice throughout the rest of the business; on social media, via emails, etc. to keep consistency and reassure your customers that you’re real.

skype app developers responding to app review

On the Skype app, Rene has greeted the customer by name and also introduced herself, all the while being friendly and showing that their comments have been taken on board. The customer then edited their review to thank her for responding.

Be Polite

It may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s not always easy to keep your cool when someone is unhappy with your work - especially if you know that their complaint isn’t necessarily accurate. This is where your best customer service hat comes into play.

When you see a negative comment, apply the same principles that you would if it was a complaint that came in via email or social media. App reviews are still a relatively new phenomenon, so you can see why it might be easy to forget that you’re still putting on a public face and responding appropriately.

The knee-jerk reaction may be to get defensive - this app is your baby, after all! - but try to take a step back. Getting into a passive-aggressive argument with one of your customers won’t get you anywhere, regardless of how justified you may feel. No one likes a keyboard warrior, after all.

There’s always a silver lining. When someone complains, see it as an opportunity to turn the situation around. Respond to their review by acknowledging the issue and making them feel heard. Anything else will push them away and make it much harder to retain them.

With this in mind, it doesn’t mean you have to feed the trolls. Use your common sense. If it looks like someone might just be causing a scene for the sake of it, know when to draw the line.skype app developers responding to app review again

Skype have perfected their responses here, with lessons in how important politeness is, even in the face of an unhappy customer!

Users are much more likely to share a bad experience (and a good one, for that matter), so don’t let yourself down by not taking your app reviews seriously. People don’t often take time to give feedback, even if it’s negative - so be flattered that they care enough to tell you the problems they’ve been experiencing! Don’t get bogged down by negative reviews. Think of them as a great opportunity to reconnect with customers and show them how invested you are in their needs.

So you know how to handle a negative review... but are you clued up on how much developing your app will cost? Download our free ebook to find out!

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