Replying To Google Play Reviews Do’s and Don’ts

Google announced that developers can now reply to reviews in Google Play, Android’s app store. I thought I would add a few Do’s and Don’ts for us developers to consider. For instance,

DO reply to correct facts.

This is worth doing. A customer says your product doesn’t have feature XYZ and you respond, saying it does and how to find it. I would highly suggest being very polite about it, though.

Another one,

DO answer feature requests.

A lot of customers will request features through the review system. It is a great use of the reply option to tell them the app is adding this with the next release or that you will consider the suggested change.

As a corollary, though,

DON’T tell the customer a feature is coming and then fail to follow through.

If you fail to follow through, you are now a liar and the customer will feel obligated to tell everyone in all reviews moving forward. Not much worse than this.

Oh, wait, there is something worse than this,

DON’T argue with customers over opinions.

A spitting contest won’t do you any good and you can’t argue with the customer anyway. Others will just read it as argumentative. Or as John Moltz points out, “This could end up being [your] opportunity to go from being labelled ‘developer of lousy, one-star app that should be free’ to ‘asshole developer of lousy, one-star app that should be free’.”

Since I like to be positive, let’s finish off with this one,

DO wait before posting.

This is the “don’t be an idiot” rule. (Okay, that wasn’t very positive.) People say rude things, especially when there is a cold-hearted company on the other end. After all, to them there is no difference between Microsoft and a sole proprietor. It is easy, as someone who has sunk heart and sole into the product that is now being ripped apart to rip back. This will end badly. So write that response, read it over a few times, chuckle to yourself regarding your witty repertoire, then delete it. Trust me, you’ll be better off to forget this one.