One of the biggest struggles and complaints with Apple’s App Store ecosystem is the lack of ability to respond in any way to customer reviews. Often we see reviews that bash the app for not including a feature that actually exists, other times users report issues that have an easy fix – but there’s no way to inform them inside or outside the App Store.
A couple months ago I started using AppBot, a new service that emails me daily reports for App Store Reviews, Ranks and Keyword Search rankings.
Keyword Search rank is very useful information that’s not found in iTunes Connect or AppFigures. Search ranking is huge for long-term app sales, a recent study shows “Half Of Users Are Finding Apps Via App Store Search”.
Last June at WWDC, Apple told us these types of insights are coming to developers, but nobody knows when that will actaully happen. Could be tomorrow, could be years from now.
Responding to Reviews
The feature I’ve found most useful on AppBot is the Rating / Review email, a summary compiled of reviews from the previous day. Which in itself isn’t anything new, but they’ve taken it further to allow for the possibility to interact with the reviews and possibly the reviewer.
In the past I’ve tried googling the reviewer name to see if there’s an obvious match — it’s worked a few times. AppBot Review emails remove a lot of the friction in determinig if there’s any possibility of contacting the user.
For example, last week I saw this review:
This app is great. It does exactly what I need it to do. If it would let me post to Twitter and/or Tumblr, it’d be perfect.
4 stars by mryerger for version 1.15.1
Only 4 stars for missing a feature we spent an enormus amount of time on, maybe it’s my fault for not making it more obvious, but I’d at least want to make sure he’s aware of it.
In the AppBot email, I can click on the username “mryerger” which links to a targeted google search for “mryerger” twitter OR facebook OR linkedin OR email. Yes, it’s only useful if the reviewer happens to use the same App Store username as their Twitter / Facebook handle, but in many cases, it’s true.
In this case the first result matched a Twitter profile that looked like a guy that might use Day One and leave a review, so I Tweeted him:
To which he quickly responded:
Until we have a proper way to contact users, as an app user, if you’d like to opt into receiving App Store review feedback, make your iTunes App Store “Nickname” the same as your @Twitter name.