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Windows Phone devs, responding to reviews boosts your ratings

A month ago Microsoft gave Windows Phone developers the ability to respond to Store reviews. This was a new feature welcomed by the developer community as it gave them a way to address misinformed reviews or customer complaints. Now a month later, Microsoft has shared some details on the success of the program so far. For example, most developers see an average star rating increase of +1.2 when they respond to reviews.

Since rolling out the feature, Microsoft has seen a quick adoption by the Windows Phone developer community. Respond to reviews allows for increased customer satisfaction and better ratings overall. Here are three things observed by Microsoft since launching the program:

  • Since launch, almost 20% of all developers have responded to at least one customer review
  • 5% of customers update their app review after receiving a developer response
  • Developers see an average increase of +1.2 stars in their app rating when they use this capability to respond to questions and inform customers of updates to their app. This shows that both customers and developers are benefiting from this communication

The ability to respond to customer reviews in an inappropriate manner can result in user complaints. Which is why Microsoft is updating their guidelines for developers responding to user review:

  • Don't include any marketing content or ads in your response: your reviewer is already your customer.
  • Don't promote other apps or services in your response
  • Your response should be directly related to a specific app and review. Duplicating the same response to a large number of users is not allowed if the canned response doesn't address the same question
  • Don't include any profane, aggressive, personal, or malicious comments in your response. Always be polite and keep in mind that happy customers will likely be your app's biggest promoters.

Some nice insights into how the program has been doing since launch. Hey devs, let us know what you think of the program so far!

Source: Building Apps for Windows

73 Comments
  • They should give me the option to respond to device updates .. would tell them a little about 0x80188308 error
  • Check out "Diagnostics" for Windows Phone http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=93a560c9-1b50-41d1-b605-431ef28b7e80
  • Who is going to mind getting in ask this you've to deliver these errors? They must already know, cause the errors are usual and are started a lot
  • Thank you for sharing me this app
  • I finally gave in and flashed my phone last week. Not many applications saved their settings - in fact I've only found one app so far (apart from the default apps which restored very well) that returned the same as before. The actual flashing process was very fast. But the restore process took some hours (my phone was full with over 500 apps). So I'm sure this will vary considerably. Anyway, I then installed the next DP. See what happens when Denim is released.
  • 500!!? Wow.
  • This is EXACTLY the major problem of WP and W8 tablets: STORAGE. Microsoft think that both OS's will soon be #2 or even #1... bull. Microsoft will become insignifiant in 2-3 years... if they continue to focus on PRESERVING the status quo: Making money. Microsoft is removing features from devices and OS's  - HOPING that they will be able to sell... something else. They removed Radio FM - hoping they will sell music - XBox Music ended beeing a total fiasco - and they refused to add it back for too much time. People LOVE Radio FM. They STILL refuse to add multiple USB's  on tablets (phones) with a complete OTG features implemented - thinking that people will use Tablets and Phones instead of Laptops - Did MS sell more Windows Licenses ? NO - they ended giving away the OS for free. They STILL refuse to allow (OEM deals) HDMI on tablets (they could put it in minimum requirement at OS/Hardware level)... thinkin that people will not buy "real" computers. They refuse to put sufficient FLASH on tablets - STILL playing as #3 player same LAME "storage war" with iOS and Android. Apple and Google PAY MS for each mB of flash - because MS owns FAT and NTFS (used in flash). MS thinks that people will buy OneDrive storage - MS will end up in 6-12 months to give 100 GB of storare FOR FREE... (Soon Congress will pass the law that will not force organisations to keep for extendet periods of time the personal infos) - there are 10-15 PB (PETA B - P > T) - THIS alone will make Cloud Storage cheapper than HDD) They refuse to put sufficient RAM in tablets - making imposible for users to use - really use - the tablets.   I have a Lumia with a VERY GOOD camera... and basically NO Flash Storage - and for that I take few pictures - basically... I bought a SmartPhone and I can't use it.... I want to test and install lots of apps... but I can't.... nema storage...    Way to go MS - keep playing this lame game - Followers ... dye ...
  • That's a lot of words to make no good points.
  • This is why I buy the most powerful laptop I can whenever I update. I stay ahead of the needs of future software resources. Computers should be released to handle anything at least up to two years. But they always seem to be playing catch-up. Right now 8-16gb is sufficient. 6gb or less and you start to lag during normal browsing operations. I think that things should be released in advance to be prepared. But they'll lose money.... Money money money. .
  • To be more clear... Whenever I have FireFox open with a dozen or so tabs and im listening to music through iTunes im already using 60% of my 6GB and lag starts to happen. We should only need to utilize half of what we have of memory at max. Whether its RAM or HDD. Using less than half will keep the machine running smoothly. So we need more! Dont give us just enough to max out. Then our laptops burn out. But thats what u want. See im smart. My friends laptops last like a year. After 3-5 years my laptops or anything are still in brand new 100% shape. Whoever I sell them to don't believe how old they are. You need to learn how to not push your equipment too far and always keep components at a cool temp. But anyways. Thats what I think anyways. Speaking from experience.
  • I can't see that in store
  • You must have WP 8.1
  • Forest...
  • Forrest ....
  • I responded to one of my reviews and discovered the guy was extremely nice. He asked if I could inform him about any new apps I make.
  • Developers really are normal, nice people too! ;-)
  • Customers. He is a developer. He's talking about a user
  • That's true. That happened to me.
  • I'm loving this feature! It's already helped me clarify user feedback.
  • I can confirm that being able to respond definitely improves ratings. I launched a weather app a couple weeks back and there were about 4 ratings under 4. I replied to those with an explanation of how to do what they wanted and all are now 5 stars.
  • What's the app name?
  • It is WeatherSA, which WPC covered here: http://m.wpcentral.com/africaweather-gets-official-app-windows-phone-wea...
  • That's a very nice looking app, no plans to expand to U.S. market?
  • Thanks! It's for a client of mine though, and their whole business is Africa. So I doubt it unfortunately.
  • This happened with the converge developer. I left a negative review and he responded back kindly so I updated the review
  • Same. He was very good
  • How do the responses look like when they reply? Is it like a text message?
  • Nope, you will have a sense of vibration into your pant ;) Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • I love when devs interact with their customers in a positive way. Might be buying more apps if I see a dev responded (if they are made public)
  • Att app has not responded to the shouts of its customer ! That app never works!
  • Gameloft don't care. :(
  • Cameloft makes great games that are for 5 stars, they can't just reply to reviews like "make it free" rating games with 1 star!
  • Gameloft make bugged games and never patch unobtainable achievements.
    They deserve every bad review they get.
  • Gameloft cares... only if you buy.
  • Excellent feature to have - makes the review and complaint process at least marginally transparent, and hopefully more honest. Glad to see this implemented.
  • True, so happy I can respond. I'm not sure if all the reviewers get notified about my response though. One d-bag still wont change his 1 star rating even though in his email to me he said my app is amazing :'(
  • Well, he may not di out on purpose. For example I was having a polite conversation with an app dev and he helped me really well to understand how it works, whereas before I didn't and rated with 1 star. I forgot to rate 5 stars though, and I just did! ^^
  • There should be able to be a link that developers can put in their emails that bring them directly to the re-rate page
  • That's actually a really good idea! You should post it on the suggestion box!
  • FYI, I went to change a rating and even though I kept hitting the submit button it still would default back to my old rating along with my old text...in your rater's defense he might be experiencing the same issue I did.  I was going to give it a couple days to see if it works but haven't checked yet.
  • I just got a reply to my review on a closed beta Tumblr app I'm testing-- it's really great to be able to keep in touch with devs this way!
  • A tumblr app? Really? Can you please give me more informations about it?
  • Awesome news. But it must suck to deal with those morons who leave 1 star rating for some minor issues and non-issues.
  • It does suck. And there are many.
  • Well Rudy may be a good developer, but he has never acknowledged an email that I have sent telling him about bugs in TV Show. He has left that app to rot. So every developer can improve when it comes to customer interaction.
  • most of these guys make no money. I don't know about the rudy guy, but I assume he's the exception to the mobile developer fail story.
  • Also 6tag. Where are video filters? And why can't we upload prerecorded vidoes yet? Lol. He keeps taking on new projects, I think he should finish the old ones first. Just my two cents :P
  • Hahaha :D he forgets about his unfinished projects :D bad student or a stoner!!! Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • I tend to cut devs some slack with regards to communication. Usually it's just one person responding to a sea of emails, tweets, review comments, reddit posts, etc. I could see it getting overwhelming very quickly.
  • I have two ratings, 5 stars and  no rating at all, keeps the app clean. I use dev's mail to give feedback.. Take that as an advice :)
  • Microsoft facebook app developers don't give a duck about my feedback! Mailing them for years to please show the whole god damn timeline. 0 response, 0 improvements.
  • I'd like to see pictures in comments.
  • I like this. I got a couple responses from a couple developers for a couple apps. Quick responses and issues were addressed.
  • iTrade app, great app that I thought was missing a few key features so I gave it a 3 star.  Dev emailed me and listed how to get those features out of his app that were in fact built-in, I changed it to a five.  Very impressed by this feature.  I don't know if this is a feature with iOS but I would guess the devs there wouldnt do this program due to the sheer number of users on iOS?
     
  • I'm glad this is there. People are so dang demanding these days and they have that right. But sometimes there are inappropriate expectations and those skew expectations for what is actually promised for the specific product. Feedback never hurts. And ratings can be tied to whether or not a incentivized developer even gets paid. So being fair makes a difference between good and bad.
  • I just like reviewing when I feel like doing it, I just hate it when apps show a pop up asking for a review, I like going at my rhythm, if I really like an app,I just review it
  • Its a good feature but sometimes the users also need to cooperate. A couple of users have given a 1star rating to my app because they wanted a missing feature. When I updated the app and replied to their review, they never bothered responding back
  • That's pretty common. I have used this feature a bit and it's too early to say if it helps. I have always provided an in-app email to give me feedback or ask questions and so on. But users continually used the review system to comment on their misunderstanding or problems, which I could never respond to. Now there is a chance to improve that. And maybe also point out to those users that write something like ' love it' or ' great app' but give 1 star. Many users are just so rude... particularly in the Chinese market...
  • Exactly! Sometimes I feel there is also a need to educate the users about the star system. 1-star rating with a feedback of "excellent app" is a waste
  • Sounds good
  • So all the developers are here.
    I have an Idea.
    Whatsapp is an open source platform. Why not anyone make a whatsapp client?
    I have seen a few in Android. Its an open source platform. So, a client can be developed.
  • Sorry, but WhatsApp's source code is closed and not open.
  • Lumia 1520
    I can tell you how much dev response meant to me. Last month an app called 8.1 HD tiles went down and suddenly wanted to be paid to just do an update. I loved the app and so left a polite well worded review. The dev team reached out to myself and many others and set up a private beta. Works excellent and was quick and painless. The dev team was smart and professional. I work for Microsoft and had to rave about the service on the Windows phone yammer page. To the dev team for 8.1 HD tiles well done :D
  • I mailed metrotube developer with a few suggestions and feature request and they responded to me very nicely. They even told that they are planning to have those in the next update. And one question I have, Why can't I see my review in the store? And even scrolling through all the reviews, I can't see mine. Weird.
  • Me neither. And it's always the same reviews are displayed
  • Why doesn't MS study android and ios?This feature was already the in those stores. Still nice work but seems slower.
  • Its nice to respond user reviews and it shows microsoft listens what Developer wants. But other users cant see the respond and if user dont change review new users think that problem doesnt fixed. I think Android reviews are best. Because its like chat at store and everyone can see messages. This feature is nice but have to developed.
  • Has this been made public to all developers. No right?
  • I don't have such an experience. Although I have pretty good ratings (Share to Speech app) so many of them can't be boosted, in all situations where they can I have responded and nothing has changed. Even in one case where I've got 1 star for selling universal pack at the same price like it is sold in the desktop (which is per rules and I have freemium Lite version where one doesn't have to buy the whole pack), nothing changed just review was updated that he bought the app anyway but he doesn't like what he says. In most cases of lower rankings people use ratings to blackmail developers to do whatever they want even if it is nonsense.
  • This is believable being that communication along with good development is the key to customer satisfaction when it comes to apps. Can't wait until I release my apps (:
  • Good! I hope they listen and finally give us a bone to update Instagram BETA! They have done nothing with the app since its last update in spring.
  • This is a really nice feature
  • Now there is no subway surfer app in Google store....haha...!