Now, after more than two years, we can say the effort has paid off really well. Our rating in Google Play is a solid 4.6 and we’re trying to push it even further.
Answering problematic reviews in the right way is a key factor for your success. You need to use a little psychology and press the right buttons. If you don’t do it right, your chance to turn that low rating into a good review will be lost forever.
Here we’ll show you twelve proven answers we commonly use when replying bad reviews. They have been thoroughly tested. Try them, you’ll see the results immediately!
#1 DID YOU CHECK…?
Sometimes a user will leave a bad review because of a problem in the app without telling much about it. In those cases, a good approach is to pose a question while redirecting the person to a possible solution at the same time:
“Did you check the troubleshooting section?”
A question works better than an ordinary phrase. It makes the person realize he probably didn’t do what you’re asking. If you just write “Please check the troubleshooting section”, most people will ignore the advice.
Combine it with a touch of ‘psychological guilt’ and the chance to obtain a reaction will increase to the max:
“Did you check the troubleshooting section before giving a bad rating?”
In one sentence, you’re adding three factors that can provoke a reaction. A question that creates doubt. A possible solution that the user is likely to check. And an induced level of guilt that prompts to action.
#2 YOU ARE BLAMING THE APP TOO SOON
Other times, if you know exactly the cause of a problem and it’s not your fault, making a soft accusation is more effective:
“You are blaming the app too soon”
This creates doubt and guilt at the same time. Just after that, explain the reason of the problem and its solution. Use simple sentences. The simpler the answer, the higher the chance of reaction.
You’ll quickly see that the first sentence in your answer is always the most important. Think of it as a headline. If it doesn’t catch the user’s attention, the rest doesn’t matter.
#3 THIS IS NOT TRUE
When someone writes an angry review about something that is clearly wrong, say it loud and clear:
“This is not true”
And write the reason right after that.
Don’t be offensive. Don’t call anybody a liar. And don’t point fingers either. “This is not true” is neutral, but “You are wrong” is personal and can offend the person.
Use the right psychology as well. It’s much better to say “This is not true” than saying “This is false”. Positive adjectives always work better in the user’s mind.
Extreme politeness is not too effective in these cases. Be considerate but direct. A blunt but respectful answer is more likely to catch the user off guard and make him think twice.
And remember that your answer is not only for that single person. Many other potential users will read your answers on the store. It’s in your best interest to correct wrong assertions as soon as possible.
#4 THERE WAS NO NEED…
Sometimes a user can give a low rating just to draw your attention. For example, asking for support through the review. Or explaining a simple problem that can be easily solved.
If this is the case, let them know their review is unfair and not the proper way to ask for help:
“There was no need to leave a low rating for this”
The phrase inserts a level of guilt and strongly states that the user’s approach is not the most adequate.
In any case, the person is looking for a quick solution to a problem. So here it can be more important to start your answer with the solution. Then finish with the proposed phrase:
“This happens because XXX. There was no need to leave a low rating for this”
Depending on the tone of the review, you can add a respectful “Thanks” or “We’re here to help”.
#5 WE HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND
You can use this phrase after explaining something that cannot be changed in the app:
“We can’t change this because it’s a setting from the device. We hope you understand”
The last part is a way of asking the user to be more understanding without sounding too aggressive. If you said “You need to understand” instead, it would appear too bossy.
As an alternative, you could say “Thanks for your understanding” as well.
#6 ONLY BIG COMPANIES…
From time to time, someone will leave a bad review just because your app is not totally free or shows ads. They wrongly believe that everything on their mobiles should be downloadable for free.
You’ll have to explain in a clear manner why this cannot happen in your app:
“Only big companies with big money can offer apps totally for free. We are a small team and need to make the business side work in order to keep developing the app”
Add a “We hope you understand” at the end and you’ll have a clear answer that is very likely to make the user think twice.
#7 FOR FUTURE OCCASIONS…
Similar to #4, if a person leaves an angry review for something that can be easily solved, you can end your explanations with:
“For future occasions, please contact through email before…”
And write the thing you’d like the user to change, like:
“…before giving a low rating” or “…before making such comments”
When that person reads the answer, chances are he will change the review. And probably he won’t make the same unintentional mistake again.
#8 BASED ON YOUR PREVIOUS REVIEWS…
Occasionally, you’ll find a particular user that will always complain about something. He may even use the blackmail method to make you implement his suggestions. You’ll see him popping up time after time with a complaint and a one-star rating.
You already know he will never be satisfied and you need to let him know as well:
“Based on your previous reviews, it’s already clear that you will always find a reason to give one star”
You can finish with a tolerant statement:
“If you want to give a chance to your suggestions, please be more considerate”
Or with a more definitive one:
“As a result, your suggestions will not be taken into account. We hope you understand”
With the last one, we’ve been able to turn the most unreasonable comments into good reviews.
#9 GIVE US THE CHANCE
Some people may leave a truly angry review without even asking for help. They encountered a problem but instead of giving details they just close all possibility of dialog.
Let them know you’ve always been willing to help. But stressing the fact that they need to give you the opportunity to do it:
“All problems have solutions. We can help, but only if you give us the chance”
The answer is respectful but clearly remarks that the user should be more receptive. Making a rant and walking away never solved a problem.
#10 WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE…?
Other times, instead of a problem there might just be something a person didn’t like from the app. If they don’t tell what it is, ask directly:
“What would you like to change?” or “What would you like to add?”
You can add a bit of ‘psychological guilt’:
“If you don’t give us more details, we can’t change the thing you didn’t like”
That’s an obvious statement, but creates the desired effect.
#11 AND WHY NOT…?
This one is very powerful but a bit aggressive. You should only use it to answer those very impolite reviews where a person leaves the lowest rating and doesn’t explain anything.
For example, if a user just writes “Trash”, “Waste of space” or worse, you can answer:
“And why not tell the reason? Don’t you think it would be better for everyone?”
Use it this way and a response from the reviewer is almost guaranteed. After receiving more feedback, you have your chance to solve the problem or calm the user.
In any case, our advice is to remove the provoking question after receiving the new feedback. It’s a kind of answer other store visitors don’t need to see.
#12 USER REPORTED TO GOOGLE
Finally, we need a way to deal with troll reviews. You know, when someone leaves a 1-star rating and says “Good” or “Like it”.
Being too nice doesn’t have any effect here. If the intention was to troll you, a nice comment won’t change a thing.
One simple answer that gives good results is:
“User reported to Google”
For the moment, no one has been reported. But there’s a high chance that the troll will get scared and the review will disappear.
Remember the following:
- The first sentence in your answer is the most important. Sometimes it’s better to skip saying “Hi” in order to get your message through.
- Remember that many other store visitors will see your answer. Write your words with them in mind.
- Psychology plays an important role. Each person is different and may need a different approach. Pay attention to the tone of the reviewer.
- Combine different answers to achieve a more powerful effect.
- When a user leaves a 1-star review, they surrender all their negotiation power all at once. You have the freedom to experiment different approaches. But always experiment respectfully.
And the most important advice of all:
If a bad review is well-deserved and respectful, thank the user for his honest feedback. He’s doing you a great favor by giving you constructive criticism. It’s the best way your project can improve.
Try these answers for a while and you’ll be able to turn bad reviews into good reviews. And don’t forget to tell us all about it. More developers can benefit from your experience!