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Will Replying to User Reviews Benefit Developers?

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, July 27, 2012
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Bangalore: The Job of an app developer could be regarded as a backstage job as developers are disconnected from their customers. Android developers offer their apps to the online application store called Google Play from where Android mobile users can access these apps. Google Play is the top contender of Apple store in the online app market. In June Google gave Android developers the chance to interact with their consumers and took a step towards changing the scenario of android app business. The question arises whether Android Developers will be able to make use of this opportunity and benefit from it or will it backfire?

According to Peggy Albright, Android Developers have expertise in creative and programming skills, but they are not trained in building customer relations. In her article posted at Fierce Developer she mentions that if developers want to use this option provided by Google they need to be very careful while reacting on the customer feedback and reviews. The main aim of building a strong bond with their customer base should be clear in the minds of developers and they should act accordingly.

Google believes that communication between the user and the developer is a two way process, hence they way users can write reviews about the app, the developers should also get a chance to reply back to the customers. Customer feedback is helpful in understanding the needs of the user and improvising the app accordingly. Similarly feedback from the developer can help users understand the app better and in turn help satisfy the customers. Sometimes all that a user needs is just some guidance or clarification about the app. At times the developer might want to share a new feature of the app. This is possible if the developer gets a platform to interact with his customers.

Google has incorporated a comment option inside the Android Developer Console that is used by the developers to upload and update their apps. This comment feature is open to a few selected developers at the present, but soon it will be available to all developers. With this comment option, the developers can choose the particular customer review on which they wish to respond. Whenever they post a comment it will immediately be displayed on their applications review page right after the customer comment that they had chosen.

Although many developers might ignore this comment tool may be out of fear or simply disinterest, but those who do opt to use it, need to learn how to handle customer comments tactfully. Of course there are many ways to approach it, but the main objective behind these efforts stays the same. Developers need to devise a strategy for managing their communication with the customers because mishandling could lead to unhappy customers. Vijay Chattha, CEO and "chief talker" at VSCpr suggests that the developers should hire community manager that can come up with responses to user comments if there is a negative review, or if the developer finds it difficult to deal with the comments. If the customer lists a flaw in the app, the developer can fix it and inform the customer by posting a comment. Sometimes the developer may not completely understand the fault mentioned by the user. In such a case the developer needs to politely ask the user to explain the problem in detail.

Google has provided a valuable opportunity of communicating directly with customers to the Android developers. The developers need to make the right move and work hard if they wish to take advantage of this ability. What developers should realize is that with this option by Google, their work has become more transparent to their customers as well as partners.

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