For more than 8 years, the Apple App Store has been stocked with tiny, on-demand programs… and literally nothing else. With the release of iOS 10.3, the App Store gained some long-awaited B2C functionality and developers across the planet are rejoicing. But, who would’ve thought software developers would celebrate adding ‘customer service representative’ to the end of their title?
A Welcome Addition
While customer service duties don’t seem beneficial at first glance, the development community has been wishing for them for almost a decade. As long as the Apple App Store has been around, users have been able to rate apps and publish reviews, but developers were silenced. They’ve never been able to respond to frustrated customers – at least not in the same forum as the original complaint. This inability eradicated any sense of community within the app store and kept users blind to software updates they may have inspired.
How Developers Access Reviews
With the release of iOS 10.3, developers can now reply directly to user reviews from the comfort of iTunes Connect (the App Store admin portal they already use). Developers can find and respond to reviews by going to App > Activity > Ratings in their dashboard.
The UX Behind iOS 10.3
Users will be notified when a developer responds to their review via email. After viewing the response, users can mark their feedback as helpful or not, report a concern, and/or update their initial review.
Convenient and Limited Solicitation
Developers have also gained a new way to ask for user feedback. With the SKStoreReviewController API, developers can ask users actively using their app to leave a review without being redirected to the App Store. This feature will allow developers to gather more quality reviews from a larger audience, but it will also limit the number of prompts they’re allowed to deploy. In fact, they’ll only be able to ask for a review 3 times per year! Though this restriction is limiting, it’s quite necessary thanks to developers who abused their review solicitation rights in the past.
Violators Will Be Prosecuted
As one would expect, developers are not allowed to alter reviews or encourage users to leave feedback with incentives. Developers who try to bribe users to leave reviews with perks will certainly face repercussions, but we have yet to see what their punishment will be.
We look forward to seeing how this new update improves user retention and influences mobile strategy between now and the release of iOS 11.0. If your company needs help getting caught up or launching its first app, reach out the 7T team today.