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The best way to resolve negative reviewsand prevent them in the first place

Last week, we discussed some of the best ways to sharpen up your app’s marketing for free. We mentioned the benefits of managing your negative reviews. This week, we’ll dive deeper into how to do that, both by preventing negative reviews, and by resolving them.

Prevention is key

The very best way to deal with negative reviews is not to have too many in the first place. Of course, developing a great product in the first place will help with that. Another key prevention method is to have a great customer response team, and to have the contact information for that team everywhere.

A huge number of negative reviews are only posted because the user cannot get their issue resolved. Never forget: your average user is a busy person. If they have trouble finding your contact information, they will simply leave a review instead.

Another way to prevent too many negative reviews is to make sure they are balanced out with positive reviews. You can invite users to provide feedback via email, and use that to “filter them”. If they provide negative feedback, send them to your customer support team. If they provide positive feedback, ask them to leave an honest review.

Resolving negative reviews on the App Store

Unfortunately, the App Store does not allow you to directly respond to user’s negative reviews. This not only means you can’t address the problems they are referencing publically, it also makes it much harder for you to get ahold of them.

The first thing you should do is try to see if it’s feasible to find the user. Sort through your support logs and see if there’s a chance their username matches an email you received recently. That may be your best shot at reaching out again. Once you start communicating with the customer and letting them know their voice is heard, you are much more likely to get their problem resolvedand their negative review.

The second thing to do is to read through the review and see if you could get it flagged as inappropriate. Is their offensive language in the review? Is the review actually for a different app? Is there evidence that the review is from one of your competitors? If you even suspect one of these could be the case, you should contact Apple. You can do this by clicking “Report a concern” next to the review. You can also email Apple directly in iTunes connect via Contact Us > App Store Questions > Customer Reviews > Specific Removal Request. If you think you might have a case against the review, then it’s always worth responding to. 

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Review flags in the App Store. Source: StackExchange.

Note: iOS 10.3 will allow developers to respond directly to negative reviews, but its release date is still unknown.

Resolving negative reviews on Google play

Similarly to the App Store, you can flag reviews on Google Play as inappropriate. Their review policy is the same as their commenting policy, and you can find the full list here. In general, if the review is offensive or off-topic, there’s a good chance you can get it removed. Just click the flag icon if you are on your computer, or the dotted menu link next to the review, if you are on Android.

Unlike the App Store, you can also respond directly to negative reviews, which may eventually lead to their removal. At the very least, it will show your hands-on approach to others who might be considering downloading your app.

If the problem is a quick fix, let the user know directly in your reply. This will ensure that other users with the same problem have immediate access to the solution. If you are not sure how to solve the problem, refer them to your support team.

Remember, replying “thank you” for positive reviews is also a great idea. People love knowing their feedback matters, good or bad. It give users the sense that you are attentive and heavily involved with your product, and it may motivate others to leave a positive review in hopes of a reply.

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Responding to reviews in Google Play. Source: BGR.


As you work through negative reviews, it’s important to accept that you can’t fix everything. Sometimes, no matter how great the product you build, no matter how responsive your customer care team is, and no matter how many positive reviews you garner, someone will still be upset.

Don’t get too caught up on that one review that was in your opinion, deeply unfair. Instead focus on the big picture and be honest with yourself about what actions you can take.

One Comment

  • It happens to just about every company at some point. Someone leaves a negative or 1-star review online, bringing your total rating down a few notches. Or worse, that 1-star rating might be your only rating! Whether the negative review was left by an unhappy customer, a disgruntled employee, or a competing company, unless you have a lot of excellent reviews to offset that bad one, it’s going to hurt your business.

    So what can you do if you get a negative review? Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you can do and what you absolutely should NEVER do: (don’t worry, it’s free info!)

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