Reviews are not Support Requests

One of the biggest things missing in the iTunes App Store is the ability for the developer of an app to respond to complaints raised in the reviews section of their app.

We all know that the purpose of a review is to document an honest experience with a product. We all also should know that every app on the store has a support link, where customers are supposed to go to report any issues, errors or problems, or to ask questions of the developer.

In reality, customers don’t deal with support, they document issues as reviews on the App Store. And potential customers who read these reviews assume the app does not work, or is fatally flawed, or that the issue has not been dealt with, and do not purchase the application.

Reviews are a one way street in communication, customer to public. There is no way for the developer to respond that the issue may have been temporary, or that a server-side fix has been implemented or that the next version has been submitted that corrects this issue.

I know Apple ‘clears’ out reviews for each version release in a half-hearted attempt to sweep this under the version number carpet. I also know that several developers change their description top-lines to respond to reviews, but that usually puts potential customers off as they read about bug fixes first and not about the product.

So I ask, Apple, please add a feature that allows the developer, and only the developer, to kindly respond to the customer that they have heard their complaint, and are working diligently to fix it.

And if you are worried that some developers may abuse this feature, feel free to provide only a limited set of canned responses (We’re looking at it, fix is on the way, …) and a generous thank you to the customer for reporting the issue.

Posted By Hiltmon · Mar 21, 2011 11:13 AM