How to retain customers and increase app revenue using reviews

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Anatoly Sharifulin
How to retain customers and increase app revenue using reviews

Table of Content:

  1. Why Respond to App Store and Google Play Reviews
  2. Which Reviews Impact Sales
  3. How to Set Up Customer Support
  4. How to Measure How Effective Replies Are
    • How to Start Working with Featured Reviews

It's hard for highly specialized niche apps to make it to the top of categories and acquire millions of users, but that hasn't stopped many of them from selling well and building trust with their users. Especially when it comes to subscriptions. Many users don't fully understand how subscriptions work and it can be hard to calm them down if they have any issues. That's no reason to look bad in front of potential customers and stunt your advertising revenue.

Our customer, the astrology services developer Yodha, managed to build a positive reputation in app stores by working with app reviews. The team forged such great relationships with their users in the exotic niche of astrology services that users' reviews are bringing in new customers.

Anton Zvyagintsev, CEO of Yodha, shares how to get reviews to sell your service for you and what to keep an eye on to prevent sales from slipping.

Everything in our niche depends on reviews – downloads, sales, customer retention, everything. ASO helps us improve our visibility in search results, which is good, but new users decide whether or not to download our app exclusively on current users' reviews.

Our astrologers work with users from across the world, but primarily from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India. This is a very demanding audience, so our job is to satisfy their requests so they keep coming back for repeat purchases. Repeat customers are our customer support team's main KPI.

Why Respond to App Store and Google Play Reviews

Our customers' LTV isn't very big and new users download the app based on what the reviews they read. Services like ours may have seemed iffy in the past when we couldn't respond to users in the App Store and Google Play Store. But now that we can, we're showing how professional we are and the level of customer service we provide. It's absolutely important that we reply to all feedback that we receive. Even a couple of bad reviews can have a notable negative impact on sales.

Negative review example in AppFollow

Which Reviews Impact Sales

People purchase our service based on other customers' experiences. The main way they see that is through Featured Reviews. Any negative review here leads to a drop in downloads and app revenue. That's why it's so important for us to reply to every review. It shows new users that we're there, ready to help them.

We noticed that Featured Reviews in the App Store change. If they only have positive things to say, we may intentionally forego releasing new features to avoid a drop in sales. The opposite is true, too. If a negative review hits the app page, we release a new version the same day to change up the Featured Reviews. 

App Store positive review example
Source: App Store

Before Google Play was revamped, our system worked there, too. But now Google displays 2 reviews: 1 positive and 1 negative. Replying to negative reviews now has more meaning because it's important to show that our company is powered by professionals who offer an exclusive service. Our response helps neutralize the negative review's impact on potential customers and app ads revenue.

Another way to combat a negative review is to shower it with positivity. Even after reading a negative review, users want to see other reviews. The most recent relevant reviews have to be all positive. One-off complaints get lost in the sea of positive reviews and don't ruin people's perception of the service.

Positive reviews example on Google Play
Source: Google Play

How to Set Up Customer Support

In order to satisfy all of our customers, we've automated our work with reviews as much as possible. We have our own CRM that receives user queries from app stores through the AppFollow API along with queries sent by e-mail and in-app. They're all sorted by ratings and the type of question. Each type has several response templates.

Our team is pretty small – only 8 support agents for 9 apps – but sorting and templates allow each of them to process a hundred queries per day. We can close tickets on feedback from app stores in 1-2 days. For a service app without a massive audience, that's more than good enough.

Ordinary queries are added to the customer's profile in our CRM. Unfortunately, without a user ID, we can't identify the user in the app store and add that particular query to their profile. That's why all reviews are stored separately.

Yodha team pic

How to Measure How Effective Replies Are

Turning a negative into a positive and cross-selling are the primary KPIs for our customer support team. But we don't look at indicators for reviews from app stores because of missing user IDs.

Users often leave 3-stars without writing a positive review. In those cases, we ask them to reconsider their rating. It's nice when users change their rating, but that's not the most important thing. What is important is that new users see that we're helping other users.

Negative review example in AppFollow

If you want to measure your team's performance, we recommend focusing on average ratings:

  • The overall average rating shows how your team is doing on the whole.
  • The rating by reviews is a measure of users' satisfaction.
  • The rating by featured reviews shows how positive the app's image is for potential users.
Yodha app ratings

In Yodha's case, reviews help with user acquisition. That's why featured reviews are important for them. This rating is higher than average for all of the developer's apps, which impacts the conversion rate for downloads (and purchases).

How to Start Working with Featured Reviews

If you've never replied to reviews in app stores before, featured reviews are the easiest place to start. There aren't many of them and they have a larger impact on download conversion. Users will read these reviews to see if you're legit and decide whether or not they'll download the app.

The trickiest part of dealing with these reviews is finding them in App Store Connect and Google Play Console because they don't highlight these reviews. If you use these consoles to reply to featured reviews, you'll spend an hour just looking for the reviews in one country (trust us, we timed it). AppFollow has a special button in the Ratings & Reviews section that displays only featured reviews so that you can reply to them right away:

AppFollow Review reply interface
The list shows featured reviews from all countries and their ranking in search results with Featured #1, #2, and so on. 

If you use help desk services or team chats, you'll get these reviews there. You'll be notified as soon as a featured review changes and can reply to it right in the help desk or chat:

AppFollow reply to review feature example

Reply templates don't work as well for featured reviews. Just imagine what potential users would think about the app or service as a whole if they scrolled through these reviews and saw the same response to each one?


Companies use reviews to tackle different challenges. One person might work on driving sales and ad revenue, another person might work on improving the product and learning how to calculate revenue, and another might focus on increasing the average rating, which is needed to acquire new users. Find out how reviews are affecting your product.

Don't know where to start? Ask our experts.

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