If you’re a developer or an app-marketer, there’s nothing you hate more than 1-star reviews. Unless it is Google’s fault that you have got unintentional 1-star ratings (the suggestion to Google for which has been written by Deepak Abbot here), it is upon us to deal with the 1-star reviews that affect our app and business. Here are four of my favorite techniques that have proven to help me across apps:

1. Be on-your-feet to fix problems or at least to express genuine concern

For all the frequent problems that have a quick fix, it’s advisable to be ready with the fix. If it is something that can’t be handled in the review’s replies, have canned responses ready. Not just plain canned responses but those that are always personalized for the addressed person and case, before being posted. And of course, not just having 1 or 3 canned responses handy, it’s recommended to have at least 20. You don’t want to come off as a bot while talking to a disgruntled app user.

2. Have a turnaround deadline of 10 minutes.

This is a must and your best chance of getting 1-star reviews converted or removed. People have rated 1-star as they’re angry or disappointed because the product hasn’t fulfilled its promise. Fix their problem or at least mood right away and they’ll always respect you as a brand that cares. Here’s how to ensure you get notified of every 1-star rating you get:

  1. Go to Settings on Google Play Console on your desktop


2. Click on Preferences


3. Choose to get notified of 1-star reviews on web as well as email.


3. Have a direct conversation with these people if possible. Listen and empathise.

This is especially possible if you are an e-commerce company. If you can identify these people by their names against their reviews, nothing like it. Have a good customer success professional call them up or email them. Note that the purpose of this is not to tackle the rating. This is not about the rating. This is about the experience they have had which has led to the rating. Call these people and hear them out. In painful detail. Let them rant. And do empathize with them at every step. Half of people’s grievances disappear just by having someone to hear them out. Once they rant it out, they’ll be at a little more peace. And mind this, never defend your app or company on this call. Apologize if you were wrong. Empathize even if you think you weren’t.

4. Spot the problem areas and work on them

It is easy to lose sight of what the review system is, once you are neck-deep into the process. The Play Store rating system is a feedback mechanism, for the app and the business. Use the bad reviews to figure out what your valued users are getting affected by. And always take negative reviews seriously. This Groove customer support blogpost says quite aptly, 1 complaint means 26 angry customers.

5. Bonus: Get more positive reviews!

Don’t forget to nudge your users just after every delightful experience you delivered, to rate you on the Play Store. Remember, that an overall rating does not drop just due to the bad rating given by disappointed customers, but also because of happy customers who never thought of leaving a review.

If you have used any other effective techniques to better your Play Store or App Store reviews, I would love to know. Feel free to add them in the comments!