Redmond-based software giant Microsoft announced earlier this month at the BUILD 2014 conference plans to provide application developers with the possibility to respond to user reviews, and the company has already kicked off the program, though in a pilot phase at the moment.
Starting with this week, developers who have been included in the pilot program will get the chance to enjoy the new feature, Microsoft announced, adding that more of them would be able to do so in the coming weeks.
Courtesy of the new addition, devs will have the possibility to reply to reviews of their Windows Phone applications straight from the Dev Center.
As soon as a response has been created, users will receive the comment via email, and they will also be provided with the possibility to contact developers directly, in the event that a support email address was included in the app submission “Support email address” metadata.
Through this feature, developers should be able to keep a closer contact with their users, while also being able to inform them on new additions to apps, as well as on fixes. Moreover, they will also get the chance to receive feedback on what can be improved in their software.
“This capability is not to be used for marketing and does not provide you as the developer with the user’s personal information, such as an email address,” Microsoft explains in a blog post.
For the time being, developers are provided only with the possibility to respond to reviews posted from Windows Phone 8.1 devices or to those coming from Windows Phone device in the US.
“Please keep in mind users may report developers who abuse this feature through the Report Concern form (accessible also from app details, shown below). If misused, Microsoft will revoke developer access,” the aforementioned blog post explains.
As mentioned above, the deployment of this feature starts this week for only a small group of developers who have been pre-selected to participate, so as to ensure that the feature works as intended.
“Assuming all goes as planned, we’ll begin scaling up participation in May with additional developers invited to participate each month. Invitations will be prioritized based on app downloads and the pace of the roll-out will be driven by user feedback,” Microsoft notes.
Developers need to nothing in order to participate, as accounts will be automatically enrolled in the program as it expands. Microsoft will also inform Windows Phone developers via email on the change.