Standard real-world customer service principles apply here.
*How you respond shows prospective customers how you will treat them if things go bad.

*Positive review responses OPTIONAL. Brief thank you message to the reviewer.
*Negative review responses HIGHLY ENCOURAGED. A brief apology and gracious attempt to make it right.

The 9 Rules for Responding to Negative Reviews

1a. Don’t Freak Out!

1b. Don’t take negative reviews Personally.

1c. If you are freaking out, take a break or walk around the block, remember steps 1a & 1b. Everything will be fine.

2. Respond Promptly (within 24 hours).

3. Never be defensive in any way at all. Don’t give reasons why something happened. Don’t stress that “you strive to provide the utmost in customer service blah blah bullshit. THEY DONT WANT TO HEAR IT.

4. Be real. Talk in your real language and be nice. And cool. Don’t come across as “trying too hard”. Just be YOU.

5. Don’t give lame excuses. If the complaint was that you were not open on Wednesday but it was because your kitchen caught fire so you had to close – you could mention that. And then apologize. And then offer them a free breakfast next Wednesday cooked in your new kitchen. If the complaint was incompetent staff and it was because two people were in training – Don’t use that excuse at all. You should have done better and show some gratitude towards the review for letting you know you should do better. Then offer them a free breakfast next Wednesday. Get the picture?

6. Always be courteous, respectful, and polite – even if they are not. They are entitled to express their opinions.

7. Attempt to make things right for your customer. If you are the manager or owner, give them your email to contact you to make it right – or ask that they call or come in to speak to you personally. This is what they want. They want to be heard and respected and be treated that they matter – and that they matter to YOU!

8. Never be self-promoting in any way. Don’t suggest something or “sell” prospective customers. Sales-y language is very out-of-place here. And it will turn off others reading this review and your revenue will dry up.

9. Don’t be attached to any outcome. Just respond and move on – go back to doing a great job with your business.

If you need help and are freaking out – give us a call. We’re good with this stuff!