You've received a negative review online. Now what? First of all, congratulations on even being aware you got one! How many businesses remain unaware that their business is on Yelp and not to favorably at that! If you're now trying to figure out what to do next, here's a few tips to keep things in perspective for you.
STEP ONE: First things first and that's to get the attitude right about complaints and problems. You must see problems as opportunities. In Grant Cardone's book, The 10X Rule, you will understand "successful people see all situations - even problems and complaints as opportunities." Every successful person, from Jesus Christ to Kim Kardashian has had complaints and bad reviews. In fact while both of these individuals enjoy success right now, they also experience bad reviews, criticism and haters. Complaints, and in this case, bad reviews online are an opportunity for you and your company to shine. Unless you think of it this way, as an opportunity, you're doomed from the start.
STEP TWO: Respond quickly and publicly. Once you get a bad review online, the most important thing to do is to respond. Respond quickly and respond publicly. Make sure not just the reviewer knows but the rest of cyberspace knows that you're aware of the complaint. If you don't respond, then it will automatically be considered true and real. Doing nothing in this case is an admission of guilt. By taking the time to respond, it shows transparency and interest. It show's you're paying attention and that you care about your client base.
STEP THREE: Respond kindly. Look, it doesn't matter if the bad review is blown out of proportion, exaggerated or it honestly didn't happen that way, if it's up on Yelp or any consumer forum, then it happened. Car dealers know this all to well. Keep in mind, the customer who is reading the review. You cannot hope that they will take it with a grain of salt. Your response will need to be one that comes from a place of genuine service and empathy. Grant Cardone's book "Sell Or Be Sold" tells us that you are in the people business, not the "X" business. Your response should be directed at servicing the client. Ask yourself this one simple question. "If this happened to me or one of my close family members, how would I like to be responded to?"
STEP FOUR: Respond willingly. You want to respond willingly. Willing to fix it, grow as a company, and learn about your market and clients. The most important part though is to make sure you take care of the client. That the client hears loud and clear from you that you hear them, that you understand and are willing to work to find a resolution. This may require a slice of humble crow pie on your part, but this will show your clients and future clients that your business is not to big to take care of everyone and that you legitimately care about your business and your customers.
LASTLY: Take action. If the complaint or bad review has exposed an Achilles's Heel for your company, then fix it. A broken process is like a leak in a damn, it will grow and it will break. Simply assume, if someone went online about it this one time, then how many other times has it happened where someone didn't go online about it? Remember, this is an opportunity for growth and development. Use this to make the experience of doing business with your company better for everyone in the future.