Anyone out there managing their business's reputation knows that monitoring reviews can be exhausting and that finding the perfect way to answer each one can be mind numbing. Here's a short and helpful guide to responses. 

  1.  identify -   From the information given, can you determine who the customer is in your database? This will make the difference between being able to contact them or having to solicit a response in the review.
  2. Apologize -  If they took the time to review, it's likely that somehow expectations were not met. Note: apologizing doesn't necessarily admitting fault.  
  3. Take it Offline   - Let them know that you'll be calling to find out more information on what went wrong and appreciate their feedback in improving the business. If you can't tell who it is, list your contact information and ask for an outreach.
  4. Do Not Feed Trolls -  For 99% of negative reviews, the process above will either allow you to fix the problem that was caused or at least do your best. Some customers won't call to give feedback, but at least people looking at reviews will see you made an attempt to fix the situation. However, if a reviewer replies to response and wants to keep the debate online, they are likely baiting you into argument and should not be indulged. Fortunately this occurs very infrequently, but it's worth exercising caution.

That's it! By following the above guidelines you should be able to handle most negative reviews in a professional way that allows you to solve customer problems. I've listed a template below for a final example: 

 NAME, we're very sorry to hear about your experience with us. A member of our team will be reaching out [or/ from your review we can't determine your contact info. Please contact me directly at #] for more information to resolve the situation and to learn where we could improve. We really appreciate your time to let us know.

 Best of Luck!