Whether it's on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, or any other popular social website, it never excites a business to receive a bad review. It doesn't help the business, in fact it may be detrimental if enough people see the bad review and affects them to not visit based on what they read.
Negative reviews are unavoidable because there are times that not everyone can be happy in a given situation or it may even be a competitor trying to bring the business down. It becomes easier than one might think to make online content go viral. A bad review about your business that goes viral can put a permanent stain on the brand's reputation.
There are 3 basic ways to play damage control upon receiving a negative review:
1) Publicly & Quickly Respond
Now is not the time to send the person a private message through Facebook or Twitter in order for other customers not to see any future interaction. Responding out in public so the rest of your fan base can see what transpires will mean a lot to your customers. This shows that you care and that you are not worried about one negative comment. It displays confidence in what you are selling.
There are no excuses when responding to a customer because that might start a firestorm with other customers. People understand and appreciate when business own up to their mistakes, rather than putting the pressure back on the customer. Be sure to address the situation right away before others join in on the fight and make matters that much worse.
2) Do Your Research
As hard as this might be, take the negative words and turn them in to a positive by learning from them. Change your processes or whatever side of the business it takes to prohibit similar customer experiences from occurring again. Even if the customer is lying, pretend they are not and prevent similar situations from ever happening.
Research the specific problem with your employees or whoever was involved to get the full story. As you put yourself in the customer's situation, analyze what can be done better in order to stop these unfortunate experiences from happening again.
3) Encourage Good Reviews
This might sound disingenuous or selfish, but the reality is that many customers don't even think about giving reviews unless they have a really terrible experience. As the saying goes, if someone has a good experience with a business they tend to tell one person, however someone with a bad experience tells nine people. This shows that with a little bit of effort, good reviews will start to pick up and outweigh the limited number of negative postings.
Be yourself and keep your cool. Believe it or not, a great response to a negative review can bring that customer back and make them extremely loyal after knowing how much personal effort was put in to cater to their needs.