Through sites like Yelp, word-of-mouth about nail salons now reaches millions of people online in a matter of seconds. “If you’re diligent in monitoring and responding diplomatically to your reviews, you will reap the benefits,” say Morgan Remmers, manager of local business outreach at Yelp. “Once you claim your free business account (at, Yelp gives you access to a suite of free tools, allowing you to connect with customers who have left reviews about your business.” When presented with a new review about your nail salon, Remmers offers these tips on how best to respond.

1. Decide how you want to connect. In your Yelp Business Account, just below each review, you’ll see options to either send a private message or post a public comment to that customer. Sending a private message is much like sending someone a personal e-mail and goes directly to the reviewer. A public comment, when used properly, is your best PR tool as your comment posts directly below the consumer’s review for the public to see.

2. Choose the tool best suited for the job. A private message is best used to thank patrons for writing a positive review and is also a good first step to get more information from a customer about a less-than-positive experience. A good use of the public commenting tool is to state your business’s policy or to clarify any inaccuracies.

3. Craft a response you can be proud of. Regardless of whether you are sending a private message or posting a public comment, respond diplomatically. Thank the reviewer for her feedback and state your policy where appropriate. Sometimes customers will even update their review after being approached by a business owner who uses Yelp’s messaging tools properly.

4. Don’t obsess. Keep in mind that consumers are looking at the big picture about your business, so don’t focus or obsess over any single review. It’s also great to pay some attention to happy customers by sending them a quick message thanking them for taking the time to write a positive review.

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