Follow the advice of  Johnny Mercer’s great song when it comes to working social media channels like Yelp.

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

Do a self-check. It’s hard to take criticism and it could be that the customer is being a pill that day, but still be mindful and aware of the feedback you are getting.  When you see a forlorn face at the  counter or the customer sends back his breakfast untouched, ask yourself whether this is a situation you can do something about proactively — right now.  Taking action with intention and humor could  prevent a bad Yelp review — in the future.

Don’t ignore negative reviews. Instead respond with an explanation and offer to make things right. Perhaps offer the disgruntled customer a free desert  or another perk next time they are in.

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

Invite customers  to spread the joy. Ask your repeat customers who like you to say something nice. Make a humble request: “If you like what we are doing and you feel so moved, please let others know on Yelp or the other social networks you use. ” Put a sign on your counter: “We love your feedback” and list  the social networks you are on. By the way, if you have a Facebook page, use it or really you will “lose it” and any benefits it could bring to your business.

Get to know who your customers are. Set up a Do It Yourself Listening Campaign. Pay attention to what  is being said on the web. There is gold in those posts. Set up a Google alert on your business name and follow the feedback that your connected customers are posting. When they use their real names, remember them.

Evidence is mounting that when you respond to feedback  received on social media, you could be winning a customer back.  A Right Now Retail Consumer Report conducted over the holidays found:

68% of consumers who posted a complaint or negative review on a social networking or ratings/reviews site after a negative holiday shopping experience got a response from the retailer. Of those, 18% turned into loyal customers and bought more.

The survey found that when a retailer posted a reply or response to a negative review, it made a difference to the customers.

33% turned around and posted a positive review.
34% deleted their original negative review.

So surprise your customers and accentuate the positive. Above all be committed to accepting, responding and adapting to feedback. You want your brand to mean excellent customer service. Like Aretha Franklin sings, “Don’t mess with Mister In-Between.”