Here are some tips I help coach my clients on:
1) Always respond – you never want to have a bad review go unnoticed.
2) Always offer to take the conversation off line – you don’t want to get into a back and forth in front of the whole world.
3) When you speak to the client (if they call) ask them what you can do to make it right for them.
4) Hear them out. Whether you think they are wrong or not, they just want to be heard. So give them the room to tell their side of the story. Ask questions so you fully understand their perspective.
5) Resolution comes when you can both agree on the outcome. It may not be everything they ask for but if they feel heard and respected they may appreciate what you come up with.
For creative resolutions I have seen people offer a free [whatever the service is] on the next visit. I have seen people offer to give the product or service at-cost — so they make no money but don’t lose money either.
I have seen businesses offer to absorb the current bill entirely. I have also seen companies offer a different service all together like a gift card to a massage or dinner as a way to thank the person for bringing the issue to their attention.
Largely though, what you come up with to make a client happy really depends on what the client is seeking in terms of resolution. So be willing to hear them and what to do next will be clearer.