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Case Study: Responding Promptly and Professionally to a Crazy Yelper

You can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try.

This is a valuable lesson that often stings as you learn it – especially if you’re a business owner doing everything you can to make a customer happy. There will always be someone out there who’s crazy. Who’s impossible. Who can’t be happy with whatever you do. Who’s just a total hater. You make compromises, you offer compliments, you send out an apology, you have your employees go out of their way to turn the frown into a smile – yet nothing still happens. The hater’s still hating.

The most frustrating part? You’re monitoring online reviews one day and suddenly you realize that they’ve given you a one-star Yelp review. With words and phrases like “WORST service EVER” or “I’ll NEVER come back here AGAIN” – punctuated with a dozen exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!) and doused in haterade.

This is exactly what happened to Lincolnshire-based home theater installation company Hooked Up Installs, whose 4.5-star average rating on Yelp has been tainted by the one-star rating given by Yelper Mona D. Fortunately, Hooked Up Installs President and founder Brent Metz is one cool cat. Always seeking to give clients the best possible service in home entertainment – and unfazed by the negativity oozing out of his unhappy customer – Brent responded to the bad Yelp review in a way that, hopefully, more business owners can learn from. Read on to find out how he handled the situation.

Case Study: Responding Promptly and Professionally to a Crazy Yelper

Biz Owner Responds Promptly and Professionally

Business performing the amazingness: Hooked Up Installs, a Lincolnshire company specializing in electronics and home theater installations. Established by Brent Metz in 2005, Hooked Up Installs has a Yelp page that’s so far collected glowing reviews and consistent 5-star ratings from happy customers. (Except for one, that is…)

Review site involved: Yelp.

What happened: Well, it’s a long story, told and re-told by both sides for all the Internet-surfing, Yelp-consulting world to see. Reviewer Mona D. had a home theater system installed by Tweeter (a now defunct retail chain), and when she encountered a problem with it, she called Hooked Up Installs. While vague about what kind of experience she had with the new installers, Mona obviously did not like the service.

“Awful service with no competence,” she wrote. “They treated us so badly (that) I even resorted to making a consumer complaint with various government authorities. Of course, they had the time to cash my check for service that was incomplete and substandard. Never AGAIN!”

How the business owner responded: Recognizing the need to tell his side of the story, Brent wrote a response that began with, “Customer service is my number one priority, and it is very important to me that I treat my client as I want to be treated, and I am truly upset that this relationship didn’t work out.”

(Check out: What NOT to Do When Responding to Online Reviews)

He went on to explain that Mona’s Tweeter-installed system had actually broken down from messy wiring, and was no longer working properly. He then scheduled an appointment – several times – but his team and Mona’s schedules did not work out. Finally, Mona called and told Brent that she was available. The Hooked Up Installs team went to her house, where they went beyond the call of duty to serve an unhappy, hard-to-please customer.

“They went back and spent about 2 hours at the home going through the system,” Brent wrote in his response to the one-star review. “There were a couple of products that were not working correctly because they were defective, so the guys spent as much time as they could there to get everything right. We only charged for one hour of the service call even though we were there for over 2 hours. My employees are amazing guys and they work really hard to make sure our clients are treated and they do the best job they can. They take a lot of pride in their work, and they felt disrespected by the way they were treated.”

(Check out: Business Owner Drives to the House of a Customer Who Gave Him a Bad Review)

Why it works: By starting his response the way he did, Brent was able to reinforce his commitment to serving customers – and to serving them brilliantly. While Mona will probably not want to hear any of it, other people reading the reviews on Hooked Up Installs’ Yelp page will likely be reassured by Brent’s response. “I am truly upset that this relationship didn’t work out” also goes a long way in showing how much Brent cares about his customers; it reveals a human side, a side that values feedback and takes comments personally and feels terrible about not being able to meet expectations.

At the same time, Brent teaches us all a lesson in engaging with customers and writing prompt, professional responses. He kept his cool and managed to maintain his business’ credibility – in the eyes, at least, of other existing and potential customers who can see through the unfairness of an extremely unhappy customer’s review. “In over 6 years of business, we have had one unhappy client,” he wrote. “It kills me that this did not work out and I had to do what is best for my employees and my business.”

In other words: if you can’t beat haters, don’t join them. Just respond promptly, let the matter go, avoid getting into an online catfight, and just let your own community of supporters stand by your side. Trust us: it’s a winning strategy.

Result: While Mona will probably never edit her Yelp review of Hooked Up Installs, the company is still able to maintain a high Yelp rating and consistently generate positive customer reviews. Hooked Up Installs also earns a spot on the latest edition of RT Best Practices!

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.


  1. Laney Pitt

    Absolutely true ! Haters will be haters. I have seen pretty much everythying. Some clients, short of giving them a million USD, will never be happy, no matter what you do. I know its not easy to get business and to retain the same but some clients we just have to let go and “encourage” them to find new business provider. Specially if they are trying to degrade employees (or even insult) or company it self.

  2. Hans Anders

    What a b****. She is probably complaining on regular bases.

  3. Lola Dee

    What really won me over was the owner’s respect for his employees. A person that can respect his employees like that, most likely respects his customers even more, so I honestly believe that he went out his way to mend things with this hateful… person 🙂

  4. David R

    Brent really teaches us all a lesson how to stay cool and above it. Great guy! Never argue with stupid and crazy people,they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.