How to Handle Bad Reviews on Facebook & Google

Peer-to-Peer Trust

Trust for most people is built and maintained via online interactions with their peers. For some people, this may seem inaccurate, but with the rise of “fake news,” big media is losing the trust of its users. 

To compensate for this loss of trust in big media, users are turning to each other. Peer to peer influence is highly trusted. That’s where reviews come in. Users leave first-hand reviews online rating your business with 1-5 stars to show their friends and followers which businesses are trustworthy.

[bctt tweet=”As trust in big media goes down, peer to peer influence is going up. Way up! #smm ” username=”Techno_Goober”]

Reviews Impact Peer Trust

If you have a business page on Facebook, you know all about reviews. These reviews may seem trivial to some, but they can play a large part in the reputation of your business online and offline.

If someone rates your business poorly, even without a genuine reason, their peers will see and trust that review. If your brother, best friend, sister-in-law, or even cousin left a poor review of a restaurant saying the waiter was rude, would you go to that restaurant or keep your distance?

Probably keep your distance. You have no proof other than the word of your peer that the waiter was rude, but that 1-star review was enough to influence your decision. The same applies to your customers.


If one of your customers has a bad experience or perceives they had a bad experience, they may be inclined to let their peers know. That one bad review could make a sizeable difference to small businesses.

Perception is the key to responding correctly to a bad review. The important thing to remember is that the customer believes they had a bad experience. No matter what you think or perceive, it’s about their peer-to-peer influence. The customer may not always be right, but that is a conversation for Step 3. 

Receiving a Bad Review

When you receive a bad review, a lot of things may go through your mind. “Who even is this person?” “Who do they think they are?” “That’s not true!” Let your mind go through these thoughts. It’s ok to feel a little angry. This business is your baby and your livelihood. Then, put your anger or disappointment aside and follow these steps.

How to Respond to Bad Reviews

Step 1: Read Carefully

Reread the review carefully. Did they provide any specific details about their experience? Date? Time? People involved? Location? A specific product or menu item? All of this information is necessary for approaching the second step. Write it all down in a logical way and fill in as many blanks as possible.

Step 2: Verify

With the details you gathered from step 1, it’s time to verify the claims made in the bad review. Start by verifying that this was an actual customer. This may seem like a basic thing to do, but you’ll be amazed how many poor reviews come from people who may have your business confused with another.

After verifying that they were, in fact, a real customer, attempt to verify their claims. Ask the parties involved their side of the story. Don’t point fingers quite yet.

Just verify the information and try to find the true story. Remember, there are 3 sides to every story. He said, she said, and the truth.  


Step 3: Respond

Perhaps the hardest, but most important, part of the process is responding. There are 3 types of people who leave reviews.

Type 1: People who simply want to be heard. They needed to blow off their steam. They feel better after it’s over.

Type 2: People who want to let their friends know about a bad experienced and gain sympathy. Those too will blow over.

Type 3: People itching for a fight. These reviewers want to get under your skin and irritate you. They don’t want a resolution. They want you to slip up and land in a lawsuit.

Respond to these three types of people in the EXACT SAME WAY.

No matter what type of reviewer you are dealing with, you should respond to them the same way. Calm, polite, sympathetic, and neutral. Avoid getting angry, pointing your finger, or making any rash decisions.

[bctt tweet=”Respond to bad reviews in calm, polite, sympathetic, and NEUTRAL tone. Rash decision or pointing fingers never helps. #badreview #onestar #smallbusinessowner #sidehustle #smm” username=”Techno_Goober”]

The best way to handle any bad review is to use this method:

You want to make the reviewer feel heard and give them the opportunity to speak with someone about their experience OUT OF THE PUBLIC EYE.

Getting the conversation out of the public eye should be your primary goal. The more people see of this argument, the better for you and your reputation.

Use their name.

hello my name isStart by addressing them by name. This will curtail any comments that you are using a canned response. Use language like “Hey @Rose McDonald” or simply “@Rose.” Make sure the name actually tags.

If you don’t see the appropriate profile to tag, just include their name without the tag. Using their name makes the conversation feel more private despite the public nature of the comments section.

Make them feel heard.


Next, focus on making them feel heard. Use language like “I’m sorry to hear about your experience.” Or “I understand your frustration.”

Positive language allows them to feel heard, without placing the blame on your company. You don’t need to admit fault for anything. Neutral language that admits that they have a right to their feels is the goal. 

You also want to avoid telling your side of the story. Avoid using language like “After multiple attempts to contact you regarding your in-person complaint…” or “We already provided a discount after the poor service…” Instead, use neutral language like “Our Customer Service is aware of the issue.” or “We look forward to finding a resolution soon.” 

Take it offline.

take it offlineNext, steer the conversation offline. Provide them a number and a name to contact to speak more in detail about their experience. Use language like “We’d like to hear more, so we can improve. Call 302-645-7177 and ask for Frank (or dial ext. 375). He’ll be more than happy to discuss your experience.” Or “We need more information to determine the appropriate next steps. Can you private message us a good time to talk?”

[bctt tweet=”Take conversations about bad reviews offline! Provide a name, number, or contact to have their further complaints heard privately. #smm #smallbusinessowner #sidehustle #badreview” username=”Techno_Goober”]

For types 1 and 2, this is enough. They feel heard, appreciated, and validated. You didn’t ignore them. That’s enough. They may call or private message, but more than likely types 1 and 2 will simply thank you for listening and move on.

If they do choose to discuss their experience more, maintain polite and neutral. They may even change their review to include information about their customer service experience.

When Not to Respond

Type 3 is different. Type 3 may try to argue back in the comments. DO NOT RESPOND. Type 3 just wants to argue. You’ve done your job. You heard them and provided them the appropriate avenue for continuing the discussion.

Responding will only make you look out of control or angry. If you must respond again, provide them a different way to contact you. Use language like “I can see you’re still very upset about this experience. I completely understand. If you would prefer, you can email to discuss your experience with our customer service.”

Don’t invite them to your location in the comments. They may still be very angry, and the situation may be very confrontational. You can arrange a face-to-face meeting over the phone at a specific time and location.

Step 4: Follow Up

Types 1 and 2 may respond via the comments to let the world know how their customer service experience was. Give this more attention by reacting to it with a like, or even commenting again.

Remain neutral and calm again. Don’t bring up the previous spat. Use language like “Thank you for your honest feedback.” Or “Thank you for helping resolve this matter.”

Or even simply say “We are happy you had a positive experience with our customer service.” You can use Step 4 language to respond to other reviews too.

Step 5: Get a Goober

Need help managing your Facebook Business page? Not sure how to respond to negative reviews? Or need help setting up your Facebook page? Get a Goober!

Techno Goober is more than happy to help manage your Facebook page. We have experience with posting regularly, creating and managing ads, and building your online presence.

Call 302-645-7177 to discuss social media management services. You can also email us at for more information. Don’t forget to leave us a review if you had a good experience!


Case Study: The False Friend

For more help managing your reputation online, read our article “How to Perfectly Manage Your Business Reputation on Social Media.” Techno Goober once received a barrage of poor reviews from complete strangers. We never did any business with them. Their reviews were vague but harsh.

We worked to verify their claims, only to find exactly what we suspected. They weren’t disgruntled clients at all. They were the friends of an old employee, and they sought to take advantage of peer-to-peer trust by leaving false bad reviews. Rather than get angry at the false claims, we responded to their comments calmly and straightforward.

We explained that we had no record of their business with our company, but we were happy to discuss their experience. We provided a number for them to call to provide more details about their poor experience and we would be happy to verify their identity.

That was enough to scare most of them off. They either deleted the reviews or changed their review to an equally vague 5-star review. We changed our comments too. 

false friend review

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