You Have a Negative Review on Facebook …Now What?

Negative Review

Let’s face it, no matter how hard you try, no matter what systems you have in place, no matter how well trained your staff is, eventually your business is going to disappoint someone.

Even Disney, one of the best companies at customer service has hiccups. Just do a Google search for “Disney customer service stories”. You’ll find lots of great stories and a few not so positive ones.

How do you handle it when you get a bad review on Facebook?

I was asked this by a person considering using Facebook for marketing his business, and I didn’t have an easy answer for him. You see, on all the pages we manage we get very few bad reviews. We may get a 2 or 3-star review occasionally, but we’ll almost never a 1-star review.

Bad reviews can and do happen, and when they do, you need a process to handle them. Ignoring the review is not a helpful strategy.

The challenge with a negative Facebook review is that it’s not like a Google review which gets buried under the good ones that come after it. Facebook shows you business page reviews based on if you’re connected to anyone who previously left a review. This could be a review from months or years ago.

You’ll want to look at how you handle complaints in your business and follow that policy for online reviews. Just know that the world can see your online review and the interaction that takes place. Below is an outline of the process we use at Go Social Experts.

First Step:

Don’t take the review personally! I know you’ve heard this before, but we all need to be reminded of this. Instead of taking it personally look at the review as a gift; now that you’re aware of the problem you can do something about it.

Second Step:

Acknowledge the review and thank the person who left it for you. You want them to know that you’re taking their concerns seriously and that you believe them. Remember what they are telling you is from their perspective and that it’s real to them.

Third Step:

Invite the person to share what happened in more detail. If it’s a sensitive issue you may find that you have more success by inviting the person to message you privately or to call or email you. It depends on what you and they are comfortable with. Remember that the review and your response is public. It’s best to move this follow up conversation to a private channel if you can. It’s like a person coming in to complain to you in person. You greet them in a public area, but as soon as possible you want to move them to a private setting.

As long as the public, who can see your responses, see that you are doing something about the negative review, it should reflect positively on your business.

Fourth Step:

Apologize. You may have done nothing wrong. It may have been a misunderstanding. It doesn’t matter, apologize for the misunderstanding. This will show that you’re not blaming them. In fact, do your best not to blame anyone but yourself.

Fifth Step:

Make it right. What will make the reviewer happy? If you can do it, make it happen. Many times I’ve found out that if I ask the person with the complaint what they think would resolve the issue, it’s often much less than I would have offered. Then do it, and if you are able to do a little more than they ask, do it. You might create a raving fan out of a situation that started off poorly.

Sixth Step:

Thank the person for bringing this to your attention and giving you a chance to fix it. Remember for every one person that brings an issue to your attention there are 9 others who don’t, and then go and tell all their friends about their negative experience.

Final Thoughts:

Make sure when the issue is resolved that you ask the person to post about the resolution on their original review. Don’t ask them to take it down. You’ll find other people respond better knowing that even though there might be issues, that you will resolve them when they arise. These types of reviews and situations will actually boost your credibility.

One other issue to be aware of is having all 5-star reviews. You want to have some other reviews on your feed that shows your reviews are legitimate. When people are reviewing your business, there are going to be some people that won’t give you a 5-star review no matter how good you do. My wife is one of these people. She never gives the top review as she knows there is always room for improvement. There are others like her reviewing your business too.

The best way to ensure that you have honest reviews on your Facebook page and everywhere else that you have a presence is to have a plan to get more reviews. It looks better to have 100 reviews that come in continuously, rather than a few reviews and nothing else for months or even years. In a future article, I’ll write about how you can get a steady flow of Facebook reviews for your business.

This process I’ve outlined in this article is dependent on the review being legitimate. If you have a malicious review or one that is a personal attack on you or another member of your team, it’s possible to appeal to Facebook to have it removed. However, this may take a few days.

I do want to reiterate Step one, don’t take it personally! If you’re upset when you see the review don’t answer right away. Take some time to calm down and if needed, time to investigate what happened first. Then move down the list through the other steps.

Another tip for you is to have one of your staff monitor your online reviews and for you to stay away from them. There are people with gifts for managing reviews. Put them in charge of the process and start making sales from your challenging reviews.

Don’t let the fear of a bad review stop you from marketing online. Facebook can be a powerful tool for growth. If you have any questions about a particular situation feel free to email me at

I hope this helps.

Have a great day!