Hot Food, Hot Takes: How to Deal with Negative Facebook Reviews

Hot Food, Hot Takes: How to Deal with Negative Facebook Reviews

Bad reviews suck. They’re uncomfortable to deal with and anxiety-inducing for any business owner, manager, or social media strategist (who, me?). Learning how to respond to these reviews is a must if you want to stay in the social game, and with more and more customers consulting social media to make consumer choices, you can’t afford to go offline.

In the age of social media and mobile technology, customer service has become a spectator sport. People are paying attention to what they read online, and a slew of unanswered negative reviews can drive your potential customers into the arms of your competitors. Eighty percent of people trust an online review as much as they trust their sister’s recommendation for the best barbecue in Texas.

Bad and public reviews are the risk you take for being online, but if left unattended, they can seriously disrupt your business. So why not delete or ignore them? Deleting a bad review erodes the trust between you and your customers. Ignoring a customer review is a response — it says you don’t care (Duct Tape Marketing).

The better option is to see bad reviews as an opportunity. Treating social media like a two-way street and responding to reviews can lead to greater loyalty and customer retention. In almost every case where a resolution can be reached from a negative review you can increase brand loyalty and retention by 25%.

  • 70% of people are more likely to be return customers
  • 65% are more brand loyal 
  • 75% of individuals will share their positive experience after a response (Sprout)

Responding to reviews — the good, the bad, and the fake

Good reviews are great! Someone loved their experience so much that they wanted to tell everyone about it. Reinforce that behavior by liking and responding to that review.

“Thank you for your kind words, Michelle! We loved being a part of your 50th birthday party. We hope to see you again soon!”

A bad review is an opportunity to learn more about your business. People are usually complaining for a reason. Did they wait 30 minutes before they saw the server? Maybe there’s a staff training issue you need to address.

Respond ASAP!

Try to respond to reviews within 12–24 hours. 52 percent of reviewers expect a response and most expect a response within 4 hours (Sprout). You want to seem attentive and engaged. This is the first step in turning their experience around.

Acknowledge and apologize for their experience

A negative review causes the same psychological reaction as fight or flight. Your brain makes you feel like you’re actually being attacked. But stay calm and avoid being defensive. You want them to know you read and understood their issue, want to make it better, and care about their business.

“Hi, Chad. Thank you for your feedback. We’re very sorry to hear you were unhappy with your experience…”

Be professional, but public

Facebook gives you an option to respond to reviews and comments as a private message, but don’t be tempted to move your interaction to the inbox just yet. Other commenters need to see you in there handling the situation.

Slide into the DMs

Try to take the conversation into a private message by requesting more details or their contact information.

Most of the time this will be enough to address a negative review. But something you may encounter is a fake review. How do you fix a problem that isn’t real? Seventy-nine percent of customers have read a false review, but most can’t identify one. That’s why you need to treat it as any other review: Investigate, get to the bottom of it, and calmly correct any misinformation publicly. However, you can request Facebook to delete the review if it’s laden with expletives and irrelevant content.

Armed with a smartphone, every customer can instantly document their experiences with pictures. This means any infraction has the potential to be amplified and impact your future business. Hopefully after reading this you won’t be rattled by the next phone-wielding Roger Ebert who’s eager to tell everyone about “the worst waitress they’ve ever had.”


  1. HOT FOOD, HOT TAKES: HOW TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVE FACEBOOK REVIEWS – Margaret T. Robinson - […] This blog was first published on […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This