How to handle bad reviews

How to handle bad reviews and negative comments

If you’ve spent a fair amount of time running a company social media profile or TripAdvisor account, chances are you’ve come across at least one or two negative comments and/or bad reviews. They’re a pain in the behind if brand reputation is your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you should lose your mind over them.

In fact, when handled correctly, such comments and reviews can actually be turned into positives for your brand. But how exactly can you turn such comments to your advantage, especially when most platforms won’t allow them to be removed?

Below are some key policies you should stick to when dealing with any negative comments and reviews.

  1. Don’t feed the trolls

First off, remember that not all bad reviews and comments are genuine. Sometimes, people are just looking to unload their frustrations and won’t let the truth get in the way of their venting. These unreasonable individuals are commonly known as ‘trolls’ in the internet community, and all trolls want is attention.

 If you see a comment or review that’s clearly been made solely to infuriate you, with little or no basis in reality whatsoever, don’t let it get to you. Instead, either report the troll’s post or, if the platform doesn’t allow you to report or flag posts, respond in a calm and reasonable manner (see point 3).

  1. Removal isn’t the answer

If your first course of action when receiving a bad review is to try and get it removed, you’re doing things wrong. Firstly, you’ll find most platforms either don’t allow you to remove reviews or make it extremely difficult. The only way you have any real hope of getting a bad review removed is if it contains hateful/inflammatory language or if you can prove it’s false.

NOTE: This applies to reviews specifically, as comments can usually be deleted easily by a page’s admin.

  1. Respond and resolve

If a negative review or comment is authentic, you should focus on responding to the user and resolving the matter. If at all possible, contact the user privately, either via direct message or phone/email if you have access to their detail. This ensures that, should you be unable to reason with the user and things continue to spiral downward, at least your exchanges won’t be publicly visible.

Alternatively, respond publicly and do whatever you can (within reason) to resolve the matter – this way, even if you’re unable to satisfy the user, at least other people who see your response will be given a good impression of your business as you’ve handled things in a reasonable and professional manner


  1. Admit when you’re wrong

Owning up to a mistake and admitting you’re in the wrong can be difficult, especially when your brand’s reputation is on the line. But being open and honest with customers is a crucial part of developing a positive relationship with your audience. Therefore, if a user’s complaint is justified, you shouldn’t be afraid to admit fault, apologise and compensate the user accordingly.

As long as this doesn’t become a regular occurrence, it shouldn’t have a negative impact on your business. On the contrary, it could help improve your reputation as a brand that genuinely cares about satisfying its customers.

Additional resources

Most major platforms have detailed guides on how to deal with negative reviews and comments. You should be able to locate most with a quick Google search, but here are some links to the most commonly used platforms:

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