What’s the best way of handling bad comments for small businesses?

Being a small business can be tough, you’ve worked your arse off to get to where you are and so, getting a bad comment or review on your social media can feel like a major deal.

The good news is, that feeling momentarily bad about it is a good thing, it shows that you care about the services or products that you deliver.

Being human can be uncomfortably funny at times. We can get a 100 comments that are supportive and yet that one negative comment from a troll can set us back. As small business owners, what we do and the service we provide, is often an extension of ourselves, we are heavily invested and committed emotionally as well as financially and so any attack on what we’ve provided will inevitably feel personal and unsettling.

Platforms like Google, Twitter and Facebook make it really easy for anonymous trolls or disgruntled folk to rock up and take a massive dollop over our brand, slating our service or product. One star reviews, that take down our rating from 5 star to 4.x can be infuriating in the knowledge that you’ll never again attain those 5 cherished stars.

The good news is that actually, a 4.x rating looks way more authentic than a 5, so that’s not all bad. Additionally, a nasty slating comment amongst a sea of otherwise positive responses is also an indicator that actually, you’re not so bad really and that the odd slating from a troll isn’t really something to get too hung up on.

How should we respond?

In my opinion it’s always best to be polite and express a view that you’re sorry they feel that way and explain how you’ll be happy to deal with their concerns privately and help where you can. Invite them to contact you via email or phone and then leave it at that.

Don’t get dragged into a public slanging match calling them a liar or any of that stuff as it reflects poorly on you.

People reading your response to such messages will see that you’re consistent and professional and don’t stoop to the level that the troll or bad reviewer has.

Of course, none of this helps if you already struggle with a touch of imposter syndrome, but believe in yourself you must. Count the thanks and gratitude over the negatives every single day of the week!

I’ll leave you with a poem to ponder that I wrote back in 2016. It’s about someone I knew who was amazing at what they did, and watching them twist and turn full of self doubt was painful to behold.

Believe in what you do and love yourself a little more, haters are going to hate; if you know that you’re a good egg, then whatever someone hell bent on being nasty thinks of you, this ultimately says more about them than you.

The Imposter

I have a great talent or so I’ve been told, but what do they know those keepers of gold

I can do better this is my tune, I’ll keep on persisting in the light of the moon

Beyond the tomorrow and then after that, I’ll drive myself on to the next great fiat

To the heights of achievement I’ll play myself down, I’ll adopt a demeanour and smile with a frown

I’m not good enough I suspect that they think, so I’ll have to work harder and get to the brink

To the top of success from where I can sit, safe in my knowledge and so proud of it

And do what I love in calm clear repose, armed with all tools to conquer all foes

To stand tall and proud to no longer fear, the finger of doubt a snort or a jeer

I’m already there or so I’ve been told, I just need to believe and be that bit bold

To accept all I am and recognise progress, and love myself more as part of the process

Perhaps they are right I’ll try myself find, as I strive to dismiss that doubter in mind

I’ll plod gently on with a smile and a sigh, as I do of my best and reach for the sky

I am nearly there not long to go, just a little more study. I’ll be good to go.

Peace and love, be kind.

Rob is an SEO Consultant based in Kent, England; read testimonials from people who’ve worked with him.

Featured Photo Credit: Artem Kniaz

Published by Rob Watts

I've worked in search for over 25 years with businesses of all shapes and sizes.