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How to respond to criticism and protect your firm


If you find yourself on the receiving end of negative commentary in the press or on social media, the FSB Legal advice line is here to help.

As a member, you are able to access free advice should you find yourself on the receiving end of negative commentary.

Ruth Shearn, who manages the advice line, has more than 20 years’ crisis communications experience to draw on. “The ultimate aim of crisis communications is to protect the reputation of your company by minimising any negative publicity,” she says. 

Every situation is unique and should be handled with a tailored response, but there are a few golden rules to follow. If you are contacted by a journalist:

1. Take their call and be co-operative
2. Establish what information they’re after
3. Ask about their deadline
4. Say you will call them back when you have all the facts
5. If you are comfortable doing so, call them
6. If not, call the FSB Legal advice line.

If you are on the receiving end of negative social media posts:
 Aim to take things ‘offline’ by acknowledging their post and asking them to direct message (DM) or contact you with details
 If negative comments continue, call the FSB Legal advice line.

A number of practical guides to help you deal with a variety of social media situations have been produced; you can access them on the FSB Legal Hub. If you still require help, our crisis comms experts are on hand to support you in a number of other ways:

 Handling media enquiries and liaising with journalists
 Drafting statements for media, your website and social media
 Briefing you about handling media interviews
 Helping you brief your staff
 Drafting press releases or letters to your customers.

Criticism can be upsetting, and the urge to respond emotionally can be overwhelming – but this can inflame the situation.

Call the FSB Legal advice line on 03450 727 727