How Accurate are Company Reviews? We’re Naturally Extreme…
We’ve all seen situations where a business gets trashed on Yelp by a customer who had a bad experience. More familiar are the (sometimes hilarious) one-star reviews on individual products on sites such as Amazon. Something similar also happens when a disgruntled former employee leaves a scathing commentary on Glassdoor, trying to discourage future job seekers. Company reviews like these can put a serious dent in an organization’s growth. It’s important to know how to deal with these reviews, and how useful they are in the first place.
First, not everything you read is true. This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen any fake news in the past couple of years. Some reviews are fraudulent, both positive and negative. The bad news is that it’s hard for people to tell what’s fake and what’s real. The good news is that machines are getting really good at doing it for us, at least for hotel reviews.
But there’s still plenty of real reviewing going on. The other bad news is that it’s usually got some heavy bias to it. A team of researchers reported in the Harvard Business Review that most reviews are either overwhelmingly positive or crushingly negative, with very little in between.
That’s understandable, because if a job or a product leaves us feeling sort of “meh,” but doesn’t really hurt us or benefit us in any significant way, we don’t feel a need to either vent or praise. The trouble with this is that it’s just as helpful to discover if something is mediocre as it is when it’s horrible or awesome. When reviews lack that balanced information from less passionate users, they are indeed less accurate than they could be.
The aforementioned researchers suggest in their HBR article that companies would do well to counter that tendency. They can and should encourage these additional, equally helpful middle reviews through a variety of pro-social incentives. This may include actively encouraging current employees to leave honest company reviews on Glassdoor, for example. This alone would go a long way towards repairing the reputation of a company that’s been raked over the coals by someone who got fired.
… So Take the Time to Respond Well…
Another important way to ensure better accuracy of company reviews is to make sure that employers take the time to respond to them. This goes for both positive and negative reviews. Jayson DeMers, writing for Forbes, explains:
If you receive a negative review, respond as quickly as you can. Job seekers will not only be reading the reviews, they’ll be looking to see how businesses respond to these reviews. Responding promptly and politely will show you care about the opinions of your employees; and this can go a long way to minimizing the impact of a negative review.”
He also cautions:
As much as possible, try not to engage in discussions of details; the last thing you want is to air your dirty laundry online, or get into a “he said, she said” situation. Respond in a non-defensive way that shows you’re listening, and whenever possible, take the conversation offline as quickly as possible.
… And Get Help!
One of the many ways we help our clients is by helping them manage back-office tasks, and those can include monitoring and managing your reviews. Contact Boomsourcing today to learn more about the many ways we can help you build a stronger reputation online.