Peer review sites put your business at risk. Do you know how? Listen in as we discuss the pros and cons of peer review sites.

Show Notes

Welcome to the In The Clear podcast I’m your host Justin Recla, along with my crazy talented wife Tonya Dawn Recla. So this week we’re talking about peer reviews put your business at risk. What does that mean to you don’t you, Tonya?

Well, this is a very touchy subject and I get that. The challenge is that we can glean a lot of information off a peer review. But the problem for small business or even mid and large sized businesses is that who monitors that? And who has a say in any of that? And so everything from you know corporate espionage and conspiracy stuff. You know your competitors coming in and Bam Basting your business. Bam Basting? That’s it I did it again…

That’s this week’s big word, “Bam Basting” your site for your peer review things with negative information that may or may not be true. It is very difficult to get that stuff off of there if you’re not the one in control of the site. You know anything short of slander is kind of fair game anymore and so what do you do? You know if you irritate the wrong person.

You know if you refuse somebody a refund and you’re well within your rights as the company based on your policies and everything else and they choose to take it to social media or these peer review sites. So it can be a very touchy conversation.

Yeah, it’s one of those things that has become a necessary evil per se. I know a lot of business owners are choosing to opt out of certain peer review sites. Mainly because of the business tactics those sites use in only showing negative reviews first if you don’t pay their monthly fee or if you don’t subscribe to their programs. Those businesses that are actually on a peer review sites and that have ratings, I highly recommend that you monitor that those sites for reviews good, bad, or otherwise.

Because it’s going to give you some insight as to what’s really going on with your digital footprint and what people are saying about you. So, you can monitor things like Tonya just said competitors coming in and leave bad reviews and so forth. But at the same time while these public peer review sites put your business at risk. You can leverage them a little bit by if you find a negative review posting on that and responding to it. When you do that it speaks volumes to your own business transparency and how you’re choosing to show up.

And we could talk about on another show we’ll talk about you know how you can avoid peer review sites altogether. For the purposes of this show recognize that that peer review site you know peer reviews can be a risk to your business and there are ways to mitigate them.

Think Yelp is Unbiased? Think Again!!

Absolutely. That’s really was the inception point for what has become our fraud and scams screenings. A lot of companies have no idea what’s out there on them which can be hugely detrimental. So, not just is it a necessary evil but it’s a necessary cost. Like you’ve got to either monitor all that yourself which is your time or pay somebody to do it and do the responses.

Which depends on what type of business you’re operating and just how visible it is virtually. It’s a challenge for the small business owners because it’s not enough just to do your social media and your SEO and everything else. Everybody wants traction. Everybody wants views but understand that those views and the higher number of views you get and the more you’re out there in the Internet world then this is this is something you really have to address and so people are talking about your business you want to know what they’re talking about.

Exactly and this is one of the reasons why you know certain peer review sites work really well for certain businesses. You know things like restaurants for instance you know peer review sites work really well. I’ll use the example that Tonya likes to give all the time you know whenever we go out and we’re not sure where to go Tonya loves to hop on a yelp. It may not necessarily for the actual review of the food. he just wants to make sure nobody died eating there.

At least that’s been reported. Haha…

But you know for certain types of businesses peer review sites may be OK. For others it may not be may not be OK because you may have limited interaction with your client base. And so if you have you’ve got a client that’s got one bad experience with you and next thing you know you’ve got a bad ranking on whatever a peer review site it may be whether it be rip off reporter yelp it doesn’t matter. It’s now out there. So you have to be cognizant of those things or It just becomes another piece for you to juggle. Like I said I know a lot of businesses that are opting out of certain peer review sites and they’re monitoring their reputation through other means.

Absolutely and it just dawned on me we need a right to know we’ll do it. We’ll do a show here in the future on running comments and reviews and stuff on your own site because that brings with it a whole new set of risks it’s really valuable for traction purposes and everything else. And there are some risks associated with that as well.

So for now though let’s keep it to external sources that you know where people may or may not be talking about you. You know it’s always great to get those positive reviews but what do you do when you have a negative one. And so one of the things you can do one is know, you need to know, and you need to be doing your share. This is why, first, we absolutely recommend it and we require for the Clear Business Directory members that you re-vet yourself once a year. If you’re not good at it which you know a lot of people aren’t you know self-admittedly, then have somebody else do it for you so you know what’s being said out there. What others are finding when they are looking for you and do that you owe it to your business to stay on top of that.

The second thing is make sure that you have enough good offsetting the bad. You know and we don’t recommend doing smarmy, sleazy, tactics or you don’t want to go in and just try to push out a whole bunch of random like press releases or articles to offset negative review on there. Be smart about it because savvy business and savvy consumers are going to look to the companies who are handling themselves with decorum, who are going above and beyond to say “Hey, look I screwed up” or saying “You know this was the situation without pointing fingers without the blaming and name calling. But really owning your company’s reputation is a great place. It’s just a much more empowered way to look at it.

Well then just like one of our shows that we did recently was talking about you know being transparent. In owning things that come up so if somebody does have a bad customer experience addressing that. But you know these peer review sites that are out there that exist have different ways of making money with the way their business model is. And like I said earlier it’s it works really well for some businesses but if you’re if you’re in a B2B situation a Peer review doesn’t tell you much about either business.

So, it actually puts your business at risk in the sense that you don’t know what another business owner thinks. From a peer review you know what a client thinks but you don’t necessarily know what another business owner thinks. And so that’s where the Clear Business Directory comes into where you can make an educated decision on a business you’re getting involved with. You can take a look at their business history, their business experience, what they’ve done, and who they’ve done it with and so forth.

So, you can make an educated decision because just because a client has left a bad peer review on a peer review site that may just be indicative of just a bad experience but it may not be indicative of frauds and scams. But if you’re going to engage in business on any level outside of becoming a regular client like going to visit a restaurant. A peer review doesn’t say anything about fraud and scam screening on who you’re going to get engage with.

Well, let’s look at it on the flip side so let’s say you’re looking into a company that you want to do business with and you do see some negative stuff out there. That’s a really great source of information not for you to immediately judge the company but then go back and look and see did they respond. Do they even know that it’s out there? But if you’re in dialogue with them you know through that you know kind of courtship process of choosing whether or not you’re going to hire them. Ask them about it. Say you know I saw that you had some reviews on this can you kind of tell me what that’s about and gauge their response.

You know to us is as much as we can folks let’s handle some of these situations with decorum and maturity, let’s not crucify people because somebody left a bad review. Let’s instead be informed go back engage in conversation and give somebody the benefit of the doubt. Until they’ve dialogue with you and then maybe you know maybe they’ve demonstrated why somebody might have gotten upset with them, you know. But have a conversation and have the chutzpah have the have the courage to have a dialogue. Because you don’t any and if we can’t talk to the people that we’re looking at hiring and doing business with.

Trust me when I say that relationship is going to get ugly before you know before too long. So really challenge yourselves to be transparent in your communication and again not going into it from a judgmental standpoint but just asking “Hey what’s this about? Can you explain it to me?” You may be shocked at how people respond. And you know as we like to say you know we very rarely ask questions to get an answer we ask questions because we’re gauging response and that tells you so much more information about a company or a person than if you never asked the question at all.

Exactly, and so again peer review sites do put your business at risk. In the sense you don’t necessarily know what’s out there so you have to be monitoring them. If you’re ready to completely opt out of the peer review sites and just operate from a place of transparency take a look at Clear Business Directory at where we can screen your business for frauds and scams so you can build expedited trust with your potential client base. Until next time make sure your business is In the Clear.