If you’ve ever asked, “how do I find a company’s reputation?”, our guide below can help you find the details you need to make informed decisions.
Among the first thing consumers do when looking for a specific product or service to purchase is to ask around about the company in order to assess reputation. They will ask family, friends, and colleagues what they know about the business’ reputation, particularly if the purchase is significant. You want to know that a company’s reputation is professional and reliable and that it’s a successful business. In addition to asking those you know, there are other avenues you can take to learn about a company’s reputation.
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Visit the Better Business Bureau Site
Founded in 1912, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a private non-profit organization, provides information to the public about businesses and charities to help consumers find organizations they can trust. Businesses can become accredited by the BBB, which can boost a company’s reputation.
Accreditation for a business is based on eight standards, according to the BBB: build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, safeguard privacy (personal and sensitive data), and embody integrity. Not all companies qualify for BBB accreditation. See if the company in which you’re interested in has a BBB accreditation. Reputable businesses are typically listed on the BBB’s site.
The BBB also handles customer complaints about businesses, and it allows for customer reviews. You will gain insight on how customers feel about the business and the company’s reputation. It’s best to check out what customers have to say before making any purchases. If you are disappointed in a product or service or feel you’ve been mistreated, most likely if you go to the BBB site after the fact, you’ll see others who may feel the same way as you do.
The nonprofit bureau has also created a business rating system that ranges from A+ to F. To receive an A+, a business must score 97 points or higher. The BBB grade a company receives represents its level of confidence that the business is trustworthy and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer complaints. A positive reputation will obviously garner an A+ from the BBB.
Check Out Online Reviews
You can also find out a company’s business reputation by looking at review sites. Depending on the business, you can check out Amazon (if they sell products) to see if there are any negative reviews about the company’s products and what the reviews say about product quality, delivery, return policies, etc.
If it’s a service business, check out Yelp and Angi to learn about the company’s reputation. You’ll be able to assess service quality and whether there is an overall positive perception of the business. Any negative feedback will be there for you to review and decide what type of company reputation the business and brand have among consumers and in the public arena.
What Does Search, Google Have to Say?
If the business is local and has created a Google My Business profile, read through the customer reviews. A small business should have a Google profile in order to gain more value from its online presence and attract local customers. The Google reviews will tell you a great deal about their business reputation.
In addition, do a search and see what type of content comes up. Do the search results reflect a positive reputation for the business? Is there any information about the business owner that comes up in search? Is negative content coming up in search? Is it about the company itself or the owner or leadership? If so, how damaging is it to the company reputation? The company reputation is reflective of both the business and the owners(s).
Go to the Company’s Website to Assess its Reputation
Visit the business’s website. Peruse the Home Page to get an overview of the business’s brand and value proposition. Read about its leadership, top management, and team, which can typically be found on the About Us page. Take a look at its history if it’s included on the site and how the business has grown over the years. How did they get to where they are today?
Customers Tell the Story
Some companies will include case studies to show by example what they have accomplished for a client, particularly if it’s a consulting company, ad or marketing firm, or tech business.
See if there are any customer testimonials on the company site, with clients sharing their experience with a business. These will tell you a lot about the company’s reputation.
You can usually tell when a testimonial is authentic and not just fabricated by the company or its PR or marketing firm. Real consumers tend to come off authentically.
Dig Deeper, Do Some Research for Business Reputation
Public companies may include company reports including their financial performance and a list of their principal investors. You can review their financial performance to gain an understanding of their industry strength and positioning and how they rank as compared to their competitors.
For public companies you can also get more information via the Electronic Data Gather (EDGAR) service, which is operated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Is the Company Making a Difference in the World?
Both private and public companies often feature their philanthropic efforts and good deeds on their websites and on social media profiles, including on Facebook and LinkedIn. Often, potential customers choose companies whose philanthropic efforts are aligned with theirs.
Most companies will also include contact details, which is helpful in knowing you are dealing with a reputable business with a storefront address, hours of operation, etc.
If the reason you’re interested in a company’s reputation is that you’re looking for employment, it’s difficult to assess the reputation of a company only by checking out its website, Google searches, and professional sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.
See if you can also talk to current and former employees to get a read on the business reputation and if working at the company is a positive experience. Are employees commenting on Twitter or Facebook about the company? If so, what are they saying?
Is the company offering benefits that show it values its employees, for example? Is the money they pay in line with industry standards? Is the person you will be working for on the up and up?
A company’s good reputation is not only what its customers feel about it but also what its employees think.
Importance of Reputation Management
Companies grow based on the quality of their products and services. An online reputation on the internet ideally will reflect a company’s hard work, professionalism, authenticity, transparency, and positive reputation. If you’re looking for a company with a good reputation, as most people are, do your due diligence.
If you have a business and want to ensure your reputation is intact, in addition to providing great products or quality services and taking care of your employees and your customers, be sure to keep your pulse on how your business is being portrayed. This means engaging in social listening so you know what people are saying about your business on social media. It also means addressing any bad news head on. If you’re being impacted by industry changes, or there has been a misstep at your company, immediately address the issues transparently and honestly. Don’t obfuscate.
Be sure to also deal with any bad reviews or negative content that appears online. Your brand is too important to ignore what customers, competitors, or peers may be saying that could be harmful to your brand and reputation. Doing so can only help your business grow.
You can also work with an online reputation management company (ORM) that will focus on getting positive content online, which in turn will facilitate your selling efforts and help in gaining new customers. The more positive information about your business, the stronger your reputation and ability to deliver quality services and/or products.
Interested in learning more about building and protecting your online reputation? Read more on our blog!