Let’s face it – these days employee turnover is incredibly common. Gone are the days of an employee staying with one company for 30 years, or more. When an employee leaves on not-so-great terms, it can cause problems for the company, thanks in large part to the internet and technology. It seems we turn to Google for everything, whether trying to find out who’s singing that catchy tune on the radio or who the best dentist in Dallas is. Reviews have become a huge part of the Google makeup as well. No longer do we ask our friends and family or their opinion on who the best doctor in town is or what spa offers the most comprehensive services, we have Google for that. While this is great, all things considered, it can also cause a lot of issues for a company.
For whatever reason, we seem to take Google reviews (as with Yelp and Foursquare) quite seriously. We rarely question their validity or if the person behind the review perhaps had an ulterior motive. For example, we rarely consider the fact that the person who wrote that nasty review could very well be a disgruntled past employee trying to hurt the business. Well, Google is finally doing something about that. At the end of the year, they announced an update to review policies, making reviews left by former employees in violation of its guidelines. While many people may throw up the freedom of speech card, there are many reasons why Google found this change to be necessary.
What This Means
Many business owners and marketers have had issues with the Google My Business guidelines and for good reason. Not only are they a bit ambiguous, they open the door to negative, potentially harmful reviews. Sure, if a business actually did a poor job or underperformed, that negative review undoubtedly deserves to be written – and heard – but not if it was out of spite by an ex-employee. While many of us assumed reviews from former employees were against Google My Business guidelines, this was not the case, until now.
On December 14, 2017, Google updated its review policies to ensure all reviews from former employees were removed, and no new ones slipped through the cracks. The new guidelines explicitly say that “posting negative content about a current or former employment experience” is prohibited. Google notes a conflict of interest here, and we wholeheartedly agree. While some businesses have enough reviews that one negative comment won’t hurt them, there are countless other examples of a business trying to build up its online reputation, only to be smacked down by an angry former employee. The updated guidelines can be found on the Maps’ help center, for those of you who want to take a closer look. While this may seem a relatively minor change in the grand scheme of things, it can have a huge impact on business owners. For businesses who have felt the effects of such a review from an ex-employee, they now have the grounds to reach out to Google and have the review removed.
As mentioned, reviews are huge in our tech-driven society. We read reviews before going to a new restaurant, checking out a new store, or picking a lawyer following a car accident. In order to get a true picture of the kind of service provided by a business or an individual, the reviews should not be skewed by a personal vendetta. To learn more about why reviews are important to small and mid-sized business owners like, please contact Tech-Critic. As a leading Dallas digital marketing agency, we are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you stay on top of the latest trends in marketing.