Many businesses, especially those that cater to consumers, tend to dread company reviews. One negative comment on Yelp, for example, and your reputation can take a serious hit.

But for savvy business owners, company reviews provide valuable insights that help lay out a path for continual improvement. Whether your company is consumer-facing or business-to-business, reviews offer a look into how both employees and customers feel about your organization. Praise, constructive feedback or outright criticism all have value in helping you understand how your business is performing and what you can do to better your brand.

Get the Inside Scoop

While many business owners tend to prioritize customer feedback, it’s equally important to understand how your employees are feeling. Ultimately, the two things are intertwined: If employees are unhappy with their jobs, the way they’re being managed or the company culture, they’ll be much less likely to go the extra mile to please your customers.

Check to see if any employees have written reviews of your business on Glassdoor. This site gives people an opportunity to share their experiences working for different companies. It’s meant primarily to be a resource for jobseekers, but it can give you a glimpse into what your employees’ experience is really like.

Next, take matters into your own hands by asking employees to complete a survey about their satisfaction in their roles. Make the survey anonymous so that the team will give honest answers, and assure them that no one will be able to tell who gave which responses. There are many free survey/quiz sites online where you can create and distribute your survey.

Asking the right questions will help ensure that the answers you receive will be as useful as possible. You can tailor your survey to your specific business and sector, but some general questions to touch on include:

  • Do employees feel like they have opportunities for growth?
  • Is there enough teamwork within the business?
  • Is it easy or hard to achieve work-life balance?
  • How does your team feel about their managers?
  • Are your current performance and accountability measures effective?

A survey like this will help you show your employees that you value their input and feedback.

Connect With Your Customer

Of course, understanding how your customers feel about your business is also paramount. If you’re in a business-to-consumer space where people have opportunities to review your company on online forums such as Yelp, be sure to monitor the relevant channels and keep a pulse on what kind of experience your customers are having.

No matter what sector you’re in, you can always use the survey strategy to get clients or consumers to share their feedback. Ask them to rate and comment on the various aspects of their relationship with your brand, including customer service and the quality of the product or service they receive.

Not only does this give you a window into what you can improve about your company, but it also lets you strengthen your customer relationships. If a client gave a particularly negative review, connect with them to talk about what you can improve. For those that feel overwhelmingly positive, connect with them to see if they’d be willing to provide a testimonial that you can use as a sales tool.

Keep in mind that customer satisfaction surveys aren’t meant to provide a benchmark against competitors. The goal is to identify weaknesses as seen by your customers and to act on them. Take steps to address issues that you see crop up across multiple reviews. Recognize employees who shine in the eyes of your clients, and address issues with those who have fallen short.

At the end of the day, you want to make your business the best it can be. That means identifying what you’re doing right and what could be done better both internally and externally — and company reviews are a powerful tool for making these integral determinations.

Allison Hutton is an experienced writer, editor, communications professional, researcher and social media consultant. During her more than 15 years of communications and writing experience, Allison has worked with a variety of clients, from small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies. She has an M.S. in entertainment business, a B.A. in communication and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and four children.