Are you looking to do business with a company, but you are unsure of their reputation? If you are finding it difficult to know who to trust, check out these four ways that technology is making it easier to do business with reputable companies. 

Public Records

Public records are available for finding information such as bankruptcy, liens, and official public complaints about a company. One resource for finding consumer complaints is the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, state government websites provide public information for businesses that hold state licenses that have been revoked or expired and that have complaints against them.

Past Collaborations

If the company has a large social media presence, then you will know who it has collaborated with in the past. Reach out to a collaborator by direct messaging to ask about his or her experience. It is professional to be prepared with questions that you could not have found out on your own, such as whether the company was timely and reliable when working with it. Direct messaging is more ethical than asking as a public comment. You do not want readers to be able to make assumptions about a company just because you are asking a question about it. 

Online Reviews

Reading reviews is an effective way to learn about the reputation of a company. Reading reviews from Google and Facebook can be helpful. When rating the assisted living facilities in Tennessee, for example, ALC looked at reviews from Google and Facebook, as well as sites where complaints against facilities may have been filed. Glassdoor is another source that allows employees to anonymously review what it’s like to be an employee of the company. These reviews give insight into the company’s internal dynamics as opposed to consumer reviews.

Consumers are most honest when they leave YouTube comments. YouTube culture has cultivated an environment in which people feel totally comfortable saying exactly what they think and feel. If the company you are researching has a YouTube channel, then go to its page and comb through the comments. If there is anything you need to be aware of, such a poor customer service or any negative experiences, then you will find it in the comment section

Referrals

Ask the company directly for referrals. Many small businesses will give referrals to you if you ask. Make sure these are not the same people who are listed as testimonials on the company’s website. Speak with these referrals over the phone. Ask questions that are very specific to the practices and offerings of the business. Referrals can sometimes be fake, but it is better to try this step than not to try. Another option is to ask around to see if anyone knows another person who has used this company, then ask if you can reach out to that person to find out about his or her experience. This angle may be more legwork, but it will provide you with organic referrals from unbiased sources.


Modern technology makes it easier than ever for consumers to research the reputation and history of companies before deciding to do business with them. Unfortunately, technology has also made it easier for companies to inflate their positive reputations or even to completely misrepresent themselves through reputation management. Even if you take many precautions, you could still have a negative experience. Do your research and ask around, but when all is said and done, trust your gut, and make the best decision you can.