Although it has now been three months since the U.S. federal government passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, many builders still lag a bit behind in ensuring they are compliant. In this issue of Avid Today, we focus on integrity, company culture and simply “doing the right thing”. Not only is this ethically and legally correct, but it is best for improving your business and obtaining long-term success.
The following actions are now in direct violation of FTC guidelines, and your company can be fined $100,000s and be publically named as a violator on the FTC website:
- Having employees fill out surveys or provide public-facing customer reviews (on sites such as Facebook, Google, Yelp or any other) without disclosing they are an employee of your company in the review.
- Providing any type of compensation to customers for their reviews without disclosing this fact on the review page. (Note: This disclosure is automatically included for all Avid clients within the GoSocial engine.)
- Deleting negative surveys or falsifying results by entering fabricated surveys. The analogy I like to give: Imagine you are a vitamin company and you claimed your products cured cancer, citing research supporting their effectiveness while deleting the results of patients who had poor outcomes, only reporting the positive; or worse, you simply made up the results. This is clearly in violation of consumer protection laws. Likewise, customer reviews and star ratings are increasingly being viewed in the same light.
In the end, a company with a culture that endorses “doing the right thing” will always win out. Unfortunately, I have seen companies who haven’t created that bright line of what is acceptable or not, and like a cancer this lack of integrity spreads, driving out the good employees who are the lifeblood of your organization.
Simply, do the right thing and great things will happen.