Articles: Is a bad review a bad thing?Well we all know that a bad review can scare potential teachers away. It is not just the scare mongering online, but  also the psychology surrounding it, that said it has also been proven by multiple research studies, which is why small to medium business owners are expected to spend thousands of dollars and man hours just on fixing bad reviews. Just because you, your institution has received a bad review, should you do everything in your power and budget to delete the offending review? I always use the following quote when advising clients through difficult times.  “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”  - Napoleon Hill.

A negative review and online criticisms on sites like ESLwatch, Scam Alert, CFTU and forums can actually be a good thing.

Ok, I hear you say in a tone that is condescending, "How?"

As long as a bad review is constructive, and not just a remonstrance! A review will help you identify areas for improvement. Yes I know, as a business owner myself, a review that does not pull any punches is gut wrenching to say the least. Any business owner worth their salt and cares about their business should feel that way and that is okay. Reviews should be taken for what they are, feedback, which is valuable given by candidates, parents, students or teachers who have had firsthand experience, who will and have objectively identified area for improvements within your business practices.

Which is why it is very important not to lose your head when receiving a bad review online. The reviewer who has criticized your business may actually help you gain key insights and understanding whether it is cultural or otherwise, that will make your business practices better. By understanding the issues it should help you fix those issues which has been highlighted by the reviewer. A constructive review may help you realize what is expected from you, when employing staff from another country, for example a western teacher expects to be paid on time, a certain standard of living, they are treated with respect, and above all that he/she is legal in their chosen country. Whatever the problems are, you will not know unless you monitor online reviews and above all listen to what they are saying.

If you are receiving too many good reviews, and everything is sweetness and light it does come across as either a internet troll or a fake review, which in all honesty can be spotted straight away.

Yes, I know some owners have teachers write good reviews on their behalf even though the teacher hates their chosen school, yes I understand that no business owner wants a google search littered with negative reviews and low ratings. But, it is a double-edged sword. If you are receiving too many good reviews, then “The old adage, If it is too good to be true, then it probably is" comes in to force. A negative review makes you look more real. Too many good reviews make you look fake.


This is a major problem as ESLwatch has caught a number of companies, schools, recruiters and individuals posting fake reviews online. For this reason, you do not want to appear too good to be true. We are all not infallible, even the best run company will have their weak points and are not perfect. The best run school or intuition will have the odd rant from a disgruntled parent, student or ex-employee. In other words, a bad review can legitimise your school, university, company, agency or you as an individual recruiter.

So, how having bad reviews is a good thing? Well they make you more competitive, giving you an opportunity to prove critics wrong. More importantly they remind you as a business owner to stay competitive. Monitoring online reviews, yours and your competitors, you get an understanding on how well your business is doing, analyze data to gain an edge over your rivals.

Once you understand your current failings and issues and rectify them, then who knows where that will lead, teacher retention, happy working environment, recommendations from parents students and employees, employees going the extra mile for your school or company, just to name a few. I would think that is the type of recognition you as an owner deserve.

In brief:

A bad review offers an opportunity for you as a business to turn critics into fans. Set yourself a challenge and manage your online reputation by listening and responding to what your reviewers have to say. Regardless of your personal views of review sites, they are here to stay, it will advantageous to see ESLwatch as a platform for changing the conversation about your business and changing it for the better.