BBB Business Tips: Why you should answer customer complaints and reviews

Responding quickly and effectively can help you keep a customer and improve your bottom line.

 

Complaints happen! However, responding to customer complaints is good practice and can have a big impact on your company and its reputation. Submitting a response indicates a willingness to work with customers to make things right. 

Check out these three ways that responding to customer complaints can help your business.

It’s a chance to share your side of the story

Customer reviews are powerful. When you have unfavorable reviews, especially those without responses, it may lead a customer to spend their money somewhere else.

However, reviews may not always tell the complete story. A customer might embellish information in their review because they’re pursuing some kind of compensation. They assume the escalation will encourage your business to react negatively. These circumstances, if left unattended, can harm your business’ reputation.

Responding to a customer’s review allows you a chance to explain what happened. The steps begin with recognizing the customer’s dissatisfaction, providing insight into what caused the misunderstanding (even if it’s exaggerated), and allowing the opportunity for further reconciliation.

>> RELATED: Handling customer reviews

You could save a customer 

Even unhappy customers may return to a business if they feel their complaints are heard and responded to.

Customers may be frustrated, but sometimes unfavorable reviews include inflated opinions. Acknowledging the customer’s concerns, working with them, and coming up with a solution together is a great way to repair the relationship and save a paying customer.

However, your answer may save more than just the first customer. You may also keep additional customers who observe how you responded to a challenging situation. Seeing a company professionally work with a dissatisfied client shows future consumers that your company cares about their needs. Taking the time to acknowledge a complaint, even if you cannot provide compensation, can show prospective customers that you care.

>> RELATED: Good customer service is key to small business success

It could impact your BBB Rating

Did you know how a business responds to customer complaints is one of the most significant components of the BBB Business Rating?

BBB Ratings and how they're derived are sometimes the subject of discussion. For example, how do businesses with thousands of complaints often have an A+ BBB rating? At BBB, we recognize that misunderstandings occur and that the causes that contribute to dissatisfaction are not always within everyone's control.

For us, it’s not about how the mix-up occurred but how a business reconciles with its customers.

Businesses that react quickly to customer concerns and work with clients to restore the connection can maintain an A+ Rating. Larger companies with a more extensive network are more likely to have a higher volume of complaints. Rather than focusing on the number of complaints, consider how frequently and effectively those complaints are resolved. 

Resolving customer complaints not only helps restore your reputation when trust has been broken, but also can help generate lasting loyalty with customers. 

Here are some great tips on how to deal with complaints:

Be responsive: BBB recommends always being responsive to customers and truthful in advertising. Check out the BBB Standards for Trust to see if it aligns with your business.

Respond professionally: What matters to the customer is that you are willing and able to handle the problem. Make the company look great by being productive and proactive. If a situation warrants further investigation or action, that is another matter, but don’t bring the customer into it.

Get the facts: Ask questions, listen without interruption or argument, and re-state your understanding by paraphrasing what you just heard. See the customer’s point of view.

>> RELATED: Read more by Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland

Apologize: Be sincere in expressing regrets that the customer has been inconvenienced or disappointed. Then, state the company position. Ask questions to find out if the customer understands company policy. If adjustments are in order, make them quickly, and cheerfully. If no adjustment is due, explain the company policy to the customer. If the company is at fault, admit it quickly and show your willingness to correct the error. Remember, the purpose is to bring the customer back.

Rebuild your reputation: Remind customers that you have built a good reputation based on service and dedication to your customers. Let them know you appreciate them and can correct the problem.

For additional tips and resources, visit BBB.org to help keep your small business thriving. Contact your Better Business Bureau by calling 216.241.7678 or emailing info@cleveland.bbb.org. Interested in becoming BBB Accredited? Find out how you can apply for BBB Accreditation.
 

 
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  • Next up: Would you do business with you?

    Would you do business with you?

    Take the time to be a customer at your own business to help you perfect the customer experience.

     

    When was the last time you were a customer in your business? When was the last time you called your organization? Or the last time you reviewed your website? And have your employees ever been that same customer? If not, how do they know what your customers see, hear, touch, and most importantly, feel about your organization and the services you provide? 

    If there was ever a time to think and act like your customer, now would be that time. Your customers and prospects are looking at every part of your business. And the perception that we have of our organization may not be the same that our prospects and customers have. 

    Think about any experience you have had recently as a customer. You probably noticed several items that made a positive or negative impact on you. And whether you realized it or not, these impact points affected your subconscious and if you were going to do business with that organization again. When someone asked you how your experience was in working with that company, those impact points came right back to you, and you started talking about them.

    I have news for you – your customers are doing the same thing with your organization. That's why it's important to take time to become your customer and experience what they experience. 

    The old saying is true: "You never get a second chance to make a great first impression." That is why Impact Points are a critical element in your organization. And there are two types: Business Branded and Behavior Based. What does each mean?

    >> RELATED: How to create an impression that LASTS

    Business Branded: This is everything that makes up the brand of your organization. However, it's more than just your logo, your tagline and your marketing pieces. It is any place where someone interacts with your brand, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to you. It could be your lobby, your on-hold message, your conference room...and yes, even your restrooms. It could also be the copy in the email that was sent, as it could be perceived as inconsiderate or unorganized. 

    Behavior Based: This is a fancy term for your people. You could have the most beautiful building and the most "polished" brand around. However, if your people are not friendly, helpful, or maybe just don't care, it won't matter what the first type of Impact Point is. Why? Your people also make up your brand. And how they treat people can have an even bigger impact on the minds of your customers and prospects. 

    >> RELATED: Impress your customers with these 8 tips

    Yes, we are all busy in our organizations. Sometimes when we are that busy we leave the "blinders" on, and we just don't see, hear or read stuff that's important to our customers.

    My advice is to take a step back, take the blinders off and become your customer every once in a while. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers, so that you can better create that first-class (or Black Tie) experience for them. It's one of the best things you can do for your organization. 

    Bob Pacanovsky is a Keynote Speaker and Trainer, and he works with companies and organizations that look to achieve the highest levels of Hospitality and Service Excellence to attract and retain more customers and employees. His "Would YOU do business with YOU" seminar is well-received among organizations as it's interactive, entertaining, and eye-opening. It's also customized to meet the needs of his customers. He can be reached at Bob@BobPacanovsky.com.

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  • Next up: MYB Year in Review: 2019

    MYB Year in Review: 2019

    As we end one decade and start another, we’re taking a look back at ten of our favorite articles from 2019. Which ones make your list?

    In 2019 we explored topics including cybersecurity, using video to market your business, establishing an effective social media presence and so much more. Here is a recap of some of those standout articles.

    Hiring Contract Remote Workers Can Benefit a Small Business if Done Right

    Not having the responsibility to pay for health care and saving on office space are just two of the reasons many businesses are using contract remote workers. Read these other benefits to hiring contractors and how you can have a successful experience for all parties.

    The Benefits and Cost of an Employee Wellness Program

    From reduced health care costs to increased employee morale, there are many benefits of a workplace wellness program. Discover the details behind employee wellness programs: the costs associated, the benefits and examples of the limitless possibilities for these programs.

    9 Ways to Remove Risk from Your Social Media Policy

    Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it can also open your business up to a lot of risks. Having a strong and clearly worded social media policy can help you mitigate these risks, however. Here are nine things to keep in mind as you put your company's policy together.

    Check Your Fiscal Fitness

    How fiscally fit are you? You should probably already know the answer to this question but most business owners do not. Answer these 10 money questions and find out.

    Don't Act Like a Sell Out When You're Selling

    There are going to be times as a sales person when you'll have to modify your behavior to land a sale. Here's how to make sure you don't modify the integrity of your business and your self-esteem in the process.

    5 Cybersecurity Tips You Should Put in Place Right Now

    On average, a data breach costs the impacted business $3.6 million. And the cost-per-compromised-record is an average $141. If only the companies hit by these data attacks had taken a look at these cybersecurity tips.

    Don't Be a Networking 'Slug'

    Networking receptions can be a powerful way to generate new business for your company. It's a shame, though, how many people create negative first impressions during these events and end up driving business away. Don't be one of these networking slugs: Follow this advice instead!

    5 Ways to End Workplace Dishonesty

    There's a lot to understand when it comes to workplace dishonesty, including the reasons behind it and the different forms it can take on. And most importantly, we're bringing you ways to prevent dishonesty from happening at work in the first place. So click here—because, honestly, you can't afford to miss this one.

    Making Relationships Work

    Before you enter into a new business relationship, it's imperative you really know your new partner. Here is the basic information you need to know, and the proof you need to see, in order to ensure your partnerships work for you.

    10 Benefits of Using Subscription-based IT Services for Your Business

    From ease of scalability to cost streamlining, more companies are looking to subscription-based IT services to help with their technology needs. Take a closer look at other reasons why companies are making the switch.

     

    What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from 2019? Let us know on Twitter!

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  • Next up: Help Our Community Be Counted: 2020 Census needs your voice

    Help Our Community Be Counted: 2020 Census needs your voice

    As of August 24, Cuyahoga County’s response rate to the 2020 U. S. Census stands at only 64.6%. The County’s response rate is lagging behind all of our neighboring counties and behind many of our peer counties. The current rate is also lower than the 2010 Census, which was 67.1%.  

    The Census impacts federal representation and funding for things like roads and bridges, health care, education, food assistance and so much more. For every person not counted in Cuyahoga County, $1,814 is lost in federal funding for these programs. 

    • A quick tally of the numbers indicates that over 400,000 people in our County have not yet completed the Census, which equates to close to $762 million in federal funding being left on the table.  
    • Large companies use Census data to determine which markets to move into and which ones to exit.  
    • During this pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, Cuyahoga County’s Census numbers are even more important than in past counts. 

    Business owners are trusted, well-known figures in the community, and we need your voice now. We need your assistance in sharing the importance of the Census with your employees and customers. Can we count on you to employ every communication method in your toolbox for the next 30 days?
    Social media, newsletters, public meetings, signage, door-knocking and outreach events are key opportunities for you to share a personalized message with residents. To learn more about messaging and view a social media toolkit, click here.

    The 2020 Census is a marathon that has just turned into a sprint. Too much is at stake. The time to respond is now!


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  • Next up: 2020 Cuyahoga County Small Business Survey

    2020 Cuyahoga County Small Business Survey

     

    COSE has been working in partnership with Cuyahoga County, City of Cleveland, and a strong coalition of community organizations serving small businesses to learn more about the needs of small businesses in Cuyahoga County, including digital needs, financial needs, and needs specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. We invite you to share the 2020 Cuyahoga County Small Business Survey far and wide with all of your networks:

    If your organization has in-person services and can safely assist small business owners to fill out the survey electronically, we highly encourage you to do so. If you do not have a socially-distanced way to assist in electronic survey completion, please let us know as we are coordinating the distribution of a limited number of paper copies. This will require organizations to re-collect filled out paper surveys so that they can be processed and recorded.

    We are hoping to get the widest breadth of responses possible, including responses from community members who may speak a language other than English. We have partnered with Global Cleveland to provide translation services for a variety of languages. If you, your colleagues, or your clients need translation services to complete the survey, please contact Global Cleveland at www.globalcleveland.org, or by calling 216-472-3282.

    We highly encourage you to share this survey via email, newsletter, social media, and any other applicable avenues. Thank you so much and we look forward to hearing from our community!

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  • Next up: Developing the Talent Pipeline at the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit

    Developing the Talent Pipeline at the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit

     

    Cleveland area educators and business community representatives attended the 2020 Cleveland Internship Summit last week at Tri-C’s Corporate College East Campus. Attendees heard from Keynote Speaker Jeff LeBeau, who started as an intern in 2006 at WRL Advertising and is now the company's president.

    In his presentation titled Create Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, LeBeau said that an employer’s focus should be on building an internship that works for both parties—one that is flexible, educational, challenging, and that provides real work experience and a clear an end goal.

    “It’s about exposing people to what they aren’t comfortable with and working to improve that,” he said.

    New this year, the summit featured programing that includes a track targeting those with long-term, established programs and a track of topics for those who are seeking the foundational information of building or growing an internship program.

    For newer internship programs, sessions included Intern Recruitment with panelists from CSU, Lincoln Electric and Union Home Mortgage, as well as Diversity & Inclusion in Internships with panelists from Ernst & Young and Tucker Ellis. For established internship programs, sessions included Innovation in Internships with panelists from FedEx Custom Critical, Sherwin Williams and Baldwin Wallace, as well as Bridging the Employability Gap with panelists from Oswald Company, Swagelok and Eaton.

    The summit wrapped up with a plenary session presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans titled Building a Talent Pipeline Through a Winternship. The company’s Winternship is a week-long immersion experience in Detroit, Michigan, for students looking to gain professional experience over their winter break. During the week, students engage with senior leaders, shadow hiring leaders, attend exclusive events and other opportunities. At the end of the week, students may receive an offer to join the company for a summer internship or full-time role after graduation. Summit attendees heard about the challenges faced with the Winternship program, how the company measures success and where they continue to see it grow.

    If you want to learn more about GCP’s talent agenda and how your company can connect, contact us at talent@gcpartnership.com.

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