Consumer complaints are not necessarily an indication of bad business practices; sometimes, it's just part of doing business. Therefore, it is important for all businesses to know how to effectively resolve consumer disputes.
Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington serves as a neutral, third party helping businesses and consumers reach a satisfactory resolution in their marketplace disagreements./p>
BBB offers the following guidelines for businesses on how to address complaints:
Gain composure before responding. Most businesses take pride in their work and take customer service very seriously. After receiving notice of a complaint, try not to take it personally or perceive it as a negative mark against your business.
Listen. Although it may feel impossible to satisfy some disgruntled customers, try evaluating the situation and finding out what the real issue is. Can you see the situation from their perspective, and most importantly, what is the consumer's desired resolution? The answer may be as simple as offering an explanation or sincere apology.
State a position and address each complaint issue. Be thorough. A structured response may include the following: An explanation of your standard business practices, your policy and procedures, a list of events that took place or testimony from employees.
Provide supporting documents. Contracts, invoices, bids, estimates, receipts, pictures, brochures or marketing collateral, and e-mail correspondence may help communicate your point.
Follow through. Businesses that offer a remedy or solution to the issue (such as a refund, replacement product, coupon or discount, or to re-do the work for free), should make good on promises immediately. BBB is a reporting agency and BBB Reliability Reports include full complaint information, including how complaints are answered. Resolved complaints can be a positive reflection; consider it an opportunity to prove that your business is responsible and responsive to customers.
Always respond in a timely manner. BBB's goal is to help businesses resolve customer complaints in a fair, fast and equitable manner.Don't wait until it's too late and the consumer has blasphemed the business name in the community, or worse, the Internet.
Be proactive. Explore success strategies in today's economy at BBB's Motivation for the Marketplace event - visit www.akorww.bbb.org/mfm or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ask for help. BBB is available to assist businesses in determining if there is a pattern of complaints and if there is a specific issue that may be the cause. Most businesses are eager to take corrective action. For more information, visit www.bbb.org.