• August 1, 2014

Businesses can mitigate consumer complaints

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Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014 4:30 am

Erin Dufner, senior vice president of communication for the Better Business Bureau, recently explained the process behind BBB complaints and how businesses can mitigate consumer issues.

Dufner is responsible for overseeing all internal and external communications, including marketing and media outreach, for Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and Permian Basin regions.

Dufner recently talked with Herald Business Editor Mason W. Canales.

How often do businesses receive complaints?

Complaints are filed by consumers against a particular business when they have a problem they cannot resolve on their own. Every complaint is reviewed by a staff member at BBB and then forwarded to the business requesting a response. Depending upon how quickly the parties respond, BBB can help resolve complaints in just a few days. The number of complaints a business receives is not nearly as important as how the business handles them. BBB does not solicit complaints but is here to help businesses and consumers resolve their differences.

Why do customers complain about a business, their products or services?

In BBB’s experience, complaints received by BBB are generally a misunderstanding between the parties.

While the variety of reasons and desired resolutions vary, some industries tend to generate a larger volume of complaints.

BBB has been helping businesses and consumers work together for more than 100 years.

What should be the goal in responding to a customer complaint?

The goal of the business should be to respond to any consumer complaint and make a good faith effort to resolve it. BBB does not make a judgment on the validity of the complaint, but instead acts as a neutral third-party to help bring the businesses and consumers together.

How should employees, managers or owners respond to customer complaints?

Quickly and fairly. It is important for businesses to have a process in place to handle any type of complaint, regardless of where or who it comes from. Should a business receive a consumer complaint filed with BBB, the form has specific instructions on how to respond.

Is there one thing to remember when talking to a disgruntled or complaining customer?

Remain calm and listen to their concerns. It’s a good idea not to respond emotionally.

Be sure to get the facts and keep them in the loop on your efforts to get to the bottom of the situation.

In today’s digital age ,how important is it to ensure consumers aren’t complaining about your business? If a customer complains non-verbally, such as through the BBB, is there a way to mitigate the issue?

BBB publishes verified, unbiased information about a business’ marketplace performance over a three-year period. BBB also includes the detail of both the complaint, as well as the business response.

This helps businesses and consumers make smarter buying decisions. In the digital age, it’s a good practice to be aware of what is being said about your business on- and offline.

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