Why Customers Complain
Most customers complain because, for a host of different reasons, the expectations they have when purchasing a product or service are not met. Better Business Bureaus consistently find the following causes behind the majority of consumer complaints they handle.
PRODUCT SERVICE CAUSES:
SALES PRACTICE CAUSES:
YOUR CUSTOMER RELATIONS POLICY
The foundation of customer goodwill is the practice of good customer relations. Your policy is a promise that you are committed to customer satisfaction.
DOES YOUR POLICY?:
While all staff may have complaint handling responsibility, one person within your company should have ultimate authority for customer relations. This person should be available to act on behalf of the company in all customer relations matters.
Display your customer relations policy in your advertising and post it in your place of business. Also, provide a copy of this policy with your sales receipts to guard against misunderstandings and encourage customers to approach you for assistance if needed.
Follow These Essential Procedures:
CUSTOMER RELATIONS CHECK LIST
The following questions can help you evaluate your company for its strengths and weaknesses in promoting greater customer satisfaction:
COMPLAINT HANDLING CHECK LIST
CUSTOMER RELATIONS CRISIS
In the long run, business profits are tied to a company’s ability to satisfy customers. This being the case, the following findings from a summary of recent studies conducted by Technical Assistance Research Programs, Inc. (TARP) of Arlington, Virginia, should be sobering to any business owner:
As the TARP studies show, complaints are one of your most important business opportunities; often returning five dollars in revenue for every one dollar spent on complaint handling. The guidance and suggestions found in this brochure can help your business formulate complaint handling policies and procedures that can help you retain customers who would otherwise be lost.
BBB ARBITRATION SERVICES
Since 1972, most Bureaus throughout the United States have promoted and offered third-party arbitration for consumer-business disputes. This alternative to court is expedient, more cost effective, consistent with most state laws, and confidential.
Arbitration is a legally binding process that begins when both parties sign an agreement permitting the arbitrator to conduct a fact-finding hearing and make a final decision. With no formal rules of evidence, the arbitration hearing uses informal procedures and allows consumers to present their own cases.
If necessary, the arbitrator or designated expert will inspect a product or service performed. After determining the facts, the arbitrator renders a decision, which can be in favor of the business, the consumer, or some compromise solution. This decision will not go beyond the original remedies as stated in the arbitration agreement.
While a great many consumer-business disputes can be resolved by arbitration, it is important to recognize that some issues lie outside the scope of the arbitration process. For instance, claims seeking consequential damages are typically excluded from the BBB arbitration process.
Issues that usually cannot be arbitrated through the BBB include:
When You Deal With BBB Accredited Businesses:
In addition to sponsoring arbitration services, many Better Business Bureaus offer special programs to encourage conscientious complaint handling and dispute settlement. BBB Accredited Businesses are committed to handle complaints according to procedures established by the BBB.
For disputes that are not resolved through the BBB's conciliation process, the BBB may encourage or require BBB Accredited businesses to submit unresolved complaints to binding arbitration as final settlement.
The BBB always strives to put companies in touch with concerned customers to work out solutions before those customers are lost. Telephone referral and mediation help solve problems quickly, without much paperwork.
In those few cases where a mutually acceptable solution is not reached, the BBB provides a professionally trained and certified arbitrator, who will listen to both sides and render a final, binding decision.
BBB Accredited busiensses may display a logo and distribute brochures explaining the program to their customers. These items promote a company's participation in the Better Business Bureau and inform customers where and how to communicate their concerns.
More information about BBB accreditation is available on the BBB website. CLICK HERE to learn more.
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
Recognizing that unresolved complaints pose a threat to consumer confidence and the climate of the American marketplace, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has dedicated itself to playing a leadership role in the resolution of consumer-business disputes.
According to various national polls, the BBB is the most recognized and most used third-party complaint handling mechanism in the United States.
The BBB believes consumers and businesses alike are best served if they can resolve their disputes independently. However, if the matter is not resolved, the BBB will attempt to bring about a resolution by facilitating two-way communication between the parties through mediation.
Should these informal efforts to settle the dispute fail, the BBB can offer arbitration.