By Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC
Providing a customer review service for consumers is fairly new to Better Business Bureau. We are the latest organization to get into this already competitive and often overwhelming space which has become a mainstay in today’s marketplace. In fact, over 90% of the buying public searches for online reviews before making a purchase. BBB realizes this has become a powerful tool for consumers and businesses to engage and respond.
BBB BC’s Customer Reviews service started in March, 2015 and have logged nearly 1,000 reviews so far, most of them positive.
What are the key features of BBB’s Customer Reviews?
More info. They provide consumers with additional information to help them make important financial decisions when hiring a service provider. Millions come to BBB to read Business Reviews before making a decision, now they have more information on actual customer experiences before spending their hard earned cash.
Respond. Our Customer Reviews allow businesses to respond immediately to any concerns or praise. This has the ability for the business to continue to build trust with their clients. BBB is all about being responsive, and this is a key feature of our online reviews.
Truthful. What separates BBB’s review system is our ability to verify that a marketplace transaction did in fact take place. This is key to ensuring the review is a reflection of an authentic experience with a business. BBB verifies reviews in a couple of ways. Primarily we reach out to the consumer and the business being reviewed to make sure both indicate they did business together. This is extremely important to BBB as fake reviews was our number one scam for 2014. We feel fake reviews do a huge disservice to the marketplace trust we try and instill each and every day.
Simple Star Rating. Having reviews integrated into a Business Review gives consumers a more complete picture of who they may be doing business with in the near future. We have included an algorithm that brings together a business’s BBB letter grade and the review and creates an actual star rating for the company. It must be noted however that a customer review, even a negative one, does not affect a BBB letter grade for a business.
Improvement. Customer reviews give businesses a prime opportunity to improve in areas they may be unaware are causing problems for their brand. The worst thing a business can do is be defensive about a bad review. All businesses get bad reviews from time to time. What’s the old saying? You can’t please everyone all of the time. Our customer reviews are a tool for businesses to get a different perspective on how they are doing, perhaps on a more personal level. The information in reviews could potentially lead to policy changes that improve aspects of a company’s customer service, or the product itself.
One of the main things Accredited Businesses wanted from BBB over the past few years was a Customer Review System. It’s a way to connect with clients that builds reputation and trust. Responding to a review shows your current and potential consumers that you care, even if it’s a simple thank you in response to a positive review.