How closely is your business monitoring its customer feedback? A business’s reputation can be influenced by unfavorable customer reviews and complaints, so it’s important to know what you need to do when one shows up.

Think of it from the other perspective: how often have you had an unsatisfying experience with a business and shared your experience in a public forum? And, if you received a personalized response from the business, how did that make you feel? Studies show that 7 in 10 respondents indicated that seeing a brand’s response to a complaint, not even their own, showed that the business cares about its customers.

But, according to Womply, over 75 percent of businesses don’t respond to any reviews. Responding to every customer complaint, even the slightest negative mention of your business, is a great way to win a customer’s loyalty back.

Not responding to complaints affects your BBB Rating

There are many reasons why responding to all customer complaints is a good practice. Submitting a response indicates a willingness to work with customers to make things right. In fact, how a business responds to customer complaints is one of the biggest components of the BBB Business Rating.

There is always a lot of speculation about what makes up BBB Ratings and how they are calculated. People see businesses with thousands of complaints and wonder how it can still carry an A+ Rating through BBB.

At BBB, we know that misunderstandings happen and that sometimes the factors that lead to frustration are out of everyone’s control. For us, it’s not about how the mix up occurred, but more about how a business reconciles with their customers.

Businesses that respond quickly and work with their customers to address their concerns and repair the relationship can still maintain an A+ Rating. Larger companies that have more customers are more likely to have a higher volume of complaints. Focusing on how often and how effectively a business responds, rather than the number of complaints alone helps to keep the scales balanced.

Share your side of the story

Customer reviews are powerful. According to BrightLocal, an average local business’s Google My Business listing is viewed 1,260 times each month. When there are unfavorable reviews present in that bunch, especially those without responses, it may lead a customer to spend their money somewhere else.

But sometimes reviews don’t share the whole story. One reason why a customer might exaggerate details in their review is when they’re in pursuit of some kind of compensation. They believe the escalation will encourage your business to respond. If left unattended, these situations can harm your business’ reputation.

Responding to a customer’s review gives you your chance to share what happened. Address the situation by acknowledging the customer’s frustration, sharing some insight on what led to the misunderstanding (even if it is exaggerated), and offer the chance for further reconciliation.

Responding could save you a customer

According to Womply, people spend up to 49 percent more money at businesses that reply to reviews. Even unhappy customers may come back to a business if they feel their complaint is heard and responded to.

As stated above, customers may be frustrated, but sometimes negative reviews you read have exaggerated details. 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.

But it’s not just the initial customer your response might save. You could also save a number of additional customers who see how you responded to a challenging situation. Seeing a business respond to and work with an upset customer helps potential customers know that your business cares about their interests. Just taking the time to acknowledge a complaint, even if you cannot provide compensation, is enough to show prospective customers that you care.

Let’s talk trust! Follow your Better Business Bureau for business resources, tips on maintaining honesty and integrity, and marketplace news.

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