Many people have heard of the Better Business Bureau, or BBB.com, before, but the actual workings of the organization remain a mystery to them. Although BBB.com has the air of a governmental organization, it actually is a group that was formed by the very companies that make up its membership. It is a corporation funded by the dues that businesses pay to become members. For payment of their dues, the businesses are allowed use of the BBB logo as well as provided with arbitration services to facilitate customer complaint resolution.
Although many people think the BBB is completely objective, many member companies are upset about negative ratings attributed to them and wish to fix their BBB online reputation.
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The goal of BBB.com is to provide a place where consumers can register complaints about businesses they have patronized. Appropriately, these complaints usually begin with a customer's negative experience. BBB.com provides a link where customers can initiate the complaint process. BBB.com will allow the company in question to make restitution after a complaint is filed, and in many cases this is how complaints to BBB.com are resolved, as companies would rather quietly take care of a complaint than allow it to become part of their permanent record on BBB.com.
BBB.com itself has faced a good deal of criticism, however. In order for a business to get access to the mediation services they provide, they must be dues-paying members of BBB.com. Thus, it can be argued that they are not neutral in these negotiations. Nevertheless, BBB.com uses the complaints and the status of their resolution to give the businesses on their site a letter grade ranging from A+ to F. Needless to say, if a business receives a low grade on the BBB.com website, it can hurt their reputation and future customer base.
So, what can a business do about a potentially bad letter grade at BBB.com? The first option is to try to resolve the complaint through BBB.com. If, however, you find this to be at an impasse there are several other options.
First, expand your web presence. In order to combat any potentially negative internet press you might receive, make sure you have a strong positive presence to combat it. One way to do this is to establish yourself on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and BBB.com. This provides you with a forum to respond to complaints, as well as a means to promote the positive aspects of your business on a daily basis.
If you find that your reputation is still in danger, sometimes it's worth recruiting the help of a professional. There are now several affordable firms that specialize in improving and maintaining your online reputation. These companies won't fill the web with false positive information about your business, but instead will help you with search engine optimization and other techniques that cause the negative reviews to not come up first when someone searches for your business.
The face of doing business is changing. While customers used to feel empowered when they came to your front desk and complained, now they are increasingly more probable to do so anonymously. In order for a business to be successful, it's essential to have strategies in place that allow you to manage negative internet press.
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