Duquesnel, president and CEO of the Better Business
Bureau serving eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula,
gets the obvious question every now and then in this
24/7 online world.
do you keep the Better Business Bureau relevant?
Especially when so many complaint message boards, social
media posts and online reviews are easily accessed on
mobile phones and desktops.
the holiday season, for example, we’ve seen plenty of
examples where consumers with complaints turn to social
media. Snapbook, the online-based photo service, saw its
Facebook page get hit with customer complaints when
people faced late deliveries of customized calendars
filled with family photos, one-of-a-kind Christmas cards
and other items.
does the BBB compete? One answer: The Better Business
Bureau has launched its own version of a one-stop spot
for customer reviews on the BBB website. But this one
has a twist of sorts. Customer reviews undergo more of a
want to make sure the reviews we post are truly
reviews," Duquesnel said.
idea is to enable customers to give a good review, as
well, as making a complaint public. The idea was tried a
few years ago by the BBB, but that was too close to the
hangover from the Great Recession when everyone was on
such economic edge that few people had anything good to
say about anyone.
said it is important that businesses be able to respond
to negative reviews and have an opportunity to verify
whether someone who has complained really was a
recalls a story from one contractor who felt he had been
treated unfairly because a consumer complained about a
quote for a job. His argument was that the consumer was
comparing prices on two totally different levels of
projects. His bid was higher, he said, because the scope
of the work he proposed to do was much greater. No work
was done; just a quote for a potential job. But the
homeowner took his anger to the web.
contractor complained: "He’s telling everybody
under the sky that I’m a fraud."
said a business is notified by email each time a
customer review is posted to their BBB Business Review
and the company is given the opportunity to respond
publicly and alert the BBB if the reviewer did not have
an interaction with the company. If there’s a
disagreement, the customer can be asked to produce a
receipt to show that they actually did buy something
from a business.
a business does want to respond to a customer review,
they can," she said.
said the BBB can work personally with businesses in
particular cases if it’s suspected that a review isn’t
legitimate, maybe something from a disgruntled employee
or a competitor.
BBB already receives up to 30,000 or so complaints in a
customer cannot leave a review if he or she has already
filed a formal BBB complaint; customer reviews do not
impact any letter grade that the BBB gives a business.
The customer reviews can be found at www.bbb.org/detroit/reviews.
said she’s been working with businesses to explain the
idea behind the online reviews and how such reviews can
help spot problems early on or work to help build a
business. Such a strategy, she said, can be good for
consumers, particularly millennials, are heavily
influenced by what they read online about a product or a
service. The BBB’s research indicates that 80 percent
of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal
new online review spot isn’t just about leaving
complaints, she said. If someone is really pleased with
a service, they can also say so.
can say ‘Great Job’ publicly," Duquesnel said.