We’re excited to add a new service to the BBB lineup. As of January 13, your BBB will publish Customer Reviews alongside our BBB Business Reviews. You can view any company’s consumer feedback in the Customer Reviews drop-down tab on its review page on our website.
Customer Reviews are different from BBB Business Reviews in that customers have more control over when the review gets published and who decides whether their complaints are publishable. Complaints that affect BBB Business Reviews are only posted when BBB staff have closed the complaint. But a consumer can post a Customer Review without going through the complaint process at all.
We debated the advantages and disadvantages of running Customer Reviews at length, and we’ve ultimately decided that they’re a great resource for both businesses and consumers. Here are some of the reasons that we think that our Customer Reviews will be excellent tools for everyone doing research on St. Louis businesses:
1) Customer verification will make BBB Customer Reviews trustworthy: Before a review can be posted, the reviewer has to verify an email address (even though the reviewer won’t be identified in the review). This extra verification step will dissuade people who might otherwise want to post a fake review from doing so.
2) Businesses will have to verify who customers are, too: After a customer has verified his or her identity, the review will be sent to the business so the business owner can verify that the reviewer really was a customer.
This might seem like it could go wrong – after all, if a business owner doesn’t like the review, he or she could just say that the reviewer was never a customer! Happily, we have already thought this one through. Customers can send us proof of the transaction in question if the business doesn’t acknowledge them. This system should keep all parties honest.
3) Businesses get a chance to respond to BBB Customer Reviews: The Customer Reviews also will include a company’s comments – if it wants to add any – following the reviews. This will give people researching the business a sense of each perspective in a dispute.
4) Customer Reviews will include positive feedback. In the past, BBB’s website has included few positive stories about businesses. After all, the complaints we publish are seldom positive, BBB doesn’t recommend companies to customers. With BBB Customer Reviews, people will be able to reveal their good experiences with businesses, too.
5) Customer Reviews give you opinions you might not hear otherwise. By agreeing to do a customer review, customers give up their right to file a complaint with BBB about their interaction with the company. People who aren’t looking for restitution are less likely to go through the entire complaint process with BBB. A review gives them the option to provide feedback, good or bad.
So do you think that Customer Reviews are a good idea? Are you going to use this new feature? Tell us in the comments!