One of the common methods of vetting a business that you have never worked with before is to check to look at the reviews or formal complaints about the business. Some of the common lists to post a review or file a complaint are sites like YELP, the BBB, or Ripoff Report.
Any business that works with a volume of customers over a period of time will have a complaint filed against them. Large businesses like McDonald’s Hamburgers or Amazon have complaints files about something somewhere almost every day. Business that have never had a complaint filed against them probably has not been around very long or does not work with a large sector of the general public.
This is not to say that complaints are not justified. There is more to reviewing complaints than reading how bad the service was from one customers’ point of view. Yes that customer probably had some less than average experience, but in the realm of company performance would not be the norm.
The first item to consider when reviewing a business review or complaint is to look at the number and frequency of complaints. If a company has only one complaint a year, or even a complaint or two for a high volume business, that means that most of the customers are satisfied. Consider that there are television commercials were they advertise their customer satisfaction rate. If the customer satisfaction rate were 97% that means that 97 of 100 customers were satisfied and that 3 were not satisfied. Enhance this to a large volume business and it becomes that 3,000 people out of 100,000 customers were not satisfied.
The second issue is that internet review sites provide a lot of anonymity for the complainer. Social media allows anyone to say anything about anyone with little consequences of their actions. Sites like the BBB and Ripoff Report provide an opportunity for the business to respond to the complaint. To fully and accurately review a business complaint you must also read the response by the business representative. Remember that just because someone can say something on the internet does not make it true.
The other issue is that some people do not understand basic business practices. Yes business are there to provide services to the customer, but are often regulated by a number of internal and external sources. Customers can sometimes expect, or demand far more than a particular business is able to provide.
The next time you vet a business and see a complaint be sure to follow through and read the response by the business to get the whole story.