What have you done for your customers lately? That’s a good question, because week in and week out, Better Business Bureau (BBB) encounters customers who are looking for small things — a return call, a thank you, an apology — and many times, nothing more.

Here are tips to help you build loyalty and grow your business:

  • Be accessible. Do your customers know how they can reach you should a problem with the product or service arise? Social Media and e-mail are great facilitators for consumer-to-business communication. To make sure customers know how and where to reach you, prominently display your contact information online and in your marketing materials.
  • Respond in a timely manner. What constitutes a timely manner is often left up to interpretation. You, as a business owner, may feel 24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to reply to a customer —whereas the customer may feel an immediate response is the only course of action reasonable.
  • Post your hours of operations. This helps manage expectations and holds your business to a standard.
  • Follow up with a thank-you e-mail. Thank-you notes are a great and lasting way to show your appreciation. Customers will take their business elsewhere when they feel undervalued. Letting the customer know you understand they have a choice and appreciate that they chose you can go a long way.

Rewards From Boards

As a business owner or senior member of your company, there are a number of moves you can make to energize your career or expand your business know-how in areas not under your direct supervision. They include corporate governance, growing your network and affecting positive change in the community. Serving on a nonprofit board of directors is one way you can accomplish all of these tasks.

If you’re a fan of business self-regulation and ethics in the marketplace, BBB’s board might be a good fit for you. If accepted, you’ll serve one three-year term (and can serve no more than two consecutive terms). Those interested must represent a BBB-Accredited Business in Greater Maryland and submit an application by July 31.

Board Facts

  • The board meets four times a year and holds a one-day retreat every fall.
  • Meetings are generally held on Thursday mornings, from 8:30–10:30 a.m.
  • Meetings are hosted on a voluntary, rotating basis at a director’s place of business.
  • Attendance is expected.
  • Board members are expected to serve on at least one committee during their board tenure and after the first year. Committees currently meeting are Personnel, Finance, Standards and Compliance, and Executive. Engagement is the key to our success.
  • BBB’s current roster of directors is available online.

For more information, contact Angie Barnett at 410-347-3981.

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland. She can be reached at 410-347-3990 and [email protected].