Never has it been more important than now to be on the lookout for weak links in the promotion, delivery or performance of your product or service. Skip a beat in any of them and you could be on the receiving end of a viral public relations nightmare.

Remember #unitedbreaksguitars, the story of a musician who helplessly watched as his band’s guitars were hurled across a tarmac by airline employees? After landing, his fears were confirmed and his guitar had been broken. To add insult to injury, the company gave him the run-around about his claim.
Wrong a musician and you could end up in a song and the spotlight, as did United Airlines, for all the wrong reasons. Of course, it’s much more likely that if you displease a customer by failing to deliver on advertised products or promised service that you’ll end up with a negative customer review on Yelp, HomeAdvisor, BBB, Facebook and so on.
Are you rolling your eyes yet?

Actually, those are the customers you should be thanking. Why? According to the 2017 BBB Trust Sentiment Index by Nielsen, one out of three customers surveyed decided not to complain, because they didn’t feel it was worth their time. In reality, a significant number of customer voices go unheard.
Be proactive. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback and complain. Be responsive and take care of the issue when they do. Only 25% of the customers who had reached out about an issue felt it was easy to contact the business. Furthermore, almost half of the customers who contacted the business said the company failed to resolve the issue to their satisfaction.
What’s the lifetime value of your average customer? Customer acquisition is expensive. Can you really afford not to pay attention? A whopping 61% of customers surveyed said they would do business again with a company that addressed their concerns. Even 14% indicated they’d be willing to give the business another go if it admitted wrongdoing.

Use these findings as an incentive to take a closer look at how you connect with customers, before and after the sale, but don’t stop there; if your dispute resolution process isn’t working, seek advice. Dave Carroll, the musician United Airlines tried to ignore, gets paid now to speak on the importance of customer service, social media, branding and the power of one voice to make a difference.

If Dave’s booked, contact BBB. You can reach us at 410-400-4BBB.We’re happy to help.

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].