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BBB: Best practices for exemplary consumers

A lot of pressure is placed on businesses to go above and beyond for their customers. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic now coupled with ongoing supply chain issues, labor shortages, high inflation costs, and low production rates have only exacerbated the pressure. While these challenges can be frustrating and difficult for consumers to navigate, it’s equally, if not more challenging for the businesses in the thick of it.

As you’re standing in line at the grocery store or your local small business, consider this thought: Are you an exemplary customer?

As consumers, we typically have high expectations of a business during a transaction. Whether it be hiring a carpet cleaner or going out for a nice meal, we want good service at a fair value. But are we doing our part to help? Consider how to exhibit patience, demonstrate appreciation, or even influence other consumers to do the same.

Better Business Bureau offers the following tips on how to be an exemplary customer.

Be ready

Do your research before contacting the business. Know your desired measurements, dates, special requests, times, preferences, etc. Having a general idea of what you are envisioning will help kick things off on the right foot and prevent prolonging the process. Lack of clarity makes it difficult for the company to meet your needs and risks your level of satisfaction once the service is complete.

Be flexible

Remember there is an entire process before a service or product is delivered, which can include delays and errors. People are not perfect, and machines and technology can fail. If something is delayed or is not as requested, it’s acceptable to make your concern known, but understand that most businesses are doing their best given the circumstances and appreciate your patience.

Be in the know

Not all businesses give refunds or offer exchanges. Some businesses have limited hours or means of communication. Be sure to review all paperwork and policies so you know what to expect; if you are unsure, ask questions. This is especially important now as businesses have needed to adjust their normal policies, hours of operation, and expectations.

Be kind

Everyone appreciates a warm tone and a smile. You never know what the other person is going through or just experienced. Try to be the bright point of their day. “Please” and “thank you” really are magic words. Going the extra mile to learn their name and connect with them will increase the likelihood they will go the extra mile for you.

Be understanding

Separate the person from company policies, they have no choice but to follow them. Company policies are often as frustrating for the customer service representative as it is for the customers. They sincerely want to help and may have certain limitations on what they’re allowed to flex. Calmly explaining your situation and maintaining courtesy will help everyone find a solution.

Be patient

Don’t let filing a negative customer review or a complaint be the first time a business hears about a problem. Addressing your dissatisfaction directly is appreciated by most businesses and allows them the opportunity to correct it for you.

Be thankful

We are all busy but taking just a moment to say “I appreciate your help” is time well spent. Go the extra step by sharing your experience with a manager or owner and to really make it known, file a BBB Customer Review.


Roseann Freitas, marketplace manager Hawai‘i, Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific, 900 Fort Street Mall, Ste. 1310, Honolulu, HI 96813 260-0643, Start With Trust.
Source: The Garden Island

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