Uber’s BBB Rating: A Lesson about Customer Service

Kansas City MS

The news cycle has been ablaze with reports of Uber’s “F” rating from the San Francisco Better Business Bureau. As the BBB and others shed light on the true motivation behind the rating, the real story offers a lesson that owners of any business would do well to heed.

It turns out that the original story may not be as accurate as the masthead under which it was written would have us believe. According to BBB spokesperson Katherine Hutt, there were a number of incorrect assertions made in the original New York Times article written by Mike Isaac and presumably based on a press release on behalf of the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association.

Among the inaccuracies were assertions that the “F” rating itself was new (Uber was actually rated in March according to their BBB listing) and that the rating was based on complaints about surge pricing and other questionable practices by the company. While that is true of many of the complaints, and Uber’s pricing model is worthy of investigation, the BBB issues ratings based on companies’ response to those complaints rather than their substance.

In this case, Uber received an “F” (along with Lyft, Yellow Cab, and Zipcar, among others) because it failed to respond to a number of complaints listed on the site.

And here is the lesson: effective customer service requires responsiveness and a willingness to resolve complaints.

Whether you work with businesses or individual customers and whether your customers rate your company on Yelp, the BBB, or simply by word of mouth, people will talk about the quality of service they receive. In addition to timely service or a product that functions according to its design, every customer that chooses your company is placing their trust in your ability to handle any issues that may arise.

That may not mean meeting a customer at the airport with a fully-cooked steak, but however you choose to approach customer service it does mean investing time, energy, and personnel into acknowledging and resolving customer issues.

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