June 17, 2024

How to Respond to a BBB Complaint in 4 Steps

Founded over a century ago in 1912, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a nonprofit organization that, in its own words, "sets standards for ethical business behavior and monitors compliance."

As part of this mission, the BBB allows customers to rate and review businesses. If a customer is extremely dissatisfied, they can even file a BBB complaint, which is different from a BBB review. A complaint will lead to a BBB investigation — and potentially, loss of the company's BBB accredited status, depending on how the business handles it. 

If your business receives a negative review on the BBB's website — or worse, a customer files a formal complaint — it's important to know what steps you should take next. This guide shares some best practices for responding to poor BBB reviews, plus easy-to-customize review response templates and tips on effective review management. 

How to respond to a BBB complaint in 4 steps (with examples)

There are four basic steps to managing BBB reviews and complaints effectively, which we'll go over in the following sections of this guide:

  1. Explore how to use the BBB's platform 
  2. Learn and apply best practices for responding to negative online reviews
  3. Use response templates to help increase your efficiency
  4. Take advantage of AI review response generators and/or other review management tools 

How to use the Better Business Bureau's website  

To view and manage your BBB reviews or complaints, simply log into your BBB Business account and navigate to the review center. Clicking "Business Login" in the upper right-hand corner will bring you to the following screen: 

better business bureau log in page

Once you're logged in, follow the steps in this short BBB video tutorial that shows business owners how to navigate the platform. 

If you don’t have a BBB Business account already, you can create one here

4 best practices for responding to bad reviews 

What should be included in a business response to a negative customer review? And just how fast does the response need to be?

Here are a few best practices to follow when you receive a negative rating or review on the BBB site. 

1. Respond promptly

Reply to bad reviews in a timely manner. Aim to respond within one day, ideally within a few hours.

2. Apologize for the customer's dissatisfaction

Even if you disagree with the customer's statements, it's important to apologize for their poor experience.

3. Encourage customers to reach out directly

Invite the reviewer to contact your business directly so that your team can take further action.

4. Always maintain professionalism

Always keep your tone courteous, friendly, and professional, even when a customer complains or reviews your business poorly.  

These are effective strategies for dealing with both reviews and complaints — not just on the BBB site, but any platform where consumers rate businesses.

For a deeper dive into this topic, check out the Better Business Bureau's tips for handling customer complaints. You can also explore these additional negative review response examples.  

4 templates for responding to BBB complaints and reviews

Here are four examples of real business responses to negative reviews on the Better Business Bureau. You can modify these templates to easily reply to your own customers. 

Example #1: Poor customer service 

response to a poor customer service review

Review response template: “Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback with us, [ Reviewer Name ]. We understand your concerns and appreciate you bringing this to our team's attention. While unexpected emergencies can impact regular service, it's important to us that our customers always feel valued and receive clear communication from our team. Please be assured that we are reviewing your experience internally so that we can better serve our customers in the future. We hope you'll give us an opportunity to serve you again, and we always welcome you to contact us directly if you need further assistance.” 

Example #2: Pricing complaints 

response to pricing complaints

Review response template: “Hello [ Customer Name ], thank you for leaving a review. We appreciate your feedback, and are sorry to hear that our pricing did not align with your expectations. We strive to provide our customers with outstanding service and support, and always aim to deliver the highest value without sacrificing the quality or durability of our products. We always want our customers to feel confident about their purchases with us, and we welcome you to contact us directly if you have any questions or concerns about [ your warranty, our return policy, etc. ]. We appreciate your feedback, [ Customer Name ], and we hope to hear more from you soon.” 

Example #3: Booking and scheduling issues

response to booking and scheduling issues

Review response template: “Hi [ Reviewer Name ], thank you for sharing your comments with us. Our team is so sorry to hear that you were unable to update your [ reservation, appointment, booking, check-in time, etc. ] with us. We make every effort to accommodate our guests while adhering to [ our, Third Party Company's ] cancellation policies, and we truly apologize for any inconvenience that resulted. We take our guests' feedback seriously and encourage you to contact us directly if you'd like to share any additional comments, or if there's anything further that we can assist you with. We hope you'll give us another chance to host you in the future, and want to thank you once again for your honest review.”

Example #4: Delayed customer support 

response to delayed customer support

Review response template: “Hello [ Reviewer Name ], thank you so much for taking the time to share detailed feedback with us. We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention and are sorry to hear that you were dissatisfied with your experience. We aim to provide exceptional value and fast, friendly service, and are here to help address your concerns however we can. We encourage you to reach out to us directly at [ phone number or email address ] so that we can work toward getting this resolved together. Thanks again for leaving a review, [ Reviewer Name ], and we look forward to speaking with you soon.”

How to respond to customer complaints more efficiently 

When a business fails to address its reviews, it erodes trust in the brand, discourages potential customers, and leads to increased customer churn. 

In the case of a customer complaint, failure to respond can even cause BBB accredited businesses to lose their status and become non accredited businesses.

Don't let your brand lose business over unresolved BBB reviews. Instead, provide your customers with friendly, professional, personalized responses in 24 hours or less with ResponseScribe.

ResponseScribe is a cloud-based, mobile-friendly, done-for-you review response service, which means you don't have to write any content or install any software. Our team takes care of writing and publishing for you, using your preferred content strategy:

  • AI-Generated Responses — Responses are ready in minutes to hours
  • 100% Human-Written Responses — Responses are ready within 24 hours
  • Hybrid Review Response Strategy — We use AI to provide quick responses to positive reviews, while our experienced team of human writers handle your negative reviews

We respond to reviews on the Better Business Bureau and over 50 other platforms, including Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor, and others. Pricing starts at just $29 per month, and you're free to cancel or change plans any time with no fees. 

responsescribe review response service

Can you remove negative reviews from the BBB website?

Like most other review platforms, including Yelp and Google Business Profile, the BBB does not allow businesses to delete or remove unfavorable reviews.

However, an exception applies for reviews that violate the website's rules. As the BBB explains in one blog post from 2023, "Businesses can remove or prohibit reviews that are considered abusive, vulgar, or threatening."

The Better Business Bureau also prohibits reviews that contain any of the following content:

  • "Personally identifiable information" (other than the reviewer's name, which is required to post a review)
  • "Inappropriate language" (such as profanity)
  • Fraudulent, fake, or dishonest reviews
  • Negative or positive reviews motivated by "any incentive or compensation" 

Boost your BBB rating with AI-powered responses to customer feedback

ResponseScribe delivers on-brand, keyword-rich, personalized responses directly to your reviewers on the BBB website and mobile app, in addition to 50+ other review sites and social media platforms.

Protect your business's reputation, boost your local BBB rating, and rebuild trust in your brand. Start your free trial of ResponseScribe today. 

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