BBB’s Best Practices for Exemplary Consumers

Why they’re crucial for small businesses.
Industry Watch
Photo: Getty Images

Right now, a lot of pressure is placed on businesses to go above and beyond for their customers. The COVID-19 pandemic, now coupled with ongoing supply chain issues, labor shortages, high inflation and low production rates, has only exacerbated that stress. While these challenges can certainly be frustrating for consumers, they are especially difficult for businesses tasked with operating during a turbulent time.

So, as you’re standing in line at the grocery store or stopping by your favorite local small business, consider this: Are you an exemplary customer?

As consumers, we typically have high expectations of businesses we transact with. 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.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips on being an exemplary customer.

Be Ready

Do your research before contacting the business: Know your desired measurements, dates, special requests, times, preferences, etc. A general idea of what you envision 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 if your needs aren’t met, you’ll likely be dissatisfied with the company’s service upon completion.

Be Flexible

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

Be in the Know

Not all businesses give refunds or offer exchanges. Some companies have limited hours or means of communication. Review all paperwork and policies, so you know what to expect; if you are unsure, ask questions.

Be Understanding

Company policies are often as frustrating for customer service representatives as they are for customers. They sincerely want to help but the assistance they are allowed to provide may be limited. Calmly explaining your situation and maintaining courtesy will help everyone find a solution.

Be Patient

Don’t let filing a negative customer review or complaint be the first time a business hears about a problem. Addressing your dissatisfaction directly is appreciated by most companies 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.

For more consumer tips, visit

Roseann Freitas is the public relations and communications manager for the Better Business Bureau Great West + Pacific.  

Categories: Industry Watch