BBB Reveals Most Complained About Industries
We all know that unsatisfied customers usually have no qualms about voicing their displeasure, but they don’t always research a business’s reputation before handing over their money. According to the Better Business Bureau, consumer and shopping savvy is on an upswing, as the organization received a record amount of contacts for consultation and considerably less formal complaints in 2011.
Last year, consumers came to BBB more than 103 million times for help or information, up 18 percent over 2010. BBB hasn’t seen that much positive action in its entire 100-year history. Formal complaints against businesses dropped from just over one million in 2010 to 927,000 across the US and Canada.
Those figures suggest that consumers not only trust BBB’s system, which includes grading businesses based on complaint histories, responsiveness to customers and legal and government action, but also that they are empowering themselves by becoming educated about where they choose to take their business.
“When consumers come to us first for information about businesses, they are much less likely to need our dispute resolution services later,” said Council of Better Business Bureaus CEO Carrie A. Hurt.
Contracting was the top industry for inquiries, followed closely by used auto dealers, auto repair and service and plumbers. Used auto dealers have never been able to boast a trustworthy reputation, but their presence on the list, as with the other industries, suggests that consumers are looking to minimize risk when making big purchases.
“People tend to do more research when they are spending a lot of money, such as on homes and cars,” Hurt said.
|2011 Total Inquiries||Rank by number of Inquiries1||Percentage Change over 2010|
|Contractors – General||2,232,022||2||71.4%|
|Auto Dealers – Used Cars||1,606,226||3||40.6%|
|Auto Repair & Service||1,581,440||4||63.8%|
|Auto Dealers – New Cars||1,517,950||6||26%|
|Construction & Remodeling Services||1,293,423||8||36.4%|
|Heating & Air Conditioning||1,227,787||9||19.4%|
When BBB receives a complaint about a business from a consumer, the formal procedure that follows gives the company 30 days to respond. BBB says that about 95 percent of complaints are resolved at this point and the rest must go to mediation or arbitration. Cellphone dealers caused consumers the most grief in 2011. Complaints about that industry were up nearly 41 percent from 2010. Television companies came in at number three with 25,518 complaints, but that’s actually an improvement of 17.6 percent from the previous year.
BBB says these results aren’t a shock since these industries provide services we all use frequently.
“Even though the volume of complaints is high, the actual rate of complaints is relatively low. And companies in these industries also tend to resolve complaints at a higher rate, as well,” said Hurt.
After the clamor of the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is surprising that bank complaints dropped 29 percent, loans were down 35 percent and complaints about mortgage brokers fell 31 percent.
The least improvement award goes to payday loan companies—complaints about that industry rose 159 percent in 2011.
|Industry||2011 Total Complaints||Rank by number of Complaints1||Percentage Change over 2010||Percentage of Resolved Complaints 2|
|Cellular Telephone Service & Equipment||38,420||1||40.8%||96.1%|
|Auto Dealers – New Cars||25,983||2||5.2%||87.8%|
|Television – Cable, CATV & Satellite||25,518||3||-17.6%||97.8%|
|Auto Dealers – Used Cars||16,264||5||12%||72.9%|
|Furniture – Retail||14,521||8||11.5%||75.3%|
|Auto Repair & Service||14,490||9||10%||66.7%|
*Charts compiled by BBB
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.