Four Simple Tactics to Avoid Customer Complaints and IDFPR Investigations

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The majority of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation investigations are initiated by a consumer complaint, many of which are baseless. While some complaints cannot be avoided, licensees should make every attempt to work with customers to prevent them from calling IDFPR in the first place.

Whether you are a roofer, veterinarian or hair dresser, your goal should be to create a customer service experience that leaves no room for customer complaints. We all know that is easier said than done.

Hypothetical: Rude Roofer Leaves a Mess and a Leak

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation and two responses to it:

Rotten Roofing Roofer Inc. is an Illinois licensed roofing contractor and replaced the entire roof at the home of Jane Doe. While the job went relatively well, the workers did not always clean up the job site and, for a few weeks there was a small leak that caused some damage to the ceiling. Ms. Doe is very upset.

Option 1

Try and appease the customer and work with her. Immediately repair the leak and apologize for the inconvenience. Offer to either repair the water damage or have another professional make the repairs at no cost to Ms. Doe. Cover any damage caused by the water leak to make Jane Doe “whole” (i.e., in the same position she would have been had there been no leak).

Option 2

Tell the customer she is too hard to deal with and you did your best and walk away. At this point she will leave negative reviews on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List and she may also contact IDFPR. IDFPR may then contact you for an information conference. At this point you will likely need to retain legal counsel to help handle the IDFPR complaint. Depending on the facts, IDFPR may decide to take formal action including suspension or revocation of your license based on this case and any others.

Super Duper Apex Roofing could have spent a few hundred dollars going out of its way to appease a customer. Telling a customer “tough luck” can instead cost a company thousands of dollars in legal fees and penalties imposed by IDFPR, not to mention lost future business due the bad reviews and public discipline by IDFPR.

Four Simple Tactics to Avoid Customer Complaints

  1. Be proactive. Deal with a potential problem or complaint as quickly as possible and before the customer starts leaving reviews online and calling oversight agencies.
  2. Show accountability. It may or may not be your fault. Either way, you must demonstrate an attitude of accountability, so choose to own it. The customer may be completely wrong, but if you can make minor corrections to appease them, you’ll avoid the heartache and cost of an IDFPR investigation.
  3. Don’t just fix the one problem. In the process, work to restore the customer’s trust and confidence in your business. Prove that the customer made the right decision to do business with you.
  4. Try and get a good reference out of them. If they write a positive review it will be much harder for them to then go to IDFPR or the BBB and later complain about your company.

If you do receive notice of a customer complaint by way of an IDFPR information conference request, contact 1818 to ensure you are fully prepared for the first meeting.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

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Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.