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Innovation & Job News

Business Beware of Sarasota Challenges Notion That Customer Always Right

Like a reverse Better Business Bureau, Business Beware lets businesses know which customers to beware of due to lack of payment or poor behavior.

Based in Sarasota, Business Beware was founded by Robert Bodi and his daughter, Ashley Bodi. Robert has been a business owner for over 25 years. He owns and operates Lang Irrigation, Bodi & Associates, and Sports Turf Consulting, so he has seen his share of customers and how businesses are affected by bad customers. The purpose of Business Beware is to assist businesses in resolving issues with customers, avoid timely and costly situations and ensure that customers are held to the same high standards that are commonly held by businesses.

The idea was sparked about 8-10 years ago when Robert was having a meeting with an associate, discussing how they had an experience with a difficult customer. They later realized that it was the same customer. Ashley was in college at the time and thought the idea was cool, however, it wasn't until she experienced working at the business that she came to realize that her dad is right: The customer is not always right.

"We're all customers, but not everyone is a business owner and people have a responsibility to be a good customer," says Ashley. "No one is going to tell the customer that she or he isn't always right, but saying the customer is always right is like saying every single person is perfect and every single person is right all the time."

Robert and Ashley slowly started to launch the idea in 2007 and they were up and running by May 2008. From California to Canada, there was an interest in identifying bad customers, sending out collection letters and resolving issues with customers.

Their goal was to set-up a professional company that served as a support network for entrepreneurs who can relate to problem customers. "We always consider the fact that we don't know what's going on in a person's life that they may be having a bad day so you want to take that into consideration, but that doesn't necessarily excuse bad behavior," says Ashley. She addresses how there are customers who boast about taking advantage of small businesses by "acting up" and getting their way, and they don't realize how much it can harm small businesses. The bad behavior ultimately impacts everyone.

In February 2010, Ashley and Robert launched the Business Beware Radio Show, interviewing business owners and entrepreneurs, and challenging those who believe the customer is always right to call in and discuss their thoughts. The show highlights local and national events, causes and outlandish customer behaviors.

The Business Beware Radio Show airs live every Saturday from 11am-noon on NewsTalk 930 AM WLSS, and streams live on their website at: www.businessbewareradioshow.com
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