When talking with people my age, the first thing they ask when I tell them I’m working for BBB this summer is “what’s the BBB?” Well before hearing about the BBB10k scholarship, the only thing I knew was that some places have the sticker that says “BBB accredited.” So, what does that mean? What does BBB actually do?
In this week’s blog, in which I explore a different part of Better Business Bureau, and give you the “Three Things I didn’t Know About BBB.”
1. Their Mission is to Create a Marketplace of Trust.
To most people, BBB is just an organization that businesses pay to get an accreditation sticker. If that were the case, no one would want such a pointless “accreditation”—so what’s the big deal? Why do businesses and consumers continue to use BBB?
Here is a little history I found to explain why BBB started, and why it continues to be such a valuable resource to this day.
In the 1800 and early 1900s there was no regulation on advertisements. Businesses could make outlandish claims about nearly anything and everything, and there was no one checking that those claims were legitimate.
Coca-cola manager Samuel Dobbs was bothered by this and made several public addresses on honest advertising and started connecting with others who shared his concern.
In 1912 a group of these business owners, civic leaders, and university professors began investigating these fake advertisements and formed a group which eventually became your Better Business Bureau.
Bottom line-- BBB wants to prevent people getting ripped off and help businesses be better. They do this by vetting businesses and only accrediting companies who put their best foot forward and genuinely care for their customers.
BBB has a simple vision with several attached missions. The vision is to create “An ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other.”
Wait, so what does that mean? David Quinlan, VP of marketing for BBB Northwest + Pacific defines it this way, “it means creating a place where you order something online or walk into a store and you don’t have to worry if the business you are using is a business you can trust.”
The mission is to advance marketplace trust through several actions including:
- Setting standards for marketplace trust.
- Encouraging and supporting best practices by engaging with and educating consumers and businesses.
- Celebrating marketplace role models.
- Calling out and addressing substandard marketplace behavior.
- Creating a community of trustworthy businesses and charities.
BBB focuses on these two factors:
- Integrity: Making sure businesses have respect, good ethics, and positive intent.
- Performance: Making sure businesses act in accordance with BBB’s standards and address customer concerns in a timely and satisfactory manner.
2. You Can Talk to a Real Person
Speaking of customer concerns, let me tell you what I found out about BBB’s customer complaint service and its awesome ability to make business-to-customer interactions positive and beneficial for both the customer and the business.
Ever had a bad experience with a company but couldn’t get a hold of anyone to get it fixed? You sit on hold for an hour just to get a representative who can’t answer your complaint? BBB realizes that and has made a program specifically to deal with customer complaints.
Here’s how it works:
When following the “submit a complaint” link on bbb.org you will be able to reach out to BBB and tell them what happened and why you are filing a complaint. They will then take your complaint and give it to the business.
The Business must respond within 14 days. If no response is given, then a second request will be sent. The goal is to have the business respond to your complaint. In most cases, the business will respond.
This is awesome! Not just for consumers who want their concerns to be heard and addressed, but businesses can rest assured that they will have a chance to help a customer before it turns into a negative review.
It gives customers and businesses confidence that if there is a problem, there is a process to make amends.
As a consumer, this is fantastic because it allows your complaint to get addressed by the right person and allows BBB to do the hard work for you. No more waiting in customer service lines for hours, BBB will help you get your concern addressed quickly and with confidence.
Pretty sweet! So, what else did I find this first week?
3. BBB Accreditation Businesses Care About Their Customers
One of the best known and publicly visible parts of BBB is the business accreditation service. While a lot of people think this is the only thing BBB does, they actually offer tons more services than just this! With that said, however, business accreditation is well known for good reason.
As one of the widest acknowledged business accreditation services in the United States, BBB continues to help people easily recognize businesses dedicated to good practices.
BBB accreditation is, in a nutshell, a community of businesses who have signed a pledge to uphold the BBB standards of business. These businesses have promised to be ethical and do business with integrity.
In a sentence, BBB is a not-for-profit organization that aids consumers by supplying free public reporting services to the community which includes verifying ethical businesses and accrediting them as such. What does this actually mean? Let me break it down for you.
- Accredited Businesses must have been operating for at least 6 months. This allows enough time to see any positive or negative track records.
- They must have all licensing, insurance, certifications, etc. This means you can rest assured that the business will be safe and qualified to perform their service for you.
- They must also have at least a B rating, which is determined by a variety of factors including complaints and the various ways they go about business with their customers.
So why is this helpful? Well let me tell you.
BBB looks at all customer complaints and the businesses are required to respond to them or else it could hurt their accreditation score. This means, in addition to a genuine desire to do the right thing, accredited businesses must want to fix a problem before it becomes a negative review or a lost customer.
In addition, BBB verifies all complaints and reviews to make sure your business isn’t being unnecessarily hurt by fake negative complaints and reviews.
It checks government records for the customers to make sure that there are no outstanding government actions against a company applying for accreditation. Along with this, it checks that businesses are properly protecting the privacy of their customers, so your information is safe online.
Overall, this accreditation helps consumers know which businesses are safe, ethical, and go above and beyond to make sure they are serving their customers the best they can.
In turn, it helps businesses by showing customers they can really be trusted. This is awesome for creating a safe and ethical marketplace for everyone!
In a world of increasingly unethical business and unverifiable online businesses and services, it is more important than ever to be or use accredited businesses. BBB is here to help you be a smarter, safer, and more educated consumer.
Thanks for joining me this week! I’ve already learned a lot about what BBB does and some of its more popular services. Can’t wait to share with you some real-life stories about how BBB has proven itself to help both businesses and consumers towards a more ethical and trustworthy marketplace.
See you next time!