Overview of the Better Business Bureau:
The Better Business Bureau or BBB, is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all. Their vision is an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other. The BBB states, “BBB ensures that high standards for trust are set and maintained. We exist so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust. We provide educational information and expert advice that is free of charge and easily accessible.”
Not every business is eligible or accepted for BBB accreditation, and those that do must operate with integrity to keep their accreditation. So it is quite the honor to receive a high BBB rating. Businesses that meet the high standards are invited to seek BBB accreditation and are presented to the BBB’s Board (or designees) for review and acceptance as a BBB Accredited Business.
BBB does not compare businesses against each other but rather evaluates businesses against their own standards. To be accredited by BBB a business or organization affirms that it meets and will abide by the following 8 standards:
- Build Trust
- Advertise Honestly
- Tell the Truth
- Be Transparent
- Honor Promises
- Be Responsive
- Safeguard Privacy
- Embody Integrity
How to Get a Good Rating
The BBB rating is based on information BBB is able to obtain about the business. BBB seeks and uses information directly from businesses and from public data sources. The BBB will consider complaints from the public, the type of business, time in business, transparent business practices, honoring commitments to BBB, licensing and government actions, and advertising when determining BBB rating. Based on these factors, BBB will assign a rating from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
Addressing a Complaint
The BBB rating is largely affected by customer complaints. Complaints are not only publicly available, but they also impact your overall rating and can harm your businesses reputation. Complaints stay on a company’s record for three years, so avoiding them whenever possible is crucial. But if you do receive them, there are some things you can do to minimize the damage and try to avoid causing any more of it.
Here are some tips:
- Respond: Complaints should never go unanswered and the BBB recommends that all businesses should respond as quickly as possible. If a business does not respond to a complaint within 10 business days, the complaint will go on record as unanswered, showing the businesses didn’t successfully address the issue, resulting in a ratings drop.
- Acknowledge & Apologize: Businesses should make sure to address each issue that the customer brings up, stay fair and reasonable, acknowledge the experience that the customer had, and stick to the facts. Apologizing doesn’t hurt either.
- Provide Documentation: If possible, provide any documentation you have that backs up the facts and your side of the story if the customer’s story does not match the real experience.
- Be Proactive: It’s common for customers to reach out to businesses before filing a complaint with the BBB. In this case, businesses should try their best to resolve the problem before it escalates to a complaint. Sometimes the customer is simply looking for some acknowledgement or an apology. Other times, a refund or credit might resolve the issue. Taking action before a complaint can often help the business avoid the situation altogether.
Advertising BBB Accreditation
Accredited Businesses must meet BBB accreditation standards and sign a license agreement with BBB to advertise affiliation with them. According to the BBB, BBB Accredited Businesses may identify themselves in:
- Print and broadcast advertising (newspapers, periodicals, billboards, posters, telephone, TV and radio ads, flyers and direct mail)
- Yellow page or other directories
- Business cards, stationery, invoices, facsimile cover sheets and other business documents
- Decal on business-owned or -operated vehicles
Also important to note is that businesses that are located solely within one BBB’s service area may advertise BBB accreditation wherever they do business. Businesses with locations in multiple BBB service areas may advertise only in the service areas of BBBs with which they have signed a license agreement.
A BBB accreditation is meaningful to potential customers. Consumers turn to the BBB’s website 130 million times per year to look up businesses. People need to know who they can trust, and BBB Accreditation can give a business credibility as a trustworthy company. At George & Company we know as an A+ Accredited Business we know that a good BBB rating not supports your business, but helps drive it. If you have any further questions about BBB accreditation or want to talk about the future of your business, contact the business experts at George & Company.