There are few who are not, at the very least, aware of the iconic standard that is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Those who not in direct participation with the BBB, however, may know it merely as perhaps, a standard of doing business or that its logo displayed on a website (or even as a placard on the wall in a physical place of business). It represents a certain sense of trustworthiness. These impressions tend to be almost a given, and most often carry over without any actual understanding of the substance behind the brand. On the other hand, some of those who are all too familiar with the BBB—its internal workings, its practices, and its methods—tend to be business owners themselves, and it seems as often as not, they have as much criticism as praise for the establishment. As with any coin, there are two sides, with something worth considering in both column A and column B. That said, let’s explore.
As noted, the BBB is one of the longest-standing institutions that — by the very virtue of their extensive longevity — have become not only a household name, but a representative cornerstone of what it means to be reliable, trustworthy, and vouchsafed. Any business, website, or venture bearing the logo of the BBB is, by simple virtue of association, considered safe to trust your personal business with. And by and large, this is an accurate assessment.
The common complaints and irritations most often expressed by business owners and operators who are frustrated with (the admittedly considerable) the hoops to they’re required to jump through in getting that vaunted accreditation. In one person’s experience, which can reflect a generality, it went something along these lines, sequentially:
- Fill out all applications
- Provide documentation, including trade history, professional and customer references
- Pay the membership fees
These provisoes are accompanied by the requirements that one not have any outstanding complaints with the BBB, as well as having been in business for at least one year. The local BBB may also insist upon a face-to-face meeting, at its own discretion. In essence, the primary issue seems to come down to an excessive amount of red tape.
All of this is especially applicable when on the internet, where, of course, an ever-increasing majority of business both large and small is conducted. When visiting a website, there are several things to look for (aside from, of course, that green standard of assurance). Among them is an evaluation of the following factors:
- Copyright Notice: Any website of repute should have (usually at the very bottom of the page) a legal notice of their copyright status, be it under their own domain or as an umbrella of a larger corporation. Any website lacking this should be noted.
- Contact Info/Form: Getting a hold of the people behind the business should always be an easy option. Any organization that doesn’t easily allow for its customers or interested parties to make direct contact usually has a reason for it.
- Secure Status: Most up-to-date web browsers (Chrome, for instance) will have a notification symbol near the URL bar, indicating if a website is secure or not. Pay attention to this, especially when considering making a purchase from the site.
- Age and Updates: This is often a good indication of a website’s legitimacy. Current (and at least semi-frequent) updates and posts are quite telling toward determining if a site is on the level or just a front for phishing personal information.
Proper research is what will help you obtain the best insight and expert opinions, as well as a solid “lay of the land”, whatever your venture. In this case, you should have a better and more complete understanding of what the BBB is and if getting involved is right for you.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon offers Human Capital Strategy Services to both individuals and corporations. Our staff is dedicated to our clients’ success via innovative job search processes, employment management strategies, and state-of-the-art technologies. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200