As regional director for Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau, I talk to pretty much every kind of person you can think of – business owners and managers, customers, men, women, the young, and the old. One thing that strikes me is that many people have a fairly narrow view of what BBB does and whom we serve, based on their specific interactions with us.
This, in turn, leads me to one of the things I love most about BBB – our duality, the fact that we serve both businesses and consumers. Everything we do comes down to the fact that our role is to build trust in the marketplace; to do that, we must serve both sides, those who are selling and those who are buying. To me, this is the real beauty of BBB, and a big part of my job is helping everyone understand it.
For example, we provide business accreditation – a process through which we determine that a business is trustworthy (to be accredited, a business must have at least a B, on a scale of A+ to F; be in business for at least one year; and be free of a pattern of consumer complaints). On the one hand, for businesses that achieve accreditation, this is a feather in their cap, a third-party validation that they conduct themselves in a way that most of us would deem appropriate. On the other hand, providing a directory of businesses that includes accreditation status, gives consumers a powerful tool to make smarter buying choices.
Kinda cool, huh?
Another example is BBB mediation services (which are free, by the way). We work with businesses and consumers to solve disputes, without involving the time and expense of the court system. We even take that a step further, offering binding arbitration services.
These are just a few of the many, many services BBB provides to both businesses and consumers. Others include BBB Scam Tracker, an interactive, online mapping program that allows people to report and see scams all over the country; our business review system; and Request A Quote, which allows consumers to request job quotes from BBB accredited businesses.