An ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other.
By Rob DelMastro – Founder – Clearly Coworking Inc.
September 24th 2019
We live in a world today where our customers have instant control over our rankings in the wild world of the internet. If, for whatever reason, someone has a negative experience with your organization and is feeling as though the world needs to know, they can go on Yelp or Google and give you a bad review. Maybe I didn’t fill the water cooler fast enough, or perhaps the hand towel dispensers were empty in one of the bathrooms. Something as insignificant as that could merit a 1-star rating on Google. For most small businesses, that would have an impact on your Google score and ultimately on your Google ranking – especially if you have under 100 reviews. I had all 5-star ratings on Google, but in one week, two people (who were guests of my customers) must have experienced something they didn’t like and went on to Google and gave me a low rating. Instantly, my Google rating went from 5.0 to 4.8. This dropped me down on the local listings from 1st to 2nd place. Why? Because someone who was a client of my client didn’t like something or maybe felt as though I could have done something better. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the decency to write why they gave me a bad rating - they just felt a need to give me one star and call it a day. The irony is that my customer whom they were a guest gave me a 5-star review!
Unfortunately, as a small business, this matters, and we have little to no control over it. Sure, we can write a quick response saying, “I’m sorry your stay with us was not blah, blah, blah… .” But what does that really accomplish? It won’t change Google’s mind to either remove the review or adjust the number.
Enter the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”). Their vision is: “An ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other.” The BBB has been around for over 100 years and has nearly 400,000 accredited businesses that support and believe in their vision. If you are interested in having an honest place in which to showcase your business with legitimate reviews, the BBB is the best place where that can happen.
The process to become accredited is a thorough one which the BBB performs on both you and your business (yes – as part of this process, they check the owners of the business and make sure they are ethical). If you apply for membership and your business meets the BBB Accreditation Standards, they will list your business on their site as an Accredited Business and you will be allowed to join and proudly display the Accredited Business seal for your business.
Reviews: When someone posts a review of Clearly Coworking on the BBB website, a BBB Team Member will validate the email address or phone number of the reviewer to make sure that the review is from a real consumer. They will also contact me prior to the review being published online to make certain that an interaction did take place between us and to give me an opportunity to respond to the review. One of the BBB Standards is being responsive, so if I respond quickly and address the issue with that customer, I can ask the consumer to remove the review before it’s posted on-line. This whole process elevates the discussion to an ethical level and enables the two parties to come to a resolution. It also blocks people from hiding behind the internet and posting a bad review under a name like ILoveMyDog64.
Listen – we all have bad days and make mistakes. Maybe I overcharged someone because I had five people all trying to check out at the same time and I mixed up who was where and what their fee was. It happens to all of us. But instead of having no control over a potential 1-star rating on Google, a post on the BBB gives me an opportunity to make things right, and hopefully correct my mistake to the liking of my customer. It’s an opportunity to truly show my integrity to that customer – and future customers. So, when people look you up on the BBB, you can be comfortable knowing that the reviews are a true representation of you and your business.
Full disclosure – I am a Board Member of the Better Business Bureau. I do not receive any compensation for being on the Board or for getting people to join. But I truly believe in the integrity and vision of the BBB. I want to be more than just a listing on their site - I want my business to exemplify the values embodied in their Standards. That is why I joined the Board. I’m writing this article because I know that as a business owner you can get hurt by phantom negative reviews. To me, the only way to counter this is to have a solid BBB standing with reviews that are credible. My goal is to let everyone to know this. The BBB provides this service through membership fees. Every dollar supports BBB's mission to advance trust in the community and is well worth the cost.
If you want to take control of your reviews on the wild world of the internet, you should think about becoming accredited with the BBB. Don’t stop asking for Google reviews (you need them for ranking) but also ask your customers for BBB reviews. If you’re trying to win that big contract, point your customer to your BBB profile, where they can be confident your mother didn’t write the reviews! Proudly display the BBB logo on all your marketing material and tell the world you operate with verifiable integrity and honor.
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU STANDARDS FOR TRUST
The Better Business Bureau Standards for Trust are eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business. Our BBB Accreditation Standards are built on these standards.
Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.
Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.
Tell the Truth
Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.
Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.
Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.
Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.
Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of consumers regarding the use of their information.
Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity.
For more information on the BBB, please visit their website