By Laura Walton
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is one of America’s largest and most respected business review companies. The BBB focuses on creating and reinforcing trust between business owners and their customers. It’s little wonder that a stellar review from the BBB inspires customer confidence in the quality and ethics of your company’s business practices.
The BBB assigns rating to businesses from A+ (highest) to F (lowest) to indicate a business’s reliability or performance. Unfortunately, businesses don’t achieve A+ ratings overnight. There are, however, steps you can take to better understand your BBB score and help it improve over time:
Become a Member
If your business has been around for longer than a year, we recommend you apply for BBB accreditation. Having an accreditation seal on your website or on your marketing materials can increase customer trust in your brand. Being a BBB member with a higher rating is proof of your business’s transparency, faithfulness in honoring commitments and excellence in resolving issues with your product.
Understand the Rating System
BBB ratings represents the BBB’s opinion of how your business is likely to interact with your customers. The rating is based on the information you provide about your business, as well as information available on public data sources.
There are 13 criteria the BBB looks at that affect your business’s rating, most of which surround the way your business handles complaint resolution. The 13 criteria are:
- The type of business you operate
- How long you’ve been in business
- The transparency of your business practices
- The number of complaints your business receives
- The number of complaints your business ignores
- The number of complaints your business does not resolve
- How long it takes you to resolve complaints
- Having a pattern of failing to address complaints
- Failing to honor mediation or arbitration
- Not maintaining proper licenses
- Any government actions taken against your business
- Incidents of false or misleading advertising
- Incidents of BBB trademark infringement
Operate with Honesty
The best way to achieve and maintain high ratings is to ensure your business is operating with a high level of integrity and honesty year after year. How? Keep your licenses up-to-date. Respond to your client’s complaints online and listen to what they have to say on how to make your business better. Follow through on the promises you make in your marketing and advertising campaigns. Be transparent and clear in the way you communicate with customers. Honesty really is the best policy.
Respond to Complaints
You don’t have to be afraid of customer complaints—in fact, you should welcome them. Customer complaints on the BBB can help you pinpoint areas of weakness so your business so you can fix them. Never take costumer complaints personally—work instead to take every step to resolve them. Respond to the complaints listed on your business’s BBB page, and explain in writing your side of the story. Failing to respond to a complaint—even a small one—will be noted on your company’s BBB page and will negatively affect your reliability report.
Lastly, remember that building a good business reputation takes time. You have to earn it. At the end the day, having a perfect BBB score with 100% customer satisfaction isn’t the most important thing. Learning how to react well to criticism and dissatisfied customers so you can work to provide high quality customer service in the future is what really matters.
Laura Walton is a freelance writer and contributor for StreetShares. She is passionate about all things social media and public relations as they relate to the topics of small business and veteran entrepreneurship. You can find her on Twitter at @lk_dubs.
For more information about StreetShares or to apply for a loan visit: https://streetshares.com