Full disclosure: The Letterista is a blog, an informational tool for anyone who cares to avail themselves of The Letterista’s expertise and experience in reputation management. As such, The Letterista is not exactly qualified to be an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau. Nor is The Letterista affiliated in any back-channel way, or encouraged by the BBB to write nice things about them.
Yet, you will notice that we often refer to the BBB and recommend joining them, especially if you run the good, honest company we hope you do. If you are not already a member, here are the top 3 reasons why you should be.
1) Nothing says “You can trust us” more than that little blue torch logo.
Admit it, when you’ve been shopping for some business or service organization, you usually notice the BBB emblem, don’t you? When you have oceans of like businesses to choose from, you need some way to start weeding out the ones you aren’t going to contact. If you don’t use BBB membership as one of your first criteria for thinning the herd, then you are probably in the minority.
The truth is, a BBB accredited business can still be a bad choice, since accreditation in itself is no magic talisman against dishonest practices. Still, it’s a good place for people to receive a maximum amount of information for the minimum amount of effort. Forget Yelp and Google reviews as trust generators. They’re good, but when potential clients search your business on the BBB website and see a rating of A, you will most likely make it to their short list.
2) You can stop a potential complaint in its tracks.
If your local BBB comprises the sensational team like that of The Letterista’s local branch, you may have the opportunity to head-off potential complaints by notifying them that a customer with dishonest demands has threatened a complaint for no other reason than to sully your reputation. Many times, if you have your documentation in order, you can submit a letter explaining the situation, then, if the customer does file a complaint, your BBB may not post it as a complaint until you have addressed the argument through the BBB office. If the BBB team determines that you were correct to bring the matter to their attention first and that the customer’s complaint really was gratuitous, then it will not be logged against your record as a complaint. It is far easier to not get a complaint than to deal with one after the fact.
The Letterista cautions that your local branch may not operate with such professionalism, but since a substantial amount of their revenue comes from membership dues, they are wise to offer this courtesy. This is not to say that they should, or do, allow bad deeds by the business to slide, just that retaliatory complaints ought to be recognized as such and dealt with in your favor.
3) You can take it to mediation when all else fails.
The fundamental idea behind the BBB is fairness. Sometimes, though, an issue with a client is so gray, that rational solutions elude everyone. Having mediation services available by way of your membership is a magnificent tool.
You never want to see a case go to court, but if the amount of money involved is high enough, court may seem like the only answer; a risky, depressing one, at that. However, presenting the case to a professional mediator has the potential to bring a happy ending to the story without formal adjudication. Having this service at your disposal is well worth the yearly membership dues, in our lowly opinion.
Joining the BBB has many other rewards besides protecting your reputation, such as advertising opportunities, public recognition awards and business to business networking groups, among other things. But it may be most useful to you for nothing more than putting forth a trustworthy image and protecting your organization’s reputation from unjust attacks.