The Better Business Bureau in your area is just one of thousands throughout the country. The Council of Better Business Bureaus provides many excellent services to small businesses, and compliance with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is desirable and respected among consumers. The Bureaus operate in the United States and Canada and offer a voluntary standard of operating guidelines and behavior to companies in any field of service. To use the BBBs, consider the following aspects and services offered:
• BBB Reports on Companies
The Better Business Bureau has reports available on thousands of companies both in your area and nationwide. If you are considering working with another company or making a large purchase or service arrangement, the BBB can offer you information on the past dealing of the company in question. This is an excellent way to learn if a company has been ethical in their past dealings when making your decision.
By the same token, you can make reports to the BBB about other companies. While this is not the same as litigation, reporting unethical behavior to the BBB is enough to force some companies to behave more appropriately. Compliance with the BBB is not mandatory, however, so many of the most unethical companies are undisturbed by reports. If you were to research those companies, however, you will easily discover their misdeeds and proceed to take your business elsewhere.
• Check out the Local BBB
Your local Better Business Bureau has much to offer. To see what services your local BBB offers, visit their website using the BBB locator. Local offices often have information sessions, seminars and guides available that may not be found elsewhere.
• Resolve Customer Disputes
The BBB has an excellent program to mediate disputes between customers and businesses. There are actually many programs available through the Better Business Bureau that can help businesses determine the best route to take with a dispute. There is advice about finding common sense alternatives, a program to help reach a solution without any formal proceedings as well as fully developed mediation and arbitration. These services are designed to help small businesses get help without having to resort to lawyers and full legal expenses.
• Establish Polices and Protection
• Reach a Higher Standard of Practice
The Better Business Bureau has a strong foundation in ethical business practices. They encourage all businesses to prepare an ethics policy and live up to a higher standard. This is the one of the most centralized focuses of the organization, and it takes it message very seriously. The BBB website is full of information about the value of ethical business and the right steps to take to ensure you are operating both legally and morally.
It encourages business owners to examine every aspect of their business and gives advice and instructions on opening lines of communication with all levels of employees, keeping accounting and books ethical and ensuring every employee, including management, is living up to the standard you set.
• Demonstrate Your Integrity to Others
Finally, you can apply for membership with the Better Business Bureaus and receive an online reliability badge. This badge can be displayed on a website to build confidence with customers and other companies who recognize the value of your commitment. To earn a badge, you must meet the reliability program requirements which require commitment and dedication. The badge is a sign to others that you work hard at running your business in a way that offers the best service or product you are able to produce while protecting the interests of your employees and customers.