The Value of the Online Better Business Bureau

  April 25, 2008   Category :     SE Internet Marketing | SE Online Marketing   Philip O'Hara

Author: April Hall

Website Content Writer

Let’s be honest here: how many of us turn to our local Better Business Bureau for advice and guidance when choosing a service in our hometown? Do very many people even know where their local BBB office is? Or what it actually does? Most of us have heard rumors the value of the Better Business Bureau; yet we do not actually understand how important this institution is to our business economy.

What the Better Business Bureau Is:

A local BBB has the purpose to serve as a kind of clearinghouse for local businesses. It offers memberships to businesses, demonstrated that particular firm’s commitment to customer service and ethical business practices. If a business wants to be recognized as part of this organization, it must adhere to certain advertising and service guidelines, as well as address any customer complaints in a timely and satisfactory manner.

Another function of the brick-and-mortar BBB is to serve as a place where consumers can bring their grievances against a business when they feel they have been treated unfairly. Although there are not legal sanctions that can be brought against a business through the Better Business Bureau, there is a very real stigma that comes along with a bad BBB rating; and sometimes that stigma can cause a loss of business and profit decrease.

The Difference Between Traditional BBB and the BBBOnline

There is not much of a difference in the spirit between the traditional BBB and the BBBOnline; however, there are a few additional regulations that come along with the application for membership. Some of the most important of these stipulations include

  • The applying business must have been in operation for more than a year
  • The applying business should adhere to all OnlineBBB advertising regulations
  • The applying business must have satisfactorily cleared up all complaints against it
  • The applying business must have a street address from which they do business (verified by a visit from the BBBOnline staff)

Should your Company Seek an BBBOnline Reliability Seal?

In one word: yes! Whether or not you believe that customers actually pay attention to this type of rating, it does indeed add an element of legitimacy to your online business. Everyone knows that the internet is full of potentially shady businesses, perhaps run by teenagers out of their parents’ basement. Don’t you want your company to stand out from the crowd and scream, “I am a real, live business run by professionals who know what they’re doing!”

Establishing your credibility is particularly important if your business offers eCommerce services through your site. One way to make your customers feel comfortable sending your business money is to go through the process of applying for an BBBOnline Reliability Seal. It is a small, but important step in building your online presence.

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