The Better Business Bureau, also known as the BBB, is a nonprofit organization that gives ratings to businesses. Using an Accredited Business system, the BBB provides information to develop trust and validation between businesses and their consumers. It collects data on each business and creates a rating for them based on how well the business complies with good codes of conduct. The BBB was first established in the early 1900s and it now has 100 local branches across North America.
Ratings from the BBB range from A+ to F. The ratings are created based on several definitive factors that cover everything from how long the company has been in business to consumer feedback and the way it deals with disputes. Companies that earn a “B” rating or better qualify for accreditation by the BBB. The better a rating a business receives, the more likely it is to attract quality-seeking customers.
A lousy rating can significantly influence consumer traffic to your business, with the potential to result in loss of sales.
Consumers can visit the BBB website to inquire about how specific businesses operate before they give them their business. The BBB is a valuable and trustworthy resource to consumers, and it is important for any business to remain in good standing.
Companies that want accreditation are required to fill out and submit an application, along with a copy of their business license and other information. After the BBB receives the necessary information, they evaluate public and internal records supplied by the business. This can take up to 30 days to complete, and once it is done, the BBB determines the trustworthiness and dependability of the company.
What Does Accreditation Cost?
The cost of being accredited by the BBB varies from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per year and depends on the number of business locations and employees. For businesses looking to establish a reputation of excellence and reach out to a wide range of potential consumers, the cost is often worth the accreditation.
How to Become Accredited
To begin your application, confirm that your business meets all the requirements. You’ll find the requirements on the BBB’s website listed under “Accreditation Standards.”
Any business in North America hoping to become accredited must pledge to maintain the BBB Standards of Trust.
Fill out the first step of the application on the BBB’s website with basic information about your business. Once the BBB has received it, it will send you a link that includes further questions to finish the application process.
After you have submitted the completed application, the BBB will evaluate the information and research the company through public and internal records provided by the applicant. You will find out shortly after if your business is approved for accreditation. If your business earns a rating, it will be accessible to the public on the BBB’s online directory.
If you are denied, the BBB will send you information on the reason you were denied, when you are able to re-apply, and what you can do to improve your chances of being accredited the next time.
Once your business is accredited, you may promote your business using your new accreditation seal in printed and digital materials. Displaying the BBB logo shows your existing clientele and potential new customers your business is reputable and reliable.
The BBB lists businesses that are known for displaying the accreditation without authorization on its website so that consumers for even more transparency to consumers. Be sure to wait until your business is approved before displaying any accreditation.
Customer Complaints and Disputes
When a complaint is filed with the BBB against your business, the nonprofit will first contact your company to verify that this is a legitimate customer. Once that is confirmed, you have 14 days to reply and begin resolving the issue. The BBB says that most complaints are resolved within 30 days. If the issue isn’t addressed within the time frame, the BBB closes the case and reflects negatively on your business rating.
If both the business and the consumer come to an agreement over a dispute, the BBB will add it to your report and it will reflect positively on your reputation.
Why You Might Need BBB Accreditation
The primary goal of any business is to create consumer trust, and a good rating with the BBB is a solid way to establish a great business reputation. Before a consumer decides to do business with you, they can verify that your company is reliable and committed to high standards.
BBB accreditation is a widely recognized stamp of integrity that people believe in and turn to for reliable information. Accreditation ultimately could result in a boost in your traffic, sales, and long-term growth for your business.