Thursday, September 3, 2015

BBB Continues to Evolve in an Ever Changing Marketplace

Huffington Post writer, Ann Brenoff recently shared her experience using Twitter for customer complaints and the power that social media has in the all encompassing arena that is customer service.
“Twitter, for all intents and purposes, is the new Better Business Bureau. The ability to publicly shame a company for its bad service is a weapon in the consumer arsenal that shouldn't be overlooked. An unfavorable tweet can ding a company's reputation, something that major businesses have become aware of.”
Won’t you Tweet with Us
As Jessi Hempel pointed out last month for, almost 80 percent of the questions people ask businesses on social are happening on Twitter. While it’s easy to agree the impressive influence that social media channels like Twitter have in the marketplace, Better Business Bureau doesn’t consider itself replaced. Rather, BBB embraces social media as a tool to help businesses grow in a trustworthy environment and marvels at business’s success stories via social media marketing. Twitter is part of BBB’s social artillery. BBB tweets to communicate with consumers and businesses on a daily basis including topics like scam alerts, local and industry newsworthy topics as well as BBB specific news. Twitter users can even tweet #BBBHelp during business hours to request assistance from the team.
Better Business Bureau is in favor of consumers having the ability to engage in open communication in the forum of their choice, private or public but also believes in the importance of supporting both the business and the consumer. BBB prefers that the reputation of a business not be judged until both sides of the story are presented, confirmed and addressed. While a consumer may -- and often does -- have a perfectly legitimate complaint or issue, there are times where a simple misunderstanding could elevate to something more than it was by making it public. In such cases, a business could take unfavorable treatment or publicity based off an escalated miscommunication.  

BBB Directory
In addition to being a powerhouse in moderating customer complaints and providing a place for business owners to connect with their customers in an unbiased environment, BBB hosts an online reservoir of businesses. Consumers can utilize BBB’s directory of businesses -- both BBB Accredited and Non-Accredited -- during their purchase decision making process. If a business has been Accredited by BBB it means the business meets 8 standards of trust, including a commitment to answering consumer complaints. In June, Myles Anderson presented his analysis of traffic data for local online directories like Better Business Bureau. The study included 30 of the most prominent U.S. online directories. BBB stood out as one of only 3 directories showing growth with up 70% in visits from May 2014 - May 2015. Anderson feels that two factors set BBB’s directory apart from the rest: unique customer review content and high trust factor. 
Technically, BBB isn’t a directory like the others. It is a group of local organizations that champion trust in local businesses and offer accreditation for businesses — which helps consumers know if a business is trustworthy and decent versus low quality and to be avoided.“
Through educating consumers online about local businesses’ transparency, BBB is empowering and helping consumers make stronger, well-advised decisions.

Customer Reviews, Good or Bad News
When users search for a business via Better Business Bureau’s online directory, they get full disclosure on the state of a business and at the same time businesses can show they have dealt with and resolved issues big or small that have come into the fold. A business can also invite its customers to write a review of their experience, which makes up the unique content referenced in Anderson’s analysis. A review might include special insider customer info, a referral program or that hidden easter egg other consumers are looking for...a coupon code. In addition, Customer Reviews provide businesses a leg up on their competition. More reviews draw more attention from potential clients, provides the opportunity to promote positive business attributes and measures common usage of their offerings. By encouraging consumers to share their experience, a business builds credibility with the community. It’s simple. When a consumer searches for a product or service, they want to know how others have fared. The more educated a consumer is, the more confidence they have in their commitment to a business and the investment they plan to make in their product or service. According to Shelf Inc., 70% of consumers reported Customer Reviews as the 2nd most trusted source in purchase decision making. In addition, Customer Reviews -- of which BBB has 46K+ on local enterprises -- allow businesses to interact with customers that they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to engage.

No Dinosaurs to See Here
While Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT might be 100 years old, it does not have plans for retirement! BBB’s online resources (over the last year saw over 4.6 million visits with over 3.7 million unique visitors) include an active social media presence. BBB Serving E. Massachusetts, ME, RI and VT alone has over 33K followers on social media platforms and this blog sees over 1500 unique visits/month. Plus, BBB is accessible on-the-go. was accessed over 1.6 million times on mobile devices in the last year. Both on and offline, BBB assembles a community of trustworthy businesses and inspires consumer confidence in a safe and secure environment. It’s true, BBB isn’t like the others.

For more information you can trust, visit us at, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn

Written by Stephanie Benz, Senior Social Media Associate for Better Business Bureau Serving E. Massachusetts, ME, RI & VT.