By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Better Business Bureau knows that consumers and donors look for the BBB seal or logo when they’re shopping for goods and services or considering a donation to a charity.
Last year, consumers clicked on BBB dynamic seals on local Accredited Businesses’ websites nearly 27,000 times. The dynamic seal connects to an Accredited Business’ or Charity’s BBB Review. It can display a company’s letter grade, depending on which version the business chooses.
For the last few months, BBB has been promoting the idea of consumers looking for the seal in its advertising campaign, “Look for the Seal.” The campaign includes television commercials, magazine ads and a social media component.
Accredited Businesses and Accredited Charities of all sizes tell us that using the seal conveys trust, honesty and a sense of authenticity that helps build credibility for their organizations.
Kim Garner, president of BEST Transportation, said the seal “adds a lot of credibility to any business.” The seal conveys not only that the business is legitimate but that it cares about upholding high standards and treating customers right.
BEST uses the seal on printed materials as well as on multiple pages of its website, and consumers click on it regularly to check its authenticity.
“We value our guests and their trust – that’s why we place the BBB seal on our website,” said Carolyn Feltner, marketing director for Drury Hotels Co. “It helps illustrate our commitment to providing great service to each guest, every stay.”
Rhonda Chapman, operations manager at St. Charles Nissan/Hyundai, said, “We just know that it promotes a feeling of honesty. It promotes what we really are. We’re honest, and we give customers good service for their money and good products for their money.
Chapman said that the dealership, BBB Accredited since 2005, uses BBB’s Accredited Business seal in its newspaper ads. Although consumers clicked on the seal 191 times so far this year, the dealership believes that there “are a huge number of people who see it and don’t click on it, but feel good that it’s there.”
Amie Riggs Swarts, co-owner of Riggs Construction & Design in Kirkwood, said being BBB Accredited “reinforces the faith and loyalty our existing clients have in us, but more importantly, the accreditation offers new clients an initial sense of trust…before ever picking up the phone.”
Eric Brye, president of Superior Mortgage Solutions, said, “We just closed a loan for a client that got on the BBB website, looked at mortgage companies and picked us because we had no complaints,” Brye said. “It’s invaluable to have that, especially as a small business.”
Charities also value the Accredited Charity logo, which also is available as a dynamic or clickable seal.
Most good charities already have some kind of licensing or accreditation, such as that from the Joint Commission on Accreditation, said Kevin Drollinger, chief executive of Epworth Children & Family Services in Webster Groves, Mo. “But the vast majority of folks in the community likely have no idea what the Joint Commission is,” he said.
“The recognition of BBB is so phenomenal and the reach so much greater that it’s a huge value-add to our messages to the community, our website and other literature.
“To me, it’s really about the broad appeal of BBB,” Drollinger said.
For small businesses that do the bulk of their business online, having the seal is particularly valuable.
“As soon as we were able to get the BBB seal, we did. We jumped at it,” said Philip Johnson, owner of Have You Seen The Ring?, an online business that facilitates the sale of wedding and engagement rings online. The company, based in downtown St. Louis, holds buyers’ money in escrow until a certified gemologist verifies that the jewelry matches its description.
“Our first sale to an out-of-town buyer came two days after getting the seal,” Johnson said. The company encourages buyers and sellers to click on the seal and check out the company’s BBB Business Review if they have any questions about the company.
“We are redesigning our website, and one of the key features that will remain is the BBB seal because of its value to us,” Johnson said.
Mike Henderson, marketing director for SuretyBonds.com, said that the BBB seal “brings a lot of authenticity to our site.” More than 230 customers have clicked on the company’s dynamic seal this year.
SuretyBonds.com is based in Columbia, Mo., but it serves companies around the nation who need surety bonds to operate, such as contractors, car dealers, travel agents and others.
“We’re in the business-to-business space, and it makes us more human,” Henderson said.
Tony Marrero, owner of SoccerPro.com in Columbia, Mo., said that Accreditation is especially important to him as a small competitor facing off against the giants of the sporting goods industry as well as major brands selling their products directly.
“With that level of competition, there has to be a perception of credibility,” Marrero said. “We have to be as authentic as those very reputable companies.
“There’s a demand for the BBB,” Marrero said. “People understand that it’s a badge of trust.”
This article originally appeared in the fall issue of BBB’s Torchlight magazine.