By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
BBB came up with a list of New Year’s resolutions for consumers a while back, but how about a list for businesses?
We had to look no further than BBB’s Standards for Trust, a set of principles that can be the ethical foundation for any business in today’s market.
The first is to Build Trust. This means you should establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace. This takes time, but if you give good service and deliver promised results, you will eventually earn customers’ respect and trust.
Next comes Advertise Honestly. Businesses should adhere to established standards of advertising and selling, such as the BBB Code of Advertising, federal advertising guidelines and state laws. This means being clear and specific in your ads, making sure you don’t mislead customers about discounts, “free” items or the nature of what you are selling.
Third, Tell the Truth. This means that you represent products and services honestly, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and never lie to customers, suppliers or the public.
Be Transparent is the fourth principle. By that, BBB means that you should openly identify the nature, location and ownership of the business. Clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.
The fifth principle is to Honor Promises. This means your business abides by all written agreements, contracts and verbal representations. Companies should not promise more than they can deliver or misrepresent the nature of their products or service.
Be Responsive is the sixth principle. Many disputes can be settled if a company addresses marketplace issues quickly, professionally, and in good faith. Customers expect a quick response, and they want to be treated with courtesy.
Finally, a business should Embody Integrity. This means that you approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity. Each of the seven other principles gives you a great start on this one, by the way.
Of course, we could add avoiding business scams, such as Yellow Pages, office supply and other fake invoices. But let’s stay positive.
Could there really be any better foundation for a great year than fulfilling BBB’s Standards of Trust?