By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
In today’s marketplace, how does BBB differentiate itself from all the other purveyors of business directories, customer reviews and other business information?
Business leaders throughout Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois say that BBB’s mission of advancing marketplace trust and its standards-based accreditation process make it stand out from the pack.
“BBB has the people you should go to first,” said Kevin Deptula, president and CEO of Builders Bloc, one of the largest residential building subcontractors in the St. Louis area. “If you’re looking for a fair and honest review from a consumer that is verified, go to BBB. BBB has the information and resources you need to make a wise decision.”
Deptula said his employee-owned company respects BBB’s effort to serve consumers and businesses as a “truthful and neutral source that provides accurate information” on businesses.
Builders Bloc wanted to be a part of BBB because of its dedication to high ethical standards for businesses. It also encourages its 400 union tradesmen to rely on BBB for Business Reviews and help resolving complaints.
“A good business is going to hold themselves and their employees to high standards about the work they promise to do,” Deptula said. “When they do make mistakes, they want to get it resolved as soon as they can for the good of the consumer and the reputation of the business.”
David Breckenridge, a BBB board member and principal with Moneta Group in Clayton, echoed Deptula’s remarks.
“I believe BBB’s mission and standards help to bring accountability to St. Louis area businesses,” Breckenridge said. “The vast majority of businesses are run by hard-working, honest and fair men and women. However, a very few disreputable business owners can potentially bring dishonor to all in that industry, and BBB helps to identify and make accountable those firms.
“BBB has objective, measurable standards that serve to police the conduct of businesses for the betterment of the consumer,” Breckenridge said.
“BBB over-all has a wonderful reputation as having trustworthy business members,” said Sherry Major, business development specialist with Columbia EDP Center Inc., a 47-year-old payroll services firm in Columbia, Mo. “Especially as a payroll company, we need to do as much as we can to associate ourselves with the positive image that BBB’s seal conveys.
“The BBB really gives that trustworthy seal of approval,” Major said. “BBB is the leader in having quality standards for members.”
“For me, standards are important regardless of your sector, whether you are a business or a charity,” said Kevin Drollinger, a BBB board member and CEO of Epworth Children & Family Services. “Standards are a promise to the community about how you will perform and what you will do.”
BBB’s standards are “tried and true principles,” such as telling the truth, advertising honestly and honoring promises, Drollinger added.
BBB “encourages companies to strive to do better, to build an organization on ethics and integrity,” said Thomas Thiel, president of Chesterfield Fence & Deck Co. “The foundation of having great service is integrity.”
Thiel, who joined BBB’s board in 2015, said BBB stands out in the profusion of websites offering business directories and reviews.
“BBB is the only one with a holistic approach,” Thiel said. Other organizations do little or nothing to help businesses build a relationship with their customers. The sites’ only goal is driving traffic to their sites, he said.
Thiel also appreciates BBB’s investigations that call out bad behavior by other companies.
“Bad service providers hurt the marketplace for everyone,” he said. When a consumer who has been hurt by a business is asked by another firm to provide a deposit, they may resist. “People will say, ‘I’m not going to give a deposit because the last guy took my deposit and did no work.’
“It’s important to have an organization like BBB to encourage companies to have ethics and to be a watchdog,” Thiel said.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of BBB’s Torchlight magazine for BBB Accredited Businesses and Accredited Charities.