Change is Difficult But Worthwhile

restaurant 150x150 Change is Difficult But Worthwhile

What do you think of that restaurant?

When you’re almost 100 years old, it’s hard to change. That’s true for people and it’s true for organizations. For a few years, the BBB system has debated about whether or not to allow customer reviews to be posted on our website at www.bbb.org.

Obviously, at the turn of the last century, and throughout most of the years of our long history, BBBs did not have the capacity to allow one customer to share their experience at one business in a forum that potentially could reach thousands or hundreds of thousands of people.

Our concerns:

  • What would be to stop businesses, their employees, families and friends from simply posting good reviews about themselves?
  • What if a customer with a grudge made up bad things just to get a business in trouble?
  • Do people have the right to know everything? Shouldn’t they just mind their own business and not be so gossipy? Do we enjoy living in a Reality TV-driven culture?

But, surveys have indicated that when customers check out a business or order a product they are extremely interested in what other customers had to say.

We asked ourselves: When we go home from the office at night, and we want to relax at a new restaurant with our families, or take a trip and stay in a pet-friendly motel in another state, or hire a contractor, what do we look for?

Start With Trust
BBB employees naturally Start With Trust. We check to see if a business is BBB Accredited. We read the neutral BBB letter grade rating for the company. We look up their licensing.

Then—we ask our friends. If nobody we know has eaten at that restaurant, stayed in that motel, or had that contractor repair their roof, do we want to read reviews from total strangers? Are we capable of filtering out obvious puffery or sour grapes? We think so. 

In any case, where customers post reviews, businesses would have the chance to respond, just as they do to complaints. The BBB is all about getting both sides of the story told.

So now, with the Internet age changing everything business-related, the BBB Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana has been chosen as one of six BBBs across the entire United States and Canada to pilot the posting of customer reviews on our website. Look for this option to preview in summer 2011.

And while we change, we will also remain the same.

We will reserve the right to edit any posts for appropriate content, just as we do not allow swearing or name-calling in our complaint process. We will continue to let companies earn their letter grade with us through their actions, while posting remarks from their customers. We will continue to strive to fulfill our mission of increasing marketplace trust.

Now that’s content you can count on. That’s content you can trust.

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.