Each year, your BBB recognizes and celebrates businesses within the Southern Alberta and East Kootenay region for believing in and demonstrating values-based business practices. In an effort to recognize businesses throughout our region, BBB worked with the chambers of commerce in Olds, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat to present an award for ethics at each of their business awards events.
The BBB Business Trust Award for Business Ethics is given to an organization that best demonstrates a commitment to advancing marketplace trust through ethical business practices. Award applicants and nominees, both BBB-Accredited and non-accredited, were asked to submit supporting documentation of how their business meets and operates according to some or all of BBB’s eight Standards for Trust, which include:
Meet the winners:
Mountain View Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM (Olds)
Battling a negative industry reputation can be a roadblock for some when trying to pave a smooth road to trustworthy business. But for one Olds dealership, regular maintenance of customer relationships is the key to establishing a strong sense of marketplace trust.
“This is not an award that an automotive dealer wins very often because in our business, it’s a tough industry,” says Ryan Baum, general manager of Olds MountainView Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM. “You’re always trying to work against the idea that car people are tying to take advantage of you because of that crooked car salesmen mentality, but we’ve shown it can be done.”
About two years ago, shortly after Baum joined the dealership, he began working with staff and customers to become the kind of business BBB and consumers value. “Our staff and team all worked together to develop stronger business relations and customer service strategies that demonstrates exactly what this award stands for,” he says. “We wanted that to be the core of our business and to redefine our culture here at the dealership.”
Baum says though MountainView is committed to upholding much of the same standards and values for best business practices as outlined by BBB, becoming a BBB-Accredited Business three years ago reaffirms their commitment to consumers.
“This award is public recognition of our business, and even family values,” says Baum. “We are trying to establish an honest and ethical business and this award is the pinnacle of that. We want customers to trust us and feel comfortable doing business with us.”
Besides MountainView’s efforts towards ethical enterprise, Baum says having the added support of BBB’s Ethics Award solidifies their connection to the community they serve.
“As the father of a 10-month-old daughter, I want to find businesses that she can trust when she is older instead of having to go and protect her from being taken advantage of by a business,” he says. “As a business owner, you want to be a BBB-Accredited Business because BBB stands behind what we really believe.”
Though running a trustworthy business relies on a strong foundation of principles, the most important BBB standard for trust for Baum is honouring promises.
“If we do make a mistake, we are going to look after the customer no matter what,” he says. “We operate by the slogan ‘Make Things Better’, which meas we stand by what we say we will do. We tell customers not only to shop for the best price but to shop for the best automotive dealer who will look after them.”
MountainView Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM, formerly known as Olds Dodge, has been servicing the Olds, Red Deer, Calgary and Southern Alberta region since 1994. For more information, visit mountainviewjeep.com.
YWCA Lethbridge & District (Lethbridge)
Operating a charitable organization means more than giving to those in need. It also means being transparent with donation useage, protecting personal information of its clients and adhering to strict ethical standards to establish a trustworthy connection throughout the community.
Krisitine Cassie, CEO of YWCA Lethbridge & District, says winning an award for business ethics and trust reinforces their credibility.
“We take this award very seriously because we want to show everyone who we help and serve that we honour their trust that they have invested in us to do our jobs and that is helping others in their time of need,” says Cassie. “We also honour how our donors want their money to be used by being open and accountable for our actions.”
A past winner of the BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics in 2006, Cassie says promoting, earning and maintaining marketplace trust of the community, the donors and other charitable organizations is a constant task.
“Trust is critical,” says Cassie. “You’re out there asking for monetary donations from foundations, private donors and the government. You aren’t gong to be successful or grow without that trust and this award is that stamp of approval, that trust mark, on where we are situated within the marketplace and among other charities and business too. You want people to trust the service they are getting and trust that their hard earned money is going towards a worthy cause.”
Establishing marketplace trust also means operating with integrity, something Cassie says is a core principle of operating a charitable organization.
“We focus on helping women who are victims of sexual and domestic violence, so they are at their most vulnerable when they first come through our doors,” she says. “We always ask ourselves how can we help maintain the dignity of the women we help and improve their life status, and that doesn’t happen without integrity.”
With the holiday donation season now in full swing, it can be difficult for donors to choose, and trust, a charitable organization. Cassie says part of being recognized as a trustworthy organization is also helping consumers make a wise donation decision.
“We encourage donors to ask organizations about their donor policies, how they use the donations and if their finances are disclosed,” she says. “It’s a investment, just like a portfolio, only you’re investing in someone’s future. Make sure the organization is aligned with your personal beliefs and ask for an in person tour of the organization itself. These are all critical questions that can help donors ultimately help those who need it.”
Serving between six and nine thousand women and girls each year, YWCA Lethbridge & District offers health and wellness programs as well as housing initiatives and leadership courses among other programs. For more information, visit ywcalethbridge.org.
ProComm Solutions Inc. (Medicine Hat)
Phones, TVs, computers and home security systems are basic necessities for most homes and businesses, but unless you’re a tech master, you will have to entrust your technology needs to a professional.
Deanna Haysom, director of marketing at ProComm, says being recognized for trust in the technology industry is crucial when cyber security is a serious concern.
“Trust for us is everything, there can be trust issues with mobile technology and that’s why we really focus on educating our staff with how to teach consumers about safe and secure technology practices,” she says. “Our staff knows that not everyone is well-versed with the latest technology devices or trends, so we take the time to make sure they are knowledgable and comfortable with everything.”
Haysom says trust also comes with how a business handles customer service, especially when things don’t go according to plan.
“Things aren’t always going to go right but it’s how you handle things and work with the customer that really earns their trust and loyalty,” she says. “Some tech professionals are so focused on the next sale rather than what they are doing today and how they’re helping their customer base.”
Part of being a trustworthy technology-based business means handling sensitive information safely and securely.
“We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on how we do business, the little touch-points we create with our customers which means explaining how we collect, store, dispose of and protect their personal data,” she says. “We are trying to be an employer of choice in today’s technology industry and also take care of our community as a whole.”
Established 23 years ago, ProComm Technology Solutions originally started as a telecommunications company but is now a one-stop-shop for consumers looking to set their home, business or personal digital needs. For more information, visit procomm.ca.
BBB would like to thank all nominees for demonstrating a commitment to doing the right thing – even when it’s not the easy thing; for choosing integrity over financial gain at times and for helping to build a community in which buyers and sellers can trust each other.