Consumer reviews weigh heavily on what customers decide to purchase and why. Reviews and testimonials written by other customers are overwhelmingly trusted, especially when compared to paid, sponsored “reviews” or marketing media.
84% of people actually trust online reviews as much as their friends, and they trust the reviews significantly more than marketing content created by a brand.
When focusing on brand reputation through review management, many brands focus on highly visible, SERP-friendly platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. These platforms undeniably are important, but so are the reviews you can get on through the Better Business Bureau.
In this post, we’re going to discuss everything you need to understand about better business bureau reviews, including why they matter and how to use them for reputation management.
What Is the Better Business Bureau & Why Does It Matter?
The Better Business Bureau was officially founded in 1970, but the groups and principles that merged to create the Better Business Bureau had been up and running and searching for dishonest advertising since the late 1800s.
They have been acting as a consumer watchdog ever since, watching out for products, services, and brands that don’t live up to what they what they say they’ll do and then publishing that information if necessary.
The BBB is not affiliated with the government. They are an exclusively private entity, though they do work with and alongside government regulatory agencies.
What Makes Better Business Bureau Reviews Different?
Anyone with an internet connection can submit a review of any business to the BBB. This isn’t different from any other platforms.
What is different is the level of oversight happening here. Anyone can submit a review, but the reviews are all manually checked by BBB individuals. They’re also sent to the businesses before they’re publicly listed, and both the BBB and the business being reviewed can require proof of purchase in order for the review to go live. This protects them against fraudulent reviews making false claims, and increases the overall quality of reviews. Everyone wins.
If the review isn’t verified but seems credible, the BBB will post it but won’t give it the “verified” tag that some users obviously value and look for. In some instances, if a review is negative, the BBB may even work with both the consumer and the business to help find a solution.
In addition to submitting reviews for public viewing, customers can also file outright complaints against certain businesses. The BBB will actually contact the business and see if the complaint can be resolved.
How the Better Business Bureau Calculates Ratings
When you search for a business on the BBB’s site, you’ll see that it may have an overall rating in addition to reviews.
BBB customer reviews do not impact a business’s rating, but formal complaints (which require businesses to provide a solution if they want the complaint to be resolved) do affect it heavily. If complaints are not resolved, it affects the business’s rating. Old unresolved complaints eventually become less powerful, but newer unresolved complaints can have a big hit.
Other factors that matter include:
- The size of the business and how long it’s been established
- If the BBB believes that the business made a good effort to resolve complaints
- The age of complaints; older complaints have less of an impact
- Transparent business practices; false addresses won’t be received well, for example
- The overall number of complaints filed
Can I Fight a Review For the Better Business Bureau?
Even if a negative review doesn’t technically impact your BBB rating, it can still affect your business. If people are looking you up, it’s because they want to see if they can trust that your brand will deliver. Negative reviews–even with a positive score– can be impactful.
The best thing to do is address the review immediately even if it isn’t a formal complaint. This will be published by the BBB, and it can show that you attempted to address the customer’s concerns. This will help combat the negative review and show that you are invested in customer satisfaction.
When addressing the negative review, you can stand your ground, but avoid accusations. Keep it professional. Opt for “Dear valued customer, we attempted to contact you multiple times at the phone number provided and left two emails offering to come out and inspect the work we did” instead of “We did the work and it was fine, you got ripped off buying that house and that’s not on us.”
If you see a review and find that it’s unsubstantiated, you can request that the BBB require proof of purchase before publishing the review. They’ll follow through, and you can ensure that the customer at least made the purchase as they say they did.
How to Leverage Better Business Bureau Reviews For Your Business
When most customers are interested in potentially hiring or doing work with a business, the first place they’ll look is more visible platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
The Better Business Bureau reviews that you get can still benefit you, even if your customers aren’t going looking there.
You can feature the reviews you’ve obtained on your site, linking back to the BBB so that customers can see that they’re legitimate and may even come from verified buyers. This is a huge advantage, since many customers don’t always trust the testimonials they see displayed on a business’s site. Knowing they can see all the reviews– not just the ones you hand selected– will help them trust you more.
It also can help to feature the reviews alongside a “BBB A+ Rated” on your site to establish more trust.
The Better Business Bureau isn’t the end all be all to promoting your business and building its brand reputation, but it can still have an impact on your business– positive or negative. Any information about your business that’s floating around can affect how people perceive it and how much they trust you, and with consumer peer reviews being valued so highly, that goes for the BBB, too.
If you start to attract reviews on the Better Business Bureau, do you want you can to be involved in their reputation management. Respond quickly to negative reviews and try to find a solution– or show that you’ve tried to find a solution– if possible. If you have one negative review, you can reach out to happy, loyal customers and ask that they do you a favor and leave a review. Many will be happy to do so, especially if you reach out through a personalized message.
In the meantime, try to attract reviews on as many platforms as possible so you can strengthen your online presence and customer trust across the board.
What do you think? Do you focus on a presence on the Better Business Bureau? Do reviews their impact your business? Share your thoughts, questions, and knowledge in the comments below!