“Core values” are the kind of buzz words that get thrown around corporate boardrooms all the time. But any real businessperson will readily admit that corporate values have to be more than something that is just talked about. They have to be lived.
That is just one reason Borland Benefield has been a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for more than 50 years. In fact, they’ve been such a fan of the BBB’s mission that members of the Borland team have served on the board of the BBB for just as long.
It started in the mid-60s when Borland Benefield partners Dave Crawford and Allen Collins each took turns serving as Treasurers for the BBB. The tradition continued when current Borland Benefield President and Managing Director John Wilson took over as Treasurer and now serves as the Chairman of the BBB’s board.
“Our reason for being a member of the BBB is simple. Being a member means your business cares about honesty and integrity,” John said. “When you work with a BBB-associated business, you’re dealing with someone who takes their name seriously. Their integrity is on the line when they serve you, so any member of the community will have their undivided attention.”
Serving the Community
The BBB’s mission as stated on their website is to “be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.” Being part of the BBB is more than just a badge to share; it’s a sure-fire way to tell the world that you are a business that puts as much effort behind proving your reputation as you do promoting it.
Many people –– consumers and businesses alike –– are not aware of the full scope of services that the BBB has to offer.
“The general perception is that the BBB is nothing more than a dropbox for complaints if they are unsatisfied with a business,” said Garet Smitherman, Vice President of Operations for the BBB Serving Central and South Alabama. “There is actually a whole other half of the services we provide, all of which are designed to protect and benefit the consumer. We keep a database of complaints, and resolutions to those complaints, so people can see which businesses care about improving. We also have a newsletter that covers a wide array of topics… from tips to buying used vehicles, to warnings of fraud and identity theft.”
Consumers can start at the BBB website to vet a business, similar to Angie’s List before they hire them.
Using the BBB Auto Line®, consumers can get support with Lemon Laws and get help resolving auto warranty issues. The BBB Military Line helps active military and veterans with financial literacy, fraud alerts, and scam prevention. Consumers can also use the scam tracker that keeps consumers abreast of the latest fraudulent activity.
How To Join the BBB
Becoming a member of BBB is not hard. It’s staying a member that’s the challenge.
“It’s easy to join this club,” Garet says. “The dues for our members are nothing outrageous, but BBB-accredited businesses have to live up to our standards, and prove it. The main way we vet our members is by making sure that they are following up with any unsatisfied customer, and doing everything they can to make things right.”
The BBB’s member businesses receive letter grades that are defined by the complaints they receive, and how well they rectify those complaints.
As a member of the BBB, a business benefits by having their business profile and their grade listed on the site. They will also be included in the “Get a Quote” program where consumers can submit bids to get quotes on projects directly from accredited businesses listed on BBB’s site.
“We are truly here just to help,” Garet added. “That’s all we care about. Even if we can’t help with a particular issue, we will make sure we get you in contact with the people or organization that can solve your problem.”
The BBB and its members protect, serve, and improve their communities, but they also improve the character of individuals involved with their work. John admits that his time with the BBB has had a profound effect on him.
“My time with the BBB, especially the early years, shaped me into a better businessman by instilling in me the idea that the way I conduct business reveals my character, not just how well I do at a particular job,” John said. “That translates in our culture at Borland Benefield and the way we do business, too.”