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Kelly Truelove
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Kelly Truelove   My Press Releases

Mystery Shopping Company Integrity Consultants Achieves A+ Rating: Dispelling Mysths About BBB Accre

Published on 6/22/2015
For additional information  Click Here

I spend quite a bit of time reading in my effort to remain current with evolution in both technology and business. I read pretty much everything, from blogs and articles, to books and whitepapers. At my core, I’ve always been focused on the betterment of those around me through the highest of ethical standards and best practices. In fact,
that’s the reason for my company name, Integrity Consultants, and the story behind our logo, which resembles a sleek triquetra dotting the “I” in our company name. It represents our team, our clients, and our industry all working in tandem. These are ideals that I hold in highest honor, so it’s no surprise that one of the first professional
memberships I ever obtained was for the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

For those who aren’t familiar with the BBB, it’s a non-profit organization that provides free consumer services, such as dispute resolution and consumer reviews. The BBB is very proud of its role in assisting consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions by obtaining and presenting these reviews as a third party. It sets standards for how businesses should handle certain things and monitors compliance of those
policies. The BBB evaluates advertisements for false or misleading information, evaluates charities, and even issues bulletin alerts regarding scams to ensure that consumers have someone looking out for them, protecting their hard-earned dollars from scams or disreputable firms.

GlassDoor and Google reviews permit company owners to respond but do not provide any type of review or complaint validation. They don’t provide dispute resolution, and anyone who wants to leave a review, whether it’s true, accurate, malicious, misleading, or otherwise, can do so. This results in harm to many businesses, and it doesn’t serve the public consumers, either, because they may end up passing by a good company when they’re looking to book a hotel or plan travel, just because of a fraudulent, one-sided, or inaccurate review.

The BBB goes much farther. It’s been my experience as an accredited member that any complaint submitted results in the member being contacted and offered the opportunity to supply documentation or other insight into the complaint that then allows for the BBB to make its decision whether or not resolution is even required, and if it is, what that could include.

It’s also been my experience that the BBB feels as strongly about protecting good businesses as it does consumers. As a Market Research and Business Intelligence service provider that offers mystery shopping, video shopping, and mystery customer programs for businesses, our industry is overloaded with scams. It makes it a challenge, both for the legitimate industry businesses and those looking for services. In a common mystery shopping scam, our company was targeted by scammers, and our local BBB office was instrumental in not only protecting us but assisting us to protect others from this particular mystery shopping scam.

I’ve read some disturbing opinions about BBB Accreditation, and I believe that some of these opinions may be causing new businesses, or even established businesses, to shy away from accreditation. While there’s no way I could know the specifics of why those opinions are being expressed, I can describe my personal experience in hopes of presenting a different perspective. It’s always been my belief that one can never have too much information, can never learn too much. However, there is a certain wisdom to knowing how to categorize that information by understanding and recognizing the difference between opinion and fact, first-person narration/perspective and hearsay.

The most disturbing opinion I read was that BBB Accreditation was unreliable, because the BBB is a “pay-to-play” organization, where anyone who pays can have an A+ rating. My personal experience tells me that just isn’t the case. I wanted to know for sure if my experience was different, so I called my local branch, the Eastern MO and Southern IL BBB office, and spoke to a representative. It was confirmed for me that my experience is not unique but standard.

A business must have been in business for a minimum of one year in order to be eligible for accreditation. However, it takes much more than that to achieve the coveted A+ rating. Most importantly, it takes time, time in business, and time to document a history or either no complaints or consistent good faith efforts to resolve valid complaints.


Integrity Consultants obtained it’s accreditation in 2010, and we’re proud to announce that we have now achieved an A+ rating. We’re well into our seventh year of business and have a history of no complaints. So, it was puzzling to me for several years why our rating stayed at A-, then eventually made its way to A. The answer, again, was simply time. It’s my understanding that no business in operation less than a period of 6 years will achieve an A+ rating.

That’s not to say that the business must be accredited during that entire time, though. For example, our company remained accredited from 2010-2013, then sacrificed our BBB Accreditation in favor of serving on the Board of Directors for an International trade association. However, once we reevaluated which professional memberships we found most valuable to us, we contacted our local BBB office to learn about the new features, and our accreditation was renewed in mid 2014.

Consumers can obtain additional insight into the company and its rating by scrolling
down to the bottom of the listing to the “Additional Information” section on the left side of the page. Information regarding when the file for the company was opened and how long it’s been in business can be found here. Once a file is opened on a business, either because that business applied for accreditation or because a complaint was received, that business file is permanent. Those dates can give insight into how
long the BBB has been monitoring that particular business.

Essentially, the Better Business Bureau advocates and helps to create marketplace trust, and it offers great potential for success, both from the corporate and consumer points of view. In the last couple of years, the BBB has implemented additional tools that assist members and add value to accreditation. One of those tools is the ability to request a quote from a BBB accredited member. This adds value to members by assisting with lead generation and also to consumers by giving those who are seriously
looking for a service provider or vendor an outlet for contacting that company directly for a quote.

Another benefit that has been added recently comes in the form of Google Analytics. When reviewing the analytics for our company BBB listing, I can see exactly how many people reviewed our listing, referred to as “inquiries,” the keywords driving traffic to our industry and to our listing, the placement of our listing in Google search results, the number of clicks on our website, and the location of those visitors. This can be very helpful when used properly, because it can assist a company to target advertising, evaluate and modify keywords, track the success and ROI of advertising campaigns, and even evaluate the value and ROI of their accreditation by being able to see that particular leads, and hopefully new customers, were referred to the company by the BBB.

One final new benefit to mention is the fact that members have a personal representative that they can call on for assistance when needed. When coupled with the newer flexible payment options, such as monthly billing for accreditation dues, the benefits of BBB Accreditation are greater than ever.

Member Note: To comment on this PR, simply click reply on the owners main post below.
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