The numbers tell the story: two million online hits so far in 2009, a new BBB record. Online consumers and businesses want to be confident they are doing business with a company they can trust; however, according to a BBB/Gallup poll commissioned in 2007, for the past two years consumer confidence, in general, has been on the decline.
Those businesses are not just retail but cover all aspects of the marketplace. The two million plus figure points specifically to internet inquiries which means consumers and businesses are doing their homework before they sign a contract to hire a company, or make an online purchase.
"Last month alone businesses accredited by the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois had more than 362 thousand clicks on their online seals," said Steve J. Bernas, BBB president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "Half way through the last quarter of 2009 and for the second straight year the economy and waning confidence have combined to put our numbers on pace for another record breaking year."
Consumers and businesses are aided in their efforts by the BBB's Online Accreditation Seal program, the largest trust seal program on the internet today, which allows consumers the opportunity to research a business by simply clicking on the accreditation seal on the Web site and getting the businesses complete BBB business profile. Additional information is also provided on who owns the company, how long they've been in business, their complaint history is, and the very important BBB letter grade A+ through F.
Bernas says, "With the economy being as it is and during this holiday shopping season consumers are expected to be online, also in record numbers, searching for the best deal; because consumers will try to avoid becoming victim of one of the internet horror stories we expect the numbers of online inquires for November and December to keep pace with October."
He adds, "The decline in consumer trust plus the economy can have really negative consequences for businesses. But interestingly, it presents a clear opportunity for competitive advantage for businesses that embrace consumer demand for trust especially on the internet."
In addition to checking out a business while visiting that company's Web site consumers can also visit the BBB's safe shopping site to find businesses who are participating in the BBBOnline program - businesses they can trust. Along with getting a company's business profile consumers can also learn what's required of a company that has the accreditation seal and what they must do to maintain our standards. Consumers can find Accredited Businesses participating in the BBBOnline program by visiting www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.
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