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Better Business Bureau: Accredited Businesses Start with Trust

By Carol Potter, president and CEO
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Better Business Bureau of the Mahoning Valley is on the forefront of positive market-place change by partnering with companies that are committed to the best practices of business ethics, marketplace excellence, and effective industry self-regulation. With the support of more than 1,150 accredited businesses representing 23,900 employees, BBB serves the 533,000 residents of Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

BBB strives to build productive relationships with businesses and these companies recognize the value of trust. We have concrete evidence of this: In 2018, your BBB proudly stands as the BBB with the highest retention rate, not only in Ohio but in North America. We have retained over 92.1% of our businesses this year. This is the third year in a row that BBB of the Mahoning Valley has maintained the highest, system-wide retention rate.

As a top resource for information, BBB records show the most inquiries about industries in 2018 related to construction, roofing, heating and air conditioning, and auto transportation.

The BBB motto, “Start with Trust,” is well known. And a fact that rings truer with every year is that trust matters. In 2017, over $1 billion was lost to local economies through fraudulent activity. In this era of uncertainty, people are looking for reliable, un-biased information to help make their purchase decisions.

To make it faster and easier for consumers to access this valuable information, BBBs in North America invested over $10 million in website infrastructure. The new site went live at the end 2017, making 2018 the first opportunity to obtain metrics for gauging success. To ensure success, BBB committed to a digital marketing program to boost local website traffic. Local BBB business profile views increased from 209,643 to 328,041, a record increase of 56%.

BBB surveyed more than 7,000 accredited businesses in the U.S. and Canada in 2018 to find out why BBB accreditation is important to them and how it impacts their businesses. Here are the top four responses:

  • 84% said accreditation builds trust with customers.
  • 83% said accreditation increases the credibility of their business.
  • 69% said accreditation shows that they care about their customers.
  • And 58% responded that accreditation adds prestige to their business.

BBB team members seek out proven ethical and trustworthy businesses, accurately report on marketplace information, work with media and marketing outlets to reach consumers and businesses, and provide a neutral environment where people can share their experiences, good or bad. In 2018, BBB closed 1,077 complaints and administered 44,711 customer reviews of local businesses.

Also last year, the Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust were again presented in June. This enormously successful event was made possible through the underwriting of the BBB TrustBuilders: PNC Bank, Chemical Bank, Farmers National Bank, Huntington Bank, Home Savings Bank and Cortland Bank.

We applaud our Valley’s TrustBuilders for their work to create a healthier, more vibrant community.

Four businesses – Joe Dickey Electric Inc., R.T. Vernal Paving & Excavating, White House Fruit Farm and Hively Construction Co. – were honored with Torch Awards for their efforts to embody integrity. The Torch Award for Nonprofit Excellence was awarded to the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and the Torch Award for Civic Leadership was given to Sr. Patricia McNicholas, of Beatitude House.

With support from Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC and Farmers Trust Co., BBB also provided five high school seniors with $1,000 scholarships. Twenty-one high school seniors have received scholarships since 2014. A key requirement to apply for a scholarship is for the students to write an essay on the meaning of ethics and integrity.

This year’s scholarships will be awarded at the 2019 Torch Awards held June 13 at The Lake Club.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.