Last week we had Steve Cox, President of the Better Business Bureau on CredibilityLIVE. Steve gave out some terrific advice about the best ways to build trust in your business.

If you weren’t able to watch the live event, we’ve got the full video below, as well as some highlights of what Steve had to say.

Hutch: With respect to building customer’s trust, what has changed in the last 100 years and what hasn’t?

Steve: Scams are just as prevalent today as they were in 1912 and the protection that people needs are the same. The main change is how people have leveraged technology to perpetrate scams. This include phishing, vishing (using Voice Over IP), and smishing (using mobile).

Hutch: How has the BBB convinced people to use their services?

Steve: For any organization to be successful, it must be rooted in trust. It should be based upon transparency and objectivity. This is the BBB’s legacy over the last 100 years. The Better Business Bureau exists today because people expect four things. The first is to leverage their name and trust for various businesses and charities. The second is that the public expects the BBB to establish and uphold marketplace standards for trust. The third is that consumer and donors should be advised objectively. The last point is that the public expects the right solutions at the right time for public need. This is supported by the reputation the BBB has accrued over the last 100 years.

Hutch: How have you convinced 400,000 businesses to become accredited by the BBB?

Steve: We’ve done this one business at a time. The BBB believes in relationships. There are 116 Better Business Bureaus across America and Canada and all help to establish relationships in with their businesses and communities. By building these relationships, the BBB can better serve customers.

Hutch: How do you know who to trust in this marketplace?

Steve: It is tough. Steve feels that the BBB stands as a company that people can trust because of their work with businesses and long history. There is a “trust deficit” out there, but the BBB can help people make informed decisions about the companies that they choose to do business with.

Hutch: What can a small business owner do to protect themselves from unfounded reviews online?

Steve: The first thing to do is to be responsive, no matter the context. This has been a tenet of business for a long time. To be responsive, you want to be sure to tell your side of the story. If you’re only going to do one thing, be responsive.

Hutch:What can you share about trust and consumer behavior?

Steve: What has been consistent over decades is that trust is currency in the marketplace. It is about being transparent, being responsive, being objective, about truth in advertising, and about embodying integrity. For decades, people have wanted these things from businesses they deal with.

Hutch: How does BBB accreditation help improve a business’s bottom line?

Steve: Accreditation is not a fee for service, you do not become an accredited business by paying and gaining access to services. However, Steven mentions that there are services a business has access to after becoming accredited. The value of accreditation is that you become a member of a distinct community of businesses.

Hutch: Is it your experience that you can trust businesses or do you have to be careful?

Steve: We advocate that any customer or donor should check out a business or charity before doing business with them. That is just business from the consumer’s perspective. You figure out if you can trust a business by verifying. By being safe, you can protect your financial investments and to make the most informed decision you possibly can.

Hutch: Any final words you want to share with our audience?

Steve: Trust does matter. It absolutely does matter. I can’t tell someone how to run their business, they know how to do it better than I do. But I can recommend that they be responsive.


Our next CredibilityLIVE on February 9, 2011 will feature business coach and author, Brian Tracy. Brian will be talking about how to overcome professional obstacles to grow your business.