I just returned from my trip to Boston to the BBB national assembly. It was bitter sweet as we said farewell to the CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Steve Cole, and hello to the new CEO, Steve Cox.
Much of the event was dedicated to the history that Steve Cole has with the bureau. He spent 22 years with the BBB, more than half of his working career. In his departure, we were reminded of the strides that this organization has made in the past 22 years. As a local board member back when, I do recall the massive library-like archives that held reports on businesses. When a consumer would call, an operator would go back to the archives, pull the file, and pick and choose what information was shared to help that person make a good buying decision.
I am glad the internet got here before I did. Today, you or I can, at a whim, look up any report on any company anywhere in the United States. We can see who owns it, how long they have been in business, whether or not they are BBB Accredited, how many complaints they have and how they have handled consumers that have complained. We can see if they have any government action against them, and we can see the BBB’s general, overall opinion of the company in the form of a grade. This impartial and objective data is at your fingertips. The future is here.
Our new dilemma: Steve Cox is a former marine, and boy does he show it. I bust with pride at the integrity the man exudes. He will have to be spirited in continuing to educate consumers that we are NOT a government agency, even though we have hired the best the government has to offer. Perhaps we will be better positioned to articulate the important relationship we have with government agencies, and the important role we play in protecting marketplace integrity.
Today I am a director on the board for the Council of Better Business Bureaus representing the Western Region. I am delighted to be working more closely with Steve Cox, a man I know will Start With Trust.