Author Archives: BBB of Greater Kansas City

Pet Perspective – Bentley The Goldendoodle

BentleyBy:  Jennifer McGlothen

On July 12th, my son, daughter and I picked up an eight week old furry, four-legged addition to our family, Bentley the goldendoodle! Looking back on his ride home, he must have been saying, “I’m happy but do you really think I’m going to make it easy for you?”

We talked about this new responsibility and my teenagers are pretty much carrying the load, but as I suspected, I have to pitch in a lot. Bentley is cute as a button but …………

My wake up signal is now whining and barking! I’ve never been a morning person and pre-Bentley I’d peel my eyes open, have some quiet contemplation and prayer before I face the world. Teenagers out of school are slower than me getting up and going so I choose to give my ears a break and go let Bentley out of his crate to begin his morning routine. Guess I should be grateful that he sleeps pretty quietly in the crate all night.

My morning routine has been disrupted! I now have to make time to take a trip outside at 6:30AM. I don’t want to think about that during cold weather. Perhaps we can get to the point where we can send him out by himself and he’ll come back when his business is done? And he can’t get his own food and water yet, so that’s an important addition to my morning list of “to do’s”. Soon as he hears the sound of the door where the food is he goes ballistic, jumping up and down as if springs were in his legs and starts running full speed, whipping around the corner towards his food dish as if he hasn’t eaten in days.

BentleyMy budget needs a new line item! Knew we needed a crate, collar, leash and other basics, but I never thought a vet office visit would be more than I pay for my doctor’s office visit! I might be looking into pet insurance! Then I was flabbergasted at the selections of toys, treats and other products for fur babies, but I didn’t get sucked in on that stuff. We bought a couple of toys, his favorite being a stuffed fox, but empty water bottles, old dish towels and other stuff provide good chomping and chasing activity.

My sense of smell is turned up a few notches! I never owned a dog until now but, over the years I have walked in some people’s houses and immediately knew they had a dog. I told myself if I ever had one, I didn’t want my house to smell like it. He is past the point of accidents in the house thank goodness, but after rolling in the grass and doing the stuff dogs do, I guess they just smell doggy. So, at the least indication of ‘eau de kennel’ fragrance in the air, I am chasing Bentley to spritz him with deodorizer if it’s not Wednesday or Sunday (bath days). I’m cleaning our hardwood floors much more than I used to so that’s kinda good. Amazing how a dog’s sense of smell is so much stronger than that of humans and if Bentley could talk, he’d probably say “you are the one that stinks, but I love you anyway.”

BentleyMy, My, My………. life is different these days! Perhaps that’s exactly the point, it’s not about me?  Having a pet is all about giving up part of me to help care for this growing puppy. My friends and colleagues say it’s all worth it because of the unconditional love they give back.

Oh alright Bentley, you can stay!

Several of the BBB staff have pets that they truly adore. I’m sure they’d like to share Pet Perspectives in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBB of Kansas City at a Glance

Magnifying GlassAuthor: Dustin Johnson

I wanted to share what the Kansas City BBB has done over the past year. You may not know how much the BBB does to further its mission to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.

Here are the statistics for the last year:

1,021,087 Inquiries
This is the number of times that BBB Business Reviews on local businesses were provided free of charge. The vast majority of business reviews were viewed by consumers through our website.

19,568 Complaints Closed
Number of complaints BBB processed against greater Kansas City and surrounding area businesses.

4,930 Customer Reviews Submitted
Consumers who had a marketplace interaction with a business can share their experience whether positive, negative or somewhere in between and rate it on a 5 star scale. We expect the number of reviews to increase dramatically over the next few years as news of this newer BBB service continues to spread.

49 Advertising Review Cases Closed
BBB routinely monitors advertising within the marketplace and contacts businesses whose advertisements may not meet BBB’s Code of Advertising.

27 Investigations Performed
While BBB does many more simple investigations into businesses, their principal(s) and practices, this is the number of more significant cases where BBB seeks voluntary correction through written correspondence, seeking clarification and/or correction of the practices and/or information that BBB is investigating. BBB also informs the public on their review along with press releases and other media outreach. Additionally, information may be provided to local prosecutors, federal, state or local agencies for potential legal action.

There are a total of 2,547 accredited businesses as of the end of June.

Here’s a breakdown of activity from 7/1/2017 – 6/30/2017:

  • 302 applications for accreditation were vetted and approved by BBB officials and its Board of Directors.
  • 56 applications were denied.
  • 6 Revocations. Businesses who did not maintain BBB’s Standards for Accreditation had their accreditation revoked.
  • 90% Retention Rate. Only those businesses who are meeting BBB accreditation standards are invited to renew their annual commitment to BBB’s Standards for Trust.

We would like to thank our accredited businesses for their commitment to the BBB’s core values and support of services to the public.

Learn about BBB, obtain reviews on businesses and charities, find or report scams, submit complaints/customer reviews, find a BBB Accredited Business and more at www.bbb.org/kansas-city.

Employee Spotlight: Dustin Johnson, Director of Accreditation

By Cherie Reese

Dustin Profile PictureThis month I’d like to introduce Dustin Johnson, BBB Serving Greater Kansas City’s Director of Accreditation. Dustin started his career with the BBB in March 2004 as a sales representative for new memberships. One year later became our Retention Services Manager and in December of 2008 to his current position.

Dustin leads our accreditation department in obtaining support from businesses that meet and agree to BBB’s Code of Business Practices (Accreditation Standards).

Dustin manages a staff of five. His team garners new applications, retains existing accredited businesses, and provides additional leadership and assistance to the Operations team. Dustin also works closely with BBB’s vendors for sales and advertising to provide exceptional services to businesses within our communities.

Dustin was born and raised on a small farm in northwest Iowa. Today, Dustin often takes a few days off every fall to head back to the farm to help with harvest. After high school graduation, Dustin attended college and graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.

Dustin soon settled in the Kansas City area where he has lived for the past 21 years. Dustin is married to his beautiful wife, Renee. They have a lovely daughter, Kayla, who will soon be completing her education at the University of Kansas. In the past they’ve enjoyed supporting their daughter’s participation and achievements in pageants, dance and cheer activities.

Dustin now enjoys spending his spare time at the gym, playing in a men’s basketball league, working on home improvement projects and traveling the countryside. Dustin is also a big fan of the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas Jayhawks and enjoys watching sporting events on TV with his friends and family.

Northern Networking: The BBB Presents at Northland Coffee Connect, Hosted at iWerx

Author: Jennifer McGlothen

Northland Coffee Connect Hosted at iWerkxI live in South Kansas City, and while I was familiar with Northland Coffee Connect, I hadn’t made the extra effort to arrive at this 7:45AM networking event north of the river. I had run into Terri S. Turner of TST Marketing & Communications Services some time ago and she mentioned I should check out the event. Then a few months ago, one of our colleagues at the BBB who lives north also mentioned the event. It was time to check it out!

Terri works to manage Northland Coffee Connect so I contacted her to learn more. We scheduled a date for the BBB to share about how we advance trust in the marketplace.

Northland Coffee Connect Hosted at iWerkxThe week prior to the presentation, I decided I would attend to make some new connections and see the iWerx co-working space. I was sorry that I had not made a point to get there long ago! It was a great group of people, great coffee and a great space! The living room arrangement adds such a nice touch.

So, on Wednesday, June 21st, I and two of my colleagues arrived at iWerx bright and early to provide an overview of what the Better Business Bureau does. If you like infographics, here is what that overview looks like:

BBB at a glance

If you like live video snippets, I’ve got those for you also!

Dustin Johnson, Director of Accreditation Services covered some stats and how people use BBB information.
(21 seconds)

Aaron Reese, Manager of Information & Media Services covered advertising review.
(54 seconds)

Northland Coffee ConnectI spoke about our charity review program and how it’s a public service to both charities and donors, but I didn’t video myself! You can check out lots of presentations on Northland Coffee Connect’s Facebook page.

We got good feedback from some attendees and we’re glad that we were able to share details about the varied activities of the BBB. Last but not least, we thank Northland Coffee Connect, iWerx  and their sponsors.

No matter what area of town you live or work, check out Northland Coffee Connect and iWerx!  We know you will find exactly what we found – great people, great coffee and a refreshing space!

Tips For Buying From the Facebook Marketplace.

By Aaron Reese

Facebook MarketplaceThe Facebook Marketplace is steadily growing in popularity. Like Craigslist, it displays a local collection of personal sale classified ads. One reason it’s probably gaining in popularity is that a seller must have a Facebook account. There’s no denying the overwhelming popularity of Facebook. Most people surf the site daily, and it’s awfully convenient to do some shopping while you’re there.

When a seller has a Facebook page, it’s comforting. It helps set a buyer at ease. If the seller’s Facebook page is public, you can see the person’s profile picture. You can look at his or her activity and friends, political rants, friendship quizzes and whatever else they are doing. Craigslist, on the other hand, all but guarantees anonymity with its auto-generated email addresses. It’s easy to see why the Facebook Marketplace might rival Craigslist. It’s a trust thing.

But not so fast.

We already know that Facebook is rife with scams. The BBB issues warnings about them all the time. We also publish articles about plenty of Craigslist scams. Both sites come with their own risks. With the advent of the Facebook Marketplace, we’re seeing a combination of two kinds of scams.

Facebook scams often exploit people’s trust in their Facebook friends list. Scammers will replicate someone’s page, stealing their pictures and sending friend requests to everyone on that person’s friends list. When the scammer gets a few approved friend requests on the fake profile, he’ll start hitting up people in his friends list for money. Sometimes scammers ask to borrow funds for personal reasons. Sometimes scammers tell people that they’ve won a sweepstakes. Sometimes they steer people to scam sites.

Scammers are pulling some of those same tricks to swindle people in the Marketplace. They’re creating fake profiles and claiming to have great deals on merchandise. Scammers are tricky, but you can look for a few red flags that reveal them for what they are.

F-150The deal is too good to be true. You’ll find some great deals in the Marketplace. People will try to get rid of unwanted stuff, but try to recognize when it’s not realistic. For example, I found a 2015 Ford F150, 4-door with chrome running boards on sale for $4,500. That truck is worth $31,000. No one, and I mean no one mind would sell it for so little. The best case scenario is that the seller truly wishes to unload it for so little money…because it’s stolen.

The photos are from the manufacturer’s promotional material. If a seller lists a home entertainment center, they should have pictures of the one they actually own. If they provide a picture with a pristine white background and professional multi-angle lighting, you can safely assume that the seller did not take the picture. You have no way of knowing what the entertainment center looks like, what condition it’s in or if it even really exists

The seller asks you to wire money. Sometimes sellers claim to be out of town. They might tell you that they’ve had other offers, but they’ll do you a favor and hold the item if you wire them some cash. Don’t do this. Ever.

The seller’s Facebook page has no activity. This is a pretty good indication that the profile is new to Facebook and probably fake. If the seller has a private profile, send a friend request so that you can see their history. If you don’t see anything older than a week, don’t buy from them.

You can find more about Facebook scams here and Classified Ad scams here.

If you’ve had experiences with scams in the Facebook Marketplace, let us know. Leave a comment or report it to BBB’s Scamtracker.

The Importance of BBB Customer Reviews

Author: Dustin Johnson

Word of Mouth Just Went Viral!

Online Review StatsYou finish a big job. The customer’s thrilled. Next thing you know, the client’s neighbor wants you to price out some work. Isn’t word-of-mouth a wonderful thing?

Now imagine that same happy customer didn’t just talk to his neighbor but went out and told everyone in town how much he liked your work. Talk about a job well done. Welcome to the wonderful world of online customer reviews. One of the most powerful business development tools available today.

Did You Know?

Did you know that your BBB allows for customers to post reviews about their experiences with businesses, brands and charities whether it be positive, negative or somewhere in between? BBB has always helped consumers with dispute resolution, but for the past few years BBB has also accepted customer reviews.

A BBB customer review is the subjective opinion of a customer who had a marketplace interaction with a business. Customers can share their experience whether it be positive, negative or neutral. The customer is not necessarily seeking any dispute resolution help through BBB, and if he or she is, BBB may recommend to file a complaint instead.

Submit a ReviewBy accepting customer reviews, BBB is able to provide additional information on organizations to help potential customers make educated purchasing decisions. Reviews also allow businesses to demonstrate how they interact with their customers.

In today’s climate, it’s what many consumers are looking for when researching online. Countless potential customers are reading reviews and they’re doing it for almost everything they buy.

Engage Your Customers

Don’t be afraid to ask! Tell customers their feedback and opinions are important to you. If you don’t ask, your chances are much lower in getting a positive review. If a customer has a bad experience they will set out to write a bad review. A customer with a good experience may simply let you know in person, over the phone, or in email within a conversation. This is your time to ask them to share their experience in an online review.

Here are some tips to help you get the right kind of feedback

Ask:  Let customers know you want to hear from them and be responsive and open to their feedback. Tell them that your business is on bbb.org and ask them to write you an online review. You can also solicit reviews after a job is done via an email or even a post card. Be sure to include a URL that directly links them to your BBB Business Profile and/or engage them on Facebook or Twitter with an account for your business.

Save:  Emails and letters with nice customer comments make great testimonials, so keep every one that you get. Do ask for permission before you publish them, and remember to ask if they would submit their review on your BBB Business Profile. For BBB accredited businesses, don’t forget to include your BBB Accreditation Seal to remind customers of your commitment to service.

Share:  Turn customers into advocates. Encourage clients to share a good experience with your business online on Twitter or Facebook.

Follow-up:  If a job went well, but the customer doesn’t leave you a review, contact them again in a few weeks. Politely inquire if they were satisfied with your service. If yes, ask again if they would consider sharing their thoughts online.

Respond:  There’s no reason you can’t respond to a good review by saying thank you publicly. It shows you are listening and people like to be acknowledged. It’s also important to actively monitor your online reputation.

While BBB will contact you when a complaint or customer review has been submitted, get in the habit of searching your business name plus “reviews” to see what comes up. If it’s a negative review, respond timely and professionally. Make an honest effort to resolve the issue but do not continue to engage in a long dialogue online. Try to take it offline and respond more personally via phone or email. As it can be difficult not to take a negative review personally, remember to be professional in your response. Potential customers reading your reviews may consider how you’re responding to them just as important as the reviews themselves.

To learn more about BBB Customer Reviews, including what makes BBB Customer Reviews different from other review sites or to learn about the difference between a customer review and a complaint, visit: https://www.bbb.org/council/reviews/about-bbb-customer-reviews/ or contact your local BBB.

An interview with David Buckley, President and CEO of BBB® of Greater Kansas City

Author: Cherie Reese

David BuckleyDavid Buckley is the current President and CEO of BBB® of Greater Kansas City.  He was pretty much raised knowing all about BBBs since his father, Ray Buckley, worked at the BBB®  starting in 1946 and became President and CEO when his predecessor, Joe Burkhead, passed away in 1969. David would come to the office with his father many times to address the Bulletin on an old Addressograph machine, and started learning the ropes at 8 years old.

Young Buckley was put on the payroll in 1972, after college at K.U. being recruited and lured with the salary of $500 a month. His first official job at the BBB® office was to answer insurance inquiries on the phone. There were no computers to quickly look up information, so David went to the file cabinet, took out the files, reviewed the information, then read A.M. Best insurance reports to consumers.

Today, the first thing he does is turn on his computer and answer each of the 50-75 emails he receives so he can prioritize what needs to be done for the day.  David always greets his staff with a cheerful “Good Morning” as he walks into his office. During the day he can be heard talking to someone and laughing either on the phone or in person. Sometimes the staff is subject to loud music from the 60s and 70s when a favorite song strikes his fancy, but no one seems to mind. It’s just David in a nostalgic mood!

David said his greatest accomplishment was to stay in the same job for over 45 years.

He’s proud of the fact that the BBB® board voted to re-elect him year after year and that they had confidence in his abilities to run BBB® of Greater Kansas City.

Outside of work, his other greatest accomplishments are his 4 children and 3 grandchildren.  The oldest daughter, Tracy is a teaching assistant, tutor and with two children married to Dan, a department manager of Hallmark. Nathan is his oldest son also a computer programmer. He’s married to Melinda and has a 10 month old daughter. David’s 2nd oldest daughter is Tahlia, an organic farmer who loves raising ducks and is also a social worker. His other son is Nick. Nick is a flower shop manager and is going to school to be a construction engineer. He has no children yet but has 3 dogs and is married to Susie.

BBB® has been David’s life for over 45 years and he has now announced he will be retiring January 2, 2018 and is eager to start a new chapter in his life. David said “This is an exciting but a little scary time for me. I’m looking forward to traveling to the gulf coast and Phoenix to see a new-ish granddaughter of 10 months, laying on the beach reading and listening to music. I love rock and opera!”

David has a few hobbies that keep him busy and in good humor, like golfing, and he plays as often as he can. He played racquetball for over 30 years until his knees started giving him trouble.

David inherited good genes… he still visits and takes care of his father who is now 102 years old and resides in assisted living. David and his wife Jan bring him to BBB® luncheons to eat and visit with the staff.

I asked David what was the most interesting thing he learned working at the BBB® and he told me. “Things have changed so much but also remain the same. We’re still fighting fraud and we still ask consumers to use BBB® pre-sale instead of having to file a complaint after the fact.”