Well, Market America has done it again. They’ve won a prestigious award for business ethics from the Better Business Bureau serving Central North America, adding to the company’s previous Torch Award for their integrity, trust and business acumen that already sits in the company’s trophy case.
What an incredible honor!
But don’t take my word for it. First, let’s try to get some perspective on just how much of an honor that is … then we’ll look at some of the commends made concerning this award by none other than Kevin Hinterberger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Business Bureau of Central North Carolina, who attended Market America’s Silver Anniversary company conference in here’s the gracious response from the company’s founders J.R. Ridinger and his wife, Loren.
Hinterberger sets the stage nicely – and he did that on stage at the August 2017 conference. He explained to the 25,000 Unfranchise developers in attendance.
The Better Businesses Bureau, a well known and widely respected organization is over 100 years old, Hinterberger explained. And he put this nicely: “Our mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust, denouncing substandard behavior and exposing bad advertising,” he said.
Trust, if you will, is the one overriding aspect of business that concerns the Better Business Bureau. Trust is what they applaud. Substandard behavior, which erodes trust, is not tolerated, nor is “bad advertising,” which is commonly called inaccurate or fraudulent advertising.
This jumps us to the particular aspect of the Better Bus’ Bureau that most of us can relate to – the service they perform that most of us know, which is that they handle complaints from customers and, when necessary, advise customers on their rights and their options for how to address a problem with a company when they feel cheated, mislead, lied to, etc.
What do we do when a company does us wrong? We call the Better Business Bureau and lodge a complaint.
That said, it would be understandable to think that a company the size of Market America, which has hundreds if not thousands of products that they sell and has, according to Hinterberger, more than 3 million customers worldwide and earns multiple millions of dollars in revenue – a company that does business in every continent, except, perhaps, Antarctica, that it there would be hundreds of complaints phoned or mailed in on an annual basis concerning misleading claims, terrible service and so on.
Just to say so, there are some companies that everyone can easily recognize that do have hundreds of complaints filed every year.
Market America is not one of them. Read Hinterberger’s comments and you will see, when he gets to the number of complaints phoned in about Market America each year is, simply put, jaw-dropping low.
Hinterberger said he went through the files and found that there were only 18 complaints filed against Market America in a three-year span! Not only is that only 18 complaints per year among more than 3,000,000 customers, it is only 18 complaints across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. That’s only six complaints per 1,000,000 customers, he said.
In a word: Wow.
But the Better Business Bureau does more than just check their phone records before handing out an award. They do their research.
Again, Hinterberger is the source of these comments, so let’s let him talk for himself:
“From the moment that I got there and I saw the doctors and the quality control personnel and the warehouse people pulling orders, checking to make sure that your products meet your stringent standards, I knew that this was an organization that really paid attention to detail and was committed to what they said they were going to do.”
You know, it’s only that simple. Trust means you don’t say you can provide the sun, moon and stars – and have them in your mailbox by Tuesday morning – when you can’t do that. Just say what you can do and do what you say and you will earn your customers’ trust. It isn’t that hard to do. (So why do so many companies get this wrong?)
“Further evidence of just how well run this organization is can be evidenced in the Better Business Bureau profile for Market America,” he said, noting those 18 complaints were an astoundingly low number. “Take time to think about this. Some time this afternoon Google the Better Business Bureau profiles (on other companies) and you will see that their complaints are much higher than Market America,” Hinterberger said.
And then, it doesn’t end there, because no company is that perfect; we all live in the same universe, do we not? As such, those complaints do arise from time to time and now it’s up to the company to figure out what to do about that. Here, again, Hinterberger has the answer:
“They make sure that their customers are taken care of and that’s all you people here, too,” he said, aiming the second part of that comment at the Unfranchise developers listening to his speech.
Moreover, “complaints are handled in a efficient manner; they’re timely and everything is handled expeditiously,” he said.
His praise was ongoing, too. “Market America is a company that builds trust. They advertise honestly. They’re responsive to their customers.”
Hold the phone! Market America is a company that advertises honestly!!! Who does that? Well, Market America does and they always have.
Already said in this column, Market America has the word “Market” in their name for a few specific reasons. Yes, they are establishing themselves as an online market place – a place to buy their terrific line of products. But they also understand and have always understood that marketing these days is the name of the game in business. Online business demands careful, trusted marketed to take a company to the next level and one slip that goes public and goes viral on the Internet can undo years of trust-building. So Market America makes as few mistakes as is humanely possible and responds appropriately when a mistake is made, so customers are taken care of. (Customers understand mistakes happen; what they do not forgive is a company that treats the mistake like it’s the customers fault or the customer’s responsibility to do something about it.
Yes, the Ridingers responded gracefully to the company earning its SECOND BBB Torch Award this spring. But the words of praise from Hinterberger stole the show in 2017. “In a nutshell, they (Market America) do what’s right even when nobody’s looking,” he said.
If you do what’s right when nobody’s looking, what is that called? In a word: Trust.