Survey proves ethics, rather than prices, drive consumers
COLUMBIA - When it comes to investing time and money into a business, many would assume prices and friendliness are the most important factors to consumers. However, a recent survey shows otherwise.
The Better Business Bureau recently announced consumers rank quality and ethics as the most important factors when deciding to buy from a business.
Sean Spence, Columbia Regional Director, said people often think the number of years in business is one of the most important factors.
"In our survey it consistently comes in like 10th, 11th or 12th most important to people," Spence said.
He said many of the complaints the BBB receives deal with trust issues between consumers and businesses.
"It is so essential that businesses be trustworthy and be able to communicate that they're trustworthy if they really want to continue doing business," Spence said.
He also said there are many instances where consumers do not get what they expected out of a business, which is why it is important to have everything in writing.
"There's so many ways there can be misunderstandings between the customer and the business that you want to make sure you do your research," Spence said.
According to the BBB, approximately 600 businesses and consumers responded to the survey. Prices ranked seventh on the list of important factors and friendliness ranked eighth. The number of years in business ranked 12th.
Mary Ropp, Senior Business Development Officer for the Bank of Missouri, said character is one of the five rules of lending the bank follows when dealing with customers.
"We are looking for clients who have that kind of character, and I think they expect that character from us," Ropp said.
Ropp said she believes customers can know if a business is trustworthy or not by how they treat them when they get there.
"When people come to the Bank of Missouri, they get a warm chocolate-chip cookie, and it just makes them feel like they're at home," Ropp said. "Truthfully, that's where you want to be. When you do business with people you want to feel comfortable."
Ropp said she believes people care more about integrity and honesty when times get tough.
"When you're doing business with someone, that's more important than price," Ropp said.
Columbia resident Nellie Dodd said she has been going to the same business to get her taxes done since 1968.
"It is just great to have someone that you feel that you can trust," Dodd said. "I know that when I walk out, it is a job well done."
Dodd said knowing she can trust the business allows her to have peace of mind and come back year after year.
"I know my taxpayer and how good she is, and whatever she says that's what I do," Dodd said.
The last time the survey was done was 2004, when quality and ethics also held the first and second spots on the list.