If you ask an economist about a particular region’s potential, one of the things he or she will almost certainly talk about is consumer confidence. Why is that? Of all the big moving pieces in an economy – interest rates, employment rates, new companies opening and other companies shutting down – why is consumer confidence so important?
Every single person has an impact on the economy with the decisions we make each day. Collectively, our impact is massive. When we are nervous, we sock our money away, and the wheels of the economy slow down.
When people feel confident, they spend. They travel, eat in restaurants, invest in new cars and new furniture, in buying new homes or renovating older ones. And that spending powers the local economy. It keeps local businesses thriving, it creates employment opportunities, and it generates the tax revenue that provides the services we all rely on.
Well, you can’t have confidence without trust; they’re flip sides of the same coin. And that’s why the organization I am privileged to lead – your Better Business Bureau (BBB) – is an integral part of our economic development ecosystem. Our mission is to advance marketplace trust – to help create an environment of high trust between consumers and businesses.
In a marketplace with high levels of trust, people know they can feel comfortable doing business with the companies in their community. They know that those businesses will provide the product or service they want, and that if something goes wrong, they’ll make a good faith effort to make it right.
Many people are familiar with BBB’s complaints program, through which we work with consumers and businesses when there are disputes about transactions between them. We don’t advocate for one or the other; as an impartial and balanced third party, we help both come to a reasonable resolution. Our Business Reviews are also unbiased, and help people find businesses that maintain high standards for ethical behavior, so that they can make better informed choices with their hard-earned money.
We’re also a source of important information for the people you care about. When an elderly relative gets an email that looks like it came from their bank, but is actually a phishing attempt to gain access to their banking information; when your child is off to their first year at university, and needs to know how to protect their identity and credit – both online and off – we’re there with that important information.
We’re lucky in this part of the world. Atlantic Canadians have a well-deserved reputation for being honest and true to our word. That makes it easier for organizations like the Greater Halifax Partnership and Nova Scotia Business Inc to attract people and companies to live and do business here.
Your BBB is proud to play the role that we do in this ecosystem, starting with trust to build our regional economy.
Peter Moorhouse is the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau, Atlantic Provinces. Mr. Moorhouse has worked in the private, not-for–profit and academic sectors in both Toronto and Halifax. Moorhouse is an active community leader with experience in investor services, business development, event coordination and sponsorship, government relations, media relations and communications.