Posted on May 18, 2012
By: Sara Meier, M.S.Ed, CAE, Vice President, Coulter & Executive Director, IACET
A few months ago, my husband and I were in that “make your head spin store” – Babies R’ Us – trying to find new car seats for our three children. As we walked the aisles, I became drained and when I looked over at my husband, I could tell the expression on his face said “I can’t get out of here fast enough, okay, let’s just choose one, eeny meeny miny mo…” You would think by our third child we would be old pros by now, but instead we were even more amazed that the choices had seemed to multiply ten-fold in less than a decade.
In today’s world of Google searches, product placement and Social Media, the options can overwhelm the individual consumer trying to simply make a purchase decision and stymie the business owner trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
So what to do in a universe of endless alternatives, determine whether there is an industry standard and if possible, look for third party approval. There is value in accreditation, seals of approval and of course end-user reviews. As Sy Syms used to say in his famous commercials, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” So be an educated consumer, look at what process the product, course or institution goes through to become accredited or receive the industry’s seal of approval. Is it granted to just anyone for a small fee or is the accreditation process rigorous? Is there a particular standard for the industry? Is the third party a trusted name in the industry or one you have never heard of before? What other products, organizations or services have received the award or accreditation? Do you find them deserving of the mark or is their process not selective enough?
Time is money, money is time, before you spend another dollar, spend a few minutes educating yourself about what you are about to buy. Anyone can say their product or service is great, but not everyone can validate that claim.