Mexico: Then & Now


By Jeanne Hansen, Owner, Jeanne Hansen Editorial Services

An Interview with Bernardo Altamirano Rodríguez, Director General of BBB Mexico

Bernardo Altamirano Rodríguez is the Director General of Better Business Bureau (BBB) Mexico, which was launched in February 2014 and began operations in June 2015. BBB Mexico currently has offices in Mexico City, Tijuana, Monterrey, and Cancún.

Hansen: Before BBB Mexico was established, what was it like to own
a small business and be a consumer in Mexico?

Altamirano: Business in Mexico is divided. There are large global businesses that have adopted the best practices and processes, and there are numerous small businesses that still use traditional practices and lack technology. Small business owners face challenges in funding, advertising, and growth. Many of them are faithful to their customers, but there are opportunities to improve. For consumers, it is challenging to know which businesses to trust. They want the best value for their money and want to know that any complaints will be fairly addressed.

Hansen: What inspired you to open BBB Mexico?

Altamirano: Businesses in Mexico are subjected to harsh, protectionist regulations backed by invasive enforcement tools, and they are burdened with administrative requirements. This environment has fostered a punitive system that does not support best practices or advocate for consumers. With BBB Mexico, businesses have an opportunity to change the game. Instead of being fearful of government actions, they can rely on themselves to create a reputation based
on trust to attract customers who seek higher standards.

Hansen: What was your initial goal for BBB Mexico, and has it changed?

Altamirano: The initial goal was to educate business owners about the value of BBB and how it can create a better business environment. This goal remains at the forefront of our efforts because people in Mexico are not familiar with BBB.

Hansen: What was your major challenge as you started BBB Mexico?

Altamirano: It is challenging to foster a new mindset in a traditional environment. Business owners have doubts about how BBB will work in Mexico and how it can be successful in a country that is so different from the United States and Canada. It’s not as simple as accrediting businesses,
like in the United States and Canada
where BBB has strong brand recognition. Here in Mexico, we have to debate,
explain, and convince.

Hansen: What significant impacts has BBB Mexico had on the marketplace?

Altamirano: We are still in the first stage of our efforts. To identify the most fruitful opportunities for collaboration, we communicated the BBB message to key agencies, and we engaged businesses and consumers in various projects. We developed a strong message to engage Mexican businesses, which we shared with several BBB locations in the United States to expand the relevance of BBB to Hispanic businesses and consumers in their service areas.

Hansen: What do you envision for BBB Mexico in the future?

Altamirano: Our future is multifaceted: to consolidate operations; to become a strategic partner to Mexican businesses that want to expand to the United States and Canada; and to be a strategic partner with all BBBs to help them engage Hispanic businesses and customers. These efforts will make BBB Mexico an influential and strategic partner in the North American marketplace. A strategy of advancing trust, best practices, and integrity will strengthen the bonds among North American cultures. Building trust is the best investment.  

Jeanne Hansen is a freelance editor and the owner of Jeanne Hansen Editorial Services. She provides editorial services to associations, corporations, magazines, book publishers, and independent authors  and is the editor of several nationally recognized books.