HARKER HEIGHTS — Citing the advantages of a more centralized location for access to businesses, consumers and media outlets in a 13-county service area, the Better Business Bureau moved its regional office to Waco on June 1, after operating 18 years in Harker Heights, according to bureau sources.
The office’s service area roughly encompasses the area between Comanche, Bell, Navarro and Hill counties.
BBB spokeswoman Erin Dufner said the bureau handles at least 95 percent of its complaint counseling and grading services through phone calls and the Internet, which should translate to minimal relocation-related impacts on local businesses. Area managers, however, will have to drive farther to BBB’s cost-free “shred days,” which allow safe disposal of sensitive documents.
Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Crutchfield lauded the BBB’s customer service record, and said he expected it to continue in Killeen.
“If it doesn’t, that will be a subject of discussion, I’m sure,” Crutchfield said. “I wouldn’t expect (the move) to have much of an impact unless it doesn’t serve people here in Killeen.”
Throughout the transition, the BBB has continued to send a representative to Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce business mixers, and no businesses have had accreditation problems, said Heights chamber President Bill Kozlik.
“We’ve had no repercussions or any phone calls” regarding the move, Kozlik said.
The Waco location will allow Regional Director Helen Moore to travel more easily among educational outreach events, where directors spend 90 percent of their time, said former director Richard Kitterman. It took him four hours, “half a workday,” to drive to Hillsboro and back.
Long drives “were my biggest challenge,” said Kitterman, who worked 16 years in the Heights office. “There are the 13 areas that surround Waco, and you can get to any place in the area in about an hour. ...We can’t have an office in every city, nor is it a value to have an office in every city. The key is to get to every city.”
The BBB’s former Harker Heights office rarely served walk-ins, Dufner said. “We have little walk-in traffic in any of our offices.”
“Customers want to be (online),” Kitterman said. “They want to check a business out from their phone, they want to check out a business at 11 o’clock at night when they’re in their pajamas.”