Common Sense Tips to Prevent Buyer Complaints
inJanuary 17, 2008 - 8:29pm
When a buyer is unhappy because they feel a shop owner has not dealt with them fairly, their next step is usually to contact Ruby Lane. Regardless of whether or not a buyer may truly have a basis for the grievance, once we are aware a disagreement exists, a shop owner can expect we will investigate the issue(s) fully.
No one is going to be able to satisfy each and every buyer a 100% of the time, we understand this and we sympathize. However, all too often buyers email us about disputes that in reality should never have continued to the point of requiring our involvement.
Being prepared to offer after-sales service is a sound business strategy. Anticipating potential problems and taking steps to minimize the chances these will occur is a wise decision. In the interest of helping to prevent complaints, when dealing with customers in an Internet sales environment, we offer the following tips: ·
First Impressions are Important: Take steps to make sure your buyers never feel ignored or unappreciated. Respond quickly and politely to legitimate inquiries.
State your Policy and Procedures for Returns: We highly recommend that you have a clearly stated return policy posted on your website, including the circumstances under which you will accept a return. Ruby Lane has a site wide return policy, but with new buyers arriving daily, don’t assume they have read it, and understand their responsibilities are. Have ready a set of written, clear and correct instructions. This may eliminate a variety of return situations and shipping issues, and will also increase buyer confidence. Buyers will appreciate your willingness and ability to process a return, along with a timely refund, exchange or credit.
Try to see things from a Buyer’s Perspective: Some shipping agents only issue insurance claim payments to the original shipper (you) and not to the receiver (the buyer), if loss or damage occurs. Knowing the insurance reimbursement policies of the shipping agents you use is highly recommended. If you know you will not have the money on hand to refund a buyer should something disappear or get broken in route, you may want to choose another shipper, one who will reimburse the buyer directly. After a buyer takes the steps necessary to document an insurance claim, which will be paid only to you, they almost always expect an immediate refund, regardless of whether or not you have actually received reimbursement from the shipper. Ask yourself if you would want to wait if the situation was in reverse. We think not. Informing a buyer that they must wait for the shipper to reimburse you, before their payment will be refunded is neither appreciated nor a good business practice.
Keep Separate Business Issues Separate: If you are selling items for other parties on consignment, we recommend holding payment to the consignor until after the item has been safely delivered and you are certain the buyer is not going to request to return it for a refund. It is not a buyer’s fault if a shop no longer has their payment in hand or if the consignor can no longer be reached.
Anger Rarely Pays Dividends: Managing a complaint over an extended period of time is costly to everyone. When a buyer’s comments insult you and make you angry, take a deep breath and try to relax – before responding. You might even sleep on your reply, waiting overnight before responding. Even when a buyer is unreasonable, rude, or just plain wrong, it is far better to be polite, resolve the issue quickly, and hopefully with a mutually agreed upon solution. This will be far more satisfying and cost you less in the long run. Going back and forth with a buyer, over an extended period of time, even if you are ‘right’ burns up time, and as some say, “time is money”, and as a bonus to wasting your time, you will also get to carry around a bad feeling with you each and every day you choose to continue to argue ‘your’ point. If a buyer complains, view it as a challenge instead of as a personal insult or an attempt to get ‘something for nothing.’ Be determined to turn a buyer’s dissatisfaction and possibly rude behavior into satisfaction and goodwill. You might be surprised how much easier it is resolve the problem if you remain positive with the goal of maintaining good relationships with all your customers. Use the situation as an opportunity to examine your policies and procedures, and make changes when needed.
Keep the Paperwork: Save all email, especially any messages associated with a purchase. These are important business documents. In the case of disputes, you may need them to illustrate exactly what you did or did not express to your buyer. Also, be sure to save shipping/insurance receipts. Maintaining a filing system for all buyer correspondence, etc., will provide you with the ability to quickly find a specific document when needed. Insurance claims are only paid if you can prove you purchased insurance coverage for an item.