How to Manage Customer Complaints of Purchasing Fake Products From You
So you have probably been accused of selling fake items by a customer even though you can vouch that you got your products directly from the manufacturer or was first in line to receive from their machinery as soon as it was created.
When a customer claims an item is fake, contrary to what you feel, the customer is not out to ruin your business nor deliberately witch hunting you. One of the most prevalent problems with online sales in Nigeria is trust and credibility. When accused of selling fake products, this is not the time to remind your customer about how long you have been selling on Konga and how authentic everyone says you are and how much millions you have made on Konga. The first step towards fixing this and ensuring customer does not do further damage through word of mouth is DAMAGE CONTROL. Below are our tips on how to do damage control.
LISTEN FIRST & AVOID CHALLENGING YOUR CUSTOMERS CLAIMS: Once you receive a complaint from a customer that the item they just purchased from you is fake, the first thing you need to do is empathize. Do not get defensive. When a customer makes claims such as this, they have prepared for the worst battle with you and are ready to get verbally aggressive which will be dependent on how you manage the situation early enough. If a customer reached out to you via mail, you may respond through mail but let them know you will rather speak with them to get a better clarification of things. You will achieve more with a phone call. It will feel more personal to the customer and reduce the risk of them misunderstanding the tone of your response. Rather than challenge their complaint, listen to what they have to say first.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT THE CUSTOMER HAS TOLD YOU AND ASK THEM WHAT THEY WANT:This does not mean you need to accept that the product is fake. If you are a direct distributor of this product from the manufacturer, it is expected that you should have pamphlets, mails, guidelines on spotting a fake item from original and documents that support all the products being original. Share these details with customer and with Konga. Be willing to help both parties. Communicate this to the customer that you purchased this directly from the manufacturer and confirm if they have purchased the product before or they are first time users. It’s possible a customer had been purchasing unoriginal versions of same product for a long while and finally got the original from your store which then made it look different from what the customer was used to buying. If however, you are a retailer and your source is not a verified source, make sure you do not respond aggressively as there may be a likelihood that you purchased a fake product. If this is the case, let your buyer know this and tell them you are willing to refund the sum once Konga confirms with your own assistance that the said product is fake. Apologize once again for this and thank the customer for bringing this to your attention.
These are sample scenarios that should work with customers who have accused you of selling fake products.
Scenario 1- When you have purchased directly from a verified distributor
Customer: You sold me a fake phone. I will make sure I close your business and tell people about you. All of you are all the same……
Merchant: Wow, I really do apologize for your experience. I’m really quite surprised by this as I source my products directly from the distributor. Really sorry to ask you this but have you been using this same product?
Customer: Yes, I have. You are not the first person I’m buying from. I don’t even know why i came to your store
Merchant: I’m really sorry you feel this way. Is it okay if you explain how you knew it was fake?
Customer: Yes, the ones i used to buy have …………
Merchant: I see why you suspected it was fake. Actually, original **** products are not supposed to have *******. I am a certified distributor. Do you mind if i send you a pamphlet on identifying fake products so you are convinced I don’t sell fake items? If you are however not okay with this, I am willing to offer a refund once Konga verifies the authenticity, that’s if you are still not convinced with the documents I want to send to you. Once again, i really do apologize for your experience. I’m hoping we can resolve this amicably. Can I call you back tomorrow once you have reached a decision?
Scenario 2- When you are a retailer and do not purchase directly from a major verified distributor
Customer: You sold me a fake baby bag. I will make sure I close your business and tell people about you. All of you are all the same……
Merchant: Wow, I really do apologize for your experience. I’m really quite surprised by this as I used to get confirmation from my wholesaler that he purchased in bulk from a trusted source. I’m however open to confirming that you bought a fake product from me. If this is so, I need to take down the product from my store and re-confirm from my supplier if he/she is sure they purchased from a verified source. Could you share with me how you knew it was fake so I can clearly tell him this?
Customer: Yes, all the ones I bought from America have ******
Merchant: This is really embarrassing. I’m really sorry about this. What will you like done? I am willing to issue a refund for this as soon as possible or an exchange as I have other version I bought from other suppliers. I however want to confirm from my supplier if there is any chance he has been selling fake products to me. Is it possible i call you back in 20 minutes?
Customer: Yes, you can. If I don’t hear from you soon, I will call Konga o.
Merchant: I totally understand. I really do apologize once again. Thank you so much for being patient. I will get back to you shortly.
Once you have engaged with your customer this way, they will feel special and will reduce the risk of the complaint getting escalated into a dispute. If however you are unable to get a solid verification from your supplier, notify Konga immediately, give an update on your discussion with customer and request that the product be pulled down. Most likely the customer will agree to an exchange if you have an original one due to the way you handled it. Whatever decision you take with a customer, always put Konga in the loop.
ALWAYS FOLLOW UP AND STAY IN TOUCH: Once this has been resolved or concluded, ensure you follow up with your customer, thank them for being so civil and patient with you and if they have been able to get an alternative or they have been able to use the one they exchanged within your store. If they haven’t, find out why and repeat the process or arrange for a refund or advise accordingly if they didn’t make the purchase from your store. They will definitely appreciate your proactive behavior and won’t cross out your store from the list of stores to shop from on Konga.
At the end of the day, customers are just humans with feelings who want to get the best out of their money without being treated less than they deserve.
What do you think about our suggestions? Do you think this will work for you? Let’s know what you think.