How to deal with customers trying to rip you off
‘The customer is always right’, goes the dictum. Some might say that this is a very naive way of looking at things, and they won’t be completely wrong. The customer-seller relationship is based on a simple economic transaction, but it can lead to some complicated scenarios. Both the consumer and the seller are ultimately vying profit. The situation is quite like two entities tied to opposing ends of a spring or an elastic band, each trying to pull away. As physical manifestations of demand and supply, the customer and the seller cannot survive without each other, while always being locked within negotiations. These negotiations have the potential to turn combative. What does one do in such a case?
Media tends to highlight cases where a customer is being cheated out of their resources. Consumers also get special status under law, and bodies such as the Consumer Court are set up to safeguard their interests in the legal arena. The seller, on the other hand, faces a very different situation. There already exists a social stigma against a seller, and it does not take long to spread like wildfire, especially in the age of social media. Plenty of cases can be cited where a seller lost sizeable customer base due to bad publicity on social media.
‘The customer is always right’, is a motto for the for the service industry that thrives on providing the maximum amount of customer satisfaction. It was a belief popularized by pioneering retailers like Harry Gordon Selfridge, John Wanamaker and Marshal Field. But the customer is not always right. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite, as many sellers would attest.
But the seller has to be tactful in situations like these. In cases where a seller is genuinely being duped by a consumer, what recourse do they have? How to handle a situation like this? These are the questions we are going to talk about in this article.
What to do if you are Being Cheated on by a Customer
Take it Off Social Media
Social media is the breeding ground for controversy in today’s time, and if a seller indulges in a virtual shouting match with a consumer, it is only going to give them bad publicity. Your first job when you encounter a consumer complaint on your social media webpage, be it Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or Instagram, is to establish a safe private channel between the customer and yourself and initiate an inquiry. We generally tend to give unabashed opinions on social media, not realizing its power to form opinions. It is important to keep a cool head in a situation like this, rather than blowing it on your keyboard. One can analyze whether the customer is really trying to cheat you or not later. First step, take the discussion away from social media.
We are sure you must have encountered a particular breed of netizens before, whose only purpose seems to be to pull you into the vortex of an argument. Beware of them. They are called trolls, and they thrive on chaos. It is a sensitive matter when you think that somebody is cheating you, and you need to keep your head on your shoulders in a situation like this. Get in touch with your attorney and take advice on how to proceed, rather than reacting with your ego. Give calm, measured replies and don’t get pulled into a fight.
Keep Your Conversation Brief
If the customer is planning to cheat you, your conversations with them, either on social media pages or electronic mail, among other channels, are the first piece of evidence that you will collect. You don’t want to implicate yourself of any wrongdoing by writing a large, angry mail to your customer. So smile, be brief and courteous. Keep your lawyer in the loop.
This is a Time Sensitive Problem
The more time passes after the initial altercation, the riskier it is for you. The customer is not going to sit quietly. They will have started their own vendetta against you on various forums. You will have to judge the pros and cons of the situation in that case. Either you can take the legal recourse, but it can turn out to be quite expensive to do so. In smaller matters, it is easier to settle things with a firm hand.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Remember, if you push it too hard, you are going to lose a customer base. Balance out your priorities and decide what to do. You cannot please all your customers, but your customers are your basic necessity. Your actions will affect your customer base too. So you will have to be sensitive while being fair. Serving a customer to their satisfaction is always a good thing. Retaining a customer base is always better.
Check for Legal Loopholes
Check your company and product policy for legal loopholes. If you don’t do so, you might get scammed because of a glaring hole in your legal armor. One must always be self-reflexive in the online world. This way you don’t leave much room for yourself to get cheated.
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