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Customer complaints & dispute resolution

We ask all of our sellers to aim for a high customer service standard, always strive to resolve a customer's complaint, and adhere to the Issue Resolution & Refund Policy.

To help you we have put together this guide with best practice advice on how to firstly minimise customer issues, and also successfully handle customer complaints.

 

First things first:  minimise issues

Of course prevention is always best. 

Customer complaints should be rare if you follow this best practice:

  1. Have very clear, complete and accurate product descriptions so that customers know exactly what they're getting (including clear shelf life information if the items are perishable). Also always make sure that the product photos clearly show them exactly what they are ordering to avoid surprises, and don't misrepresent the product being sold.
  2. Ensure your shipping information and timescales are clear and correct.   Customers are shown delivery timescales for their orders with you in line with your shipping settings here - and they will rely on those.  So always review and make sure that your shipping settings reflect the service that you are able to provide. Don't set a shipping option as "Guaranteed" if you are not able to ensure delivery is on a particular date.
  3. Fulfil orders on time in line with the shipping timescales on the orders, or if things change advise the customer quickly of revised delivery timescales. Despite best endeavours to keep your shipping settings up to date, one off events can occur to delay dispatching some orders.  If that happens let the impacted customers know immediately of an unexpected delay by messaging them via the orders.  You should then also edit the delivery estimate in the orders to the revised timescale.  
  4. Package your products well.  Use the rattle test - if it rattles when you shake it then damage is likely. Parcels WILL get thrown around.  If you are new to selling online then send out some test parcels.
  5. Use a reliable delivery company.  DPD and Royal Mail are amongst the most well reviewed, and most popular choices on Yumbles, but do your own research.  Also be aware that at peak times some delivery networks can struggle so keep an eye on that and consider switching if there is a persistent issue.
  6. Where possible use a tracked service.  Ideally one with in flight notifications.   Tracked delivery is essential for perishable items and high value orders.  If you are shipping on an untracked Royal Mail service use the Click & Drop integration so that all Yumbles customers can at least see the basic tracking confirming if their order is delivered or on it's way.
  7. For perishable items always ship with a guaranteed next day (or at least a very reliable 24-hour) service , and never dispatch on a Friday or Saturday. Make sure your customer knows the specific delivery date.  Also make sure the items are fine to be in transit for 48 hours in case of a missed first delivery attempt.
  8. Pass tracking information to the customer when you dispatch orders so that they can see the status of their delivery.  If you ship with Royal Mail then the Click & Drop integration will do this for you automatically when you ship your parcels, likewise if you use DPD Local make use of the integration we have for that which also automated this for you.

 

Complaint handling: general approach

If you do find yourself dealing with a customer complaint then our advice is to always:

  1. respond quickly
  2. apologise if you've made an error
  3. show genuine acknowledgement of and empathy for their disappointment - no matter the cause they had an expectation that wasn't met hence their complaint.
  4. make it clear that you are keen to get it resolved for them.  

These steps alone quickly diffuse a disappointed customer, and likewise if not followed can quickly lead to an escalating situation.

The actual resolution you offer them should be as a minimum in accordance with our Issue Resolution & Refund Policy.

We also recommend that you consider a No Quibble Policy for most if not all types of complaint.  If you have followed all the best practice as stated above you should find that issues are exceptionally rare.  Rather than quibble over the odd case and whether or not to believe or agree with the customer which inherently adds more cost in terms of your time, it can be commercially more prudent to just immediately resolve reported issues with a replacement or refund as needed.  You can then just factor into your costs a sensible (low %) of refund or replacement costs so that you are covered.

We know that as a small business with tight margins it can be hard to accept refunds when you really feel that you have not done anything wrong - but do weigh it commerically up against the cost in terms of your time spent dealing with multiple messages from an unhappy customer, negative public reviews etc. 

Final general pointer - learn from every complaint.  How did it happen and how could it have been prevented.  Make changes where you can to your listings/ shipping settings/ operational processes to avoid similar cases in future.  Complaints are costly particularly for a small business in terms of time spent dealing with them, refunds and reputation risk.  

 

Issue Resolution & Refund Policy

To ensure excellent and consistent customer service across the marketplace, for the benefit of all, we ask that all sellers resolve customer issues in keeping with our Issue Resolution & Refund policy, as a minimum.

 

Dispute Resolution

We ask that all sellers do their best efforts to resolve issues with their customers directly, which should be possible for the vast majority of cases if you follow the advice in this guide and adhere to the issue resolution & refund policy.

 

However, in the event that you and your customer really cannot agree on a resolution, either party can request that we Yumbles step in and provide dispute resolution.

We will then carefully review:

  • the details of the order,
  • the circumstances and timings around the fulfillment where relevant to the dispute e.g. the estimated delivery date on the order and the date it was dispatched
  • the communication between both parties via the order,
  • any additional information either party chooses to provide.

...and determine what we regard is a fair resolution in line with the advice in this guide and the Issue Resolution & Refund Policy.

We will then notify both parties of our verdict.   If we determine that a full or a partial refund is the fair resolution then we will issue that refund on your behalf.

 

Related articles:

Issue Resolution & Refund Policy

How to issue refunds

 

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