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Dealing with Problem Customers or Suppliers

Put yourself in your customer's shoes, if you didn't feel like you had received value for money would you complain?

We have all purchased something at some point so we know how we like and don't like to be treated as a customer. Being in business means you are the supplier delivering the products and services to the end customer, therefore understanding and delivering customer service and communication is key and clearly defining expectations is critical for all parties.

Getting it right at the begining can make all the difference
In much the same way you are in business to make money so are your suppliers, so why should they give you a credit, take product back, refund money or help if you something has gone wrong at your end or perhaps you are at risk of suffering a consequential loss? In a word its RELATIONSHIP, fortunately legislation also provides a lot of protection through contract and commercial law; however determining where responsibility lays and what the legal responsibilities might be, especially for costs or damages can often be time consuming and difficult. It is at this point that some people determine the cost of perusing the matter outweighs the benefits and others perhaps through inexperience of their options write the whole thing off as ‘just bad luck’.

Whether you are a small business, large business, corporation, the buyer or the seller to get around this problem is about expressing a level of clarity towards intensions and expectations prior to doing business (the sale and purchase). Put simply as the buyer you had intended certain things and had certain expectations as a result of your purchase; however if you are the seller you likely had another entirely different set of intensions and expectations. Each party has certain obligations, the difficulty happens when these things are not disclosed or not captured adequately as part of the sale and purchase process. The resulting miscommunication and how to deal with it is where some of the difficulty lays.

A quick summary of your options when its not working:

Step One:
Refer to the terms and conditions of your contract. What does your contract say? If you don’t have a written contract or you are unsure seek expert advice. Call Vendor Management on 0800 464844

Make sure you have copies of anything that is important or material to the problem or that may help with the resolution.

Step Two:
Most companies have a complaints procedure, so if you have a complaint you should make contact and follow their complaints procedure in the first instance and unless it is a simple problem, you should put your complaint in writing, either in a letter or by email.

Make sure you keep a copy of anything you send, including receipts and invoices, and note when they were sent, who you spoke to and what if anything was verbally agreed.

Step Three:
Most suppliers have a set time limit in which to resolve most complaints as part of their complaints procedure. If your supplier doesn't resolve the problem, or if you are unhappy with its response, if you have not initially done so escalate your complaint to a higher authority within that business, hopefully somebody will care enough to help. If you are still not happy or if you are unsure or for further advice about your options and for getting your issue resolved seek expert advice such as calling Vendor Management on 0800 464844.

Step Four:
Call Vendor Management on FREE CALL NZ 0800 464844 or email us at: help@vendormanagement.co.nz or refer to your local consumer watchdog.

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