In e-commerce, it is tempting to take whichever customers come your way. Especially when you’re starting out, all you want is to make sales. Even later on, when you have grown your targets, you want to do everything it takes to meet them month after month. This can lead you to make the mistake of not vetting your customers, or ignoring red flags based on their ratings.
The problem is that bad customers can do serious damage to your business. They can be a danger to you and your staff, and can compromise your relationships with partners and other vendors.
Click through to find a good service provider for a general background check. Do your research on who they are before fulfilling big orders or sending someone out to deliver to them in person. If you’re going by their Amazon history, it is slightly easier to get an idea of whether you can trust them, but some extra homework doesn’t hurt.
Here is why it’s so important to vet your customers.
Fraud is all-too-common
It is way too easy for customers to commit fraud to be nonchalant about it. They don’t even have to commit a sophisticated kind of fraud. Just stealing someone’s credit card details is enough to cause trouble. It’s not your job to worry about the original owner of the credit card. But once they find out about the fraud and get their money back, you’ll be left without the product or the payment.
Fraudsters generally don’t use real names or identifying details. In some ways, this makes them easier to spot. Someone with a generic-sounding name that has little to no history available online or through a background check is almost certainly trying to commit fraud or theft.
Keep your staff safe
It is also crucial that you keep your staff safe. Especially when your staff have to meet the buyer in person to complete the purchase or deliver the items. If someone plans to steal from them they could do serious damage in the process. You never want to put someone in that situation.
Background checks can show if the person has a violent crime on their record. If there is little to be found about the buyer, that also means that you can’t track them down if they do anything untoward. The situation is volatile and could lead to damage your business won’t recover from.
Partners who execute the deliveries will also expect their staff’s safety to be ensured. Do your due diligence to avoid anything going wrong. Even if it is not a serious incident, it could discourage a partner from doing business with you again.
Other sellers can warn you
When other sellers have had bad experiences with a customer, don’t feel obligated to do business with that person. Sometimes the seller is just trying to fight back against a bad review. But often they’re warning you that they really have had trouble with this buyer.
It doesn’t have to be that they ever felt in danger of violence or fraud. However, some customers will always have unreasonable demands.
The customer is always right – when you’re interacting with them. But outside of those interactions, it is important to recognise that some customers try to take advantage of that approach. A troublesome customer can cause you issues that dog you for months.
Bad reviews can be very harmful
Some customers expect far too much and will give bad reviews with little hesitation. Certain reviews even other customers will be able to laugh at and shake their heads. But the worst kinds of customers exaggerate about how bad their experience was, wielding their ability to harm your business as a weapon. They might even make unreasonable demands by explicitly telling you you’ll get a bad review if you don’t meet them.
As a seller, you are generally able to discern which bad reviews are fair and in which cases the buyer was being unreasonable. If a person has a track record of writing these terrible reviews, be very careful in how you deal with them.
Bad reviews are especially harmful when you’re just starting out and don’t have many (or any) other reviews.
A one-star rating can easily put many other buyers off contacting you at all.
Spend time on customers with potential
If you provide a product or service that is required on a regular basis, it is better to spend time providing customers who show potential to come back, even if they are a bit troublesome. Spending hours trying to placate a bad customer who is only going to buy from you once anyway, can be futile to say the least.
E-commerce is not easy, especially since you don’t get to choose your customers. But by vetting them, you can ensure they don’t do your business serious harm.
Arishekar N has over five years web development experience and is the senior digital marketing strategies at SellerApp, Specialist in SEO, SEM and best conversion rate optimisation strategies that deliver industry leading ROI. Arishekar has helped companies through more effective search engine marketing and SEO strategies. He is most passionate about working with e-commerce companies.