5 Ways Your Business Can Protect Consumer Rights

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The topic of consumer rights is often viewed solely through the scope of legal obligations, however, instead of just complying with them, taking the time to understand consumer protection laws and how they benefit consumers can return a competitive advantage.

Protecting consumer rights: the benefits

Rather than a compliance burden, working with consumer rights protections can yield a number of advantages – better brand reputation, greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, and, of course, steer your business away from numerous legal pitfalls.

Fewer consumers are in the dark about their rights these days, with the prominence of forums and online review sites such as Google reviews, Quora, social media groups, and dedicated mediation and support communities like PissedConsumer Club, people have thriving, supportive venues to turn to for advice and guidance on consumer issues.

So why not put your energy into being part of this community, rather than struggling to make things work outside of it?

Here are 5 ways you can collaborate with consumer protection standards and incorporate them into your business strategy:

1. Know the law and how it applies to you

One of the fundamental steps in protecting consumer rights is understanding and complying with relevant consumer protection laws. These laws vary by region but generally, they will cover product safety, fair and honest marketing and advertising, and data privacy.

Knowing your obligations and ensuring you meet them is the foundation of working with consumer law. Thoroughly understand what applies to all, and the specifics of your region and area of business.

Understanding and complying with these rules is crucial to maintaining your reputation and good standing, so don’t be tempted to cut corners, as you cannot be sure that such a misstep won’t come back and bite your behind further down the road.

2. Provide prompt and knowledgeable customer service

As the main point of contact between you and your clients, your customer service team should be prioritized in terms of training and resources.

A well-organized and professional customer service operation is your strongest ally in mitigating consumer rights complications and maintaining an in-depth understanding of the wants, needs, and difficulties faced by your consumer base.

To this end, make sure your CS staff are easy to reach across multiple platforms and are equipped with the knowledge, skills, positive attitude, and leeway that will enable them to quickly and effectively problem solve.

3. Encourage and work with customer feedback

Work with your customers to find the best path forward for both parties. This point applies to both individual cases and overall business strategy. Rather than being at odds, collaborate. Request that your customers share their thoughts and apply what you learn from consumer insights to unify your propositions with their requirements.

4. Remove any cause for confusion

Consumer protections revolve around respect and transparency. So make these tenets fundamental to how you interact with your market.

A common reason for the topic of consumer rights to be brought up is miscommunication. When expectations about a product do not match what’s delivered, or company policies are unclear, this lack of clarity can often lead to customers feeling manipulated, cheated, or taken advantage of.

Mitigate this by ensuring that your terms and conditions – particularly those policies that are likely to be a point of contention, such as guarantees, refunds, returns, etc., are clearly stated and leave no room for ambiguity or subjective interpretation. Apply this also to product information and any and all changes or updates you make to your service or product.

5. Create a consumer-oriented company culture

Creating a culture of consumer advocacy within the organization ensures that consumer rights are always prioritized. This culture should be reflected in every aspect of the business, from product development to customer service.

Incorporating education on the importance of the customer’s perspective and consumer rights at all levels of staff training makes it a core value that permeates the entire organization and stimulates continuous improvement.

This may sound like overkill, but when consideration of the consumer perspective becomes second nature, many of the issues related to consumer protections will no longer emerge unexpectedly from the darkness and catch you by surprise.

Look after your customers, and they will look after you

Make upholding consumer rights not just a legal necessity, but a strategic choice. Develop a culture of consumer advocacy through transparency, putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and target market, encouraging feedback and interaction, and supporting your customers through misunderstandings and difficulties.

By protecting your customers you simultaneously protect your own interests. Build up trust in your company to cultivate stronger customer relationships, and you’ll see more consumer loyalty, reputational rewards, and financial growth.

Michael Podolsky
Co-founder and CEO of PissedConsumer.com, a review and reputation management platform. Having 20 years of experience on Wall Street, I’ve become an independent entrepreneur and am now actively involved in entrepreneurship, technology development, search optimization, leadership, customer service, and consumer advocacy.

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