Photo Credit: The Buyosphere
In my article So You want to be your Own Boss - 13 Types of Bad Customers, I promised my readers to expand the individual descriptions of a bad customer. In this article we will concentrate on item #3: Customers who attempt to return or get credit for a service or product they did not actually purchase, or as they are called in my business, "return fraudsters."
My son is in the business of repairing broken screens on iPhones, Samsung Smartphones, iPads, iPods, and other electronic devices in a number of malls throughout New Jersey. A common return fraud he encounters is someone claiming that their non-working smartphone is the result of a bad screen repair service done by our company.
First, a little background: there are many companies repairing cracked screens on mobile devices. None of them offer a guarantee that their screen repair will not damage the inner workings or their cellphone. In fact, many of them require that the customer sign a waiver stating that their company is not responsible for any damage resulting from the attempted repair. Much of the reason for this is that all these companies, for reasons of economics, use copy glass made of plastic or inferior products instead of real glass.
Except for our company. We guarantee that the smartphone will work perfectly (for at least 30 days) after we install a new screen on a phone. We use genuine glass screens, and our employee training is many times more rigorous than anyone else in this business, and so we stand 100% behind our work. As a consequence, many of our competitors' customers, when they find that their screen repair was botched and there is nothing they can do about it, attempt to come to us, because of our guarantee, claiming that we screwed up their repair.
Let me give you a real-life example of how we handle such an event. For convenience we will call our return fraudster by the name Wanda.
Wanda: Hi, I had my iPhone5 fixed two weeks ago and my screen is not working right. When I press on certain parts of my screen, the app doesn't come up.
Our Employee: Not a problem, do you have a receipt?
Wanda: I can't find it.
Our Employee: OK - let me find it by serial number. (checks serial number of device) I'm sorry - it doesn't show as being repaired by us.
Wanda: I don't think they took the serial number. (Not true - the serial number is required before a sales receipt can be issued.)
Our Employee: OK - let me have your name. (Customer gives name) I'm sorry, I can't find you in our system.
Wanda: They must have repaired it without putting it into your system. (Not true - a customer cannot pay for the repair without his or her name being entered into the system.)
Our Employee: Let me see the phone. (Examines phone) Here's your problem - this is copy glass - it is an inferior product that our competitors use and since it is not genuine glass, it will not work well at all. Here is the glass we use - tap on it and then tap on yours, see the difference?
Wanda: What, do you think I'm stupid? I work for x (a state bureaucracy) I know you repaired my iPhone and if you don't fix it I'll complain to the mall management.
Our Employee: The mall management already knows that we are the only ones that use genuine replacement parts.
Wanda leaves in a huff, but eventually came back and got her screen fixed by us.
This is an actual and true incident.
Almost all of our competitors are inept. They do not put back all the screws they take out or they damage vital components during the screen repair process. Worst of all, they use inferior copy glass because it is cheaper. For all these reasons they do not guarantee their work. They cannot afford to.
It's easy to find out if my son's company is in your mall (so far 8 in New Jersey): ask the employee if they guarantee that the phone will work afterwards and also if they use genuine glass, not copy glass. If the answer is yes to the guarantee and yes to the real glass, then you are at the right place.
I should mention that it is entirely possible that Wanda honestly believed she had her phone repaired by us. But whether it is intentional or mistaken, the best way to minimize or prevent losses on returns is to have superb and thorough procedures in place, a topic which I will cover in a coming post.