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How You Prevent Disputes: Customer Service Best Practices

Happy customers are less likely to dispute payments.

Customer service overcomes many issues, why not disputes? Stay focused on basic customer service principles and procedures. Go out of your way to know your customers and be available to them when they have questions or concerns. Before filing a dispute, customers may call to request a refund or exchange. They may even offer feedback that you can use to improve something. Answer phones promptly, and train your staff to resolve customer issues. Same goes for email and social media. If you promote your business there, you should be responsive there. Consider setting up auto-responses with the expected timeframe for responses.

In addition to being responsive, make your contact information easy to find. Prominently display your email address and phone number on every page of your website, receipts, signage, advertisements and at the register.

Communicate with customers after their purchase.

  • Clearly state expected timeframes for order processing, if applicable. Send order summaries and confirmations within one business day of the original order, if service or product isn’t available immediately.
  • Keep customers informed of any delays.
  • Your fulfillment and shipping policies should be as easily accessible. Give buyers the option of canceling an order.
  • Use shipping methods that provide tracking numbers.
  • Informed customers feel more in control, making them less likely to call the bank to dispute a charge.

Reinforce to customers the value of your product or service, even after the sale.

Buyer’s remorse, or rethinking a purchase after the fact, is a common driver of disputes. It never hurts to remind customers why they wanted the product or service in the first place. Use testimonials as ongoing marketing or awareness tools via social media, your website or email. These are also good reminders of the value you provide.

Watch out for suspicious purchase transactions or requests.

Here are some red flags that may reveal suspicious activity:

  • Rushed or random orders
  • Shipping addresses that differ from the billing address
  • Customers who seem reluctant to give personal information
  • Anything that seems out of the ordinary.

These do not confirm there is fraud being attempted. But it’s worthwhile to take a closer look at the transaction before it’s processed. Also, take advantage of free fraud-fighting tools offered by the card networks (chip cards, security codes) to validate whether the buyer is authorized by the cardholder to make the purchase.

Last and most important, if a customer isn’t happy, proactively offer refunds. In some cases, this is your easiest and least expensive solution.