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Problems for businesses
We have identified common issues that hamper business success, after reviewing enquiries and complaints that we receive about businesses in Victoria.
We list some of these problems below and provide practical steps to help you deal with them.
Disputes with suppliers and other businesses
If products you sell are recalled, contact the manufacturer for information on how to return them and seek a remedy that you can pass on to your affected customers.
It is also good practice to tell your customers about the recall and explain how they can seek a remedy.
In certain circumstances, we may be able to help with disputes between businesses. For more information, view our Small business page.
Inadequate staff training
Your staff represent your business brand and value to customers. To reduce customer misunderstandings and complaints, ensure that:
- new staff are trained in existing processes
- all staff are informed of any changes. Many businesses use an intranet or newsletter for this purpose.
Having an ongoing training program reaffirms your business' objectives and builds strong staff morale. It means you can be confident that your employees are well informed and experienced in all aspects of the business.
Knowledgeable staff are an asset and help promote positive word-of-mouth referrals between customers.
Ongoing staff training is essential to ensure that:
- your business complies with changing laws
- your staff clearly understand and are able to tell customers about your business' policies, procedures and terms and conditions
- new employees represent your business appropriately from the start
- any shortcomings in staff knowledge are identified and addressed
- business improvements are identified, implemented and applied.
Poor quality assurance and compliance monitoring
Having quality assurance processes can avoid problems when staff take leave, or leave the business. It also allows your business to identify and resolve problems before your business reputation is affected. You can help identify areas for improvement by having:
- standard operating procedures
- checks at various stages of your business processes, to identify issues that require your attention and may need to be covered in training
- continuous assessments of your business' processes to ensure these remain relevant and sustainable
- methods of measuring customer satisfaction, such as monitoring social media and conducting customer surveys.
Monitoring your business' compliance will ensure it meets its legal obligations. Implementing processes to do this will help you avoid attention from regulators and promote your business' reputation.
Handling Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) claims
If a customer is taking you or your business to VCAT, consider contacting the consumer to settle the dispute before the hearing. The consumer can withdraw their application if they are satisfied with your response.
Consumer Affairs Victoria cannot intervene to resolve a dispute after a VCAT application is lodged.
- Regularly update and review your business' contracts, website, or any other published materials to ensure compliance with the law
- When there are different stages to the supply and production of a product or service, complete control checks before moving to the next stage.
These tools can help your business reduce complaints and run more smoothly:
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