How can business in Singapore be prepared for the Lemon Law?BY JACKY TAN
Lemon law will come into effect on Sep 2012; it can definitely help to boost consumer confidence and as well as the retail experience in Singapore. With the implementation of the lemon law, consumers are protected against "lemons" or defective products where the retailers will have to replace, exchange or give refunds to consumers should there be any defective items.
The question is, are business in Singapore prepared for the Lemon Law? If so, how can they prepared for it since the law will kick start in less than half a year's time?
Look at Profit Margins
Business with low profit margin may be affected largely from the lemon law. Companies which have been slashing prices and giving away bulk discounts on their products and services in order to attract customers and challenge their competitors, should 'revisit' their pricing policy.
One factor businesses have to factor into their prices, is whether the profit margin be able to cover the after sales costs such as maintenance costs, replacement of brand new products and the time taken to rectify the issue should the products deemed to be defective.
If the products by nature does not have a wide profit margin for the business owner to play, he or she may need to diversify by getting a new product line with a bigger profit margin potential so as to 'balance' the company overall profits.
This diversification of product lines might help to 'save' the business owner. Should one of the products line has too many defective cases, the business owner can have the liberty to 'abandon' the particular product without affecting the running of the business.
Quality over Quantity
Business owners should be more focused on providing products and services of good quality for their consumers instead; manufacturers should be more stringent in their quality control during production. Rather than mass production of quantities to meet consumer demand, the lemon law will encourage more business owners to bring in more quality products to the consumer market.
By providing more products and services of good quality, the probability of having a 'lemon' will be much lower than a product which is massively produced without any stringent quality control. As a result, consumers, whether they are local or tourists, will be more confident of made in Singapore products or any products that are imported into and sell in Singapore; and hence, our economy will grow exponentially as a result.
Strong Branding Presence
Having a strong branding presence gives you a better market positioning than your competitors; on top of that, consumers feel more confident buying your company products and services. Lemon law, indirectly has prompted business owners and marketing managers to take charge of the business, plan and take actions on transforming the business into a brand.
Small business owners must not think that the purpose of their business is just to make profits to pay the rent and such; they should look way beyond that. Small business owners should start doing things to make their businesses a brand from where they are now. You can start by building it around your niche. Having a good brand, gives you good corporate image and of course confidence in your consumers.
Train Your Support Team
Train your support team well. Business owners should set up a customer support services department or maintenance team to standby any rectification of products should a 'lemon' occurs. This group of employees should be well trained on the Lemon Law, practises great customer stewardship as well as able to manage customers' complaints effectively and cordially.
By training your customer support services department well in advance from the implementation of the Lemon Law, your business will therefore be well prepared and can carry on smoothly without hiccups even when there's an occurence of 'lemons' along the way.
Stengthening Customer Relationship
Business owners should bear this in mind, that "an unhappy customer experience is worse than a lemon." Build up the Business to Customers relationship deeper. Tap on the pool of your existing clients if your business is already in the market for a certain period of years. Show them your appreciation by sending them a Thank You note.
As for most retailers, be polite to your walk in propspects and give them the best customer shopping experience, it doesn't matter whether they buy or don't buy your products in the end. What most matters, is whether your business has leave behind a feeling of positiveness to your customers, so that people will feel great about your brand. Even when lemon law takes place, by having a very large proportion of prospects and customers who feels good about your business and your customer service, the chances of them complaining about your brand should a "lemon" occurs is very much minimal.
Do Your Paperwork Properly
Prepare in advance all your company's paperwork and documents especially those related to your customers such as the buying contract, the receipt and order form. This is to protect your company's from any unneccessary lemon issues that is not genuine and yet having a negative cricticism on your business and your branding.
Some examples of that maybe your competitors who poses to be your difficult customers, or the minority of people who 'abuses' the lemon law. Although such cases of not genuine lemon cases are little to none, but it is important for your company to prepare for it; so that you will not waste time and money pacifiying non-genuine customers, and at the same time, focus your time on resolving genuine lemons should they occured.
In a nutshell, business owners in Singapore should welcomed the lemon law in September and be ready for it. For it will boost their business and branding greatly if they are well prepared for it; moreover, it will make Singapore a great safe haven for shopping and wonderful customer experience.
Jacky Tan, Senior Marketing PR Manager (Asia Pacific), Evorich Flooring Group