KPop Fantasy Shop Review: 8 Small Business Lessons From a Badly Run Small Business
My family and I are big supporters of local stores and local online stores. We are even big supporters of businesses owned by young people. It’s our way of contributing to their growth because we believe that young people should be given a chance. That’s why we shop a lot online and we specifically look for stores that are owned by young people.
We recently did that with KPop Fantasy shop, a Facebook-based online store that sells Korean stuff. They also have a blogspot page(http://kpopfantasyshop.blogspot.com) As you may have guessed by now, I am a big Korean entertainment fan.
The Good Beginning
We found a binder we liked and the store said it will be shipped overnight because the item is “on hand”. That means they have the item with them physically. We made the payment December 20 and waited for my item. We didn’t get it after 3 days. We ordered it December 29 and were were understanding of the fact that it was the holidays. They are probably swamped with orders.
We decided to wait a bit more. After all, this is a small business.
When it turned bad
After Christmas, we were beginning to feel restless. So I texted the administrator of the site. We were told, were already eligible for a refund. We asked for our money back. This was January already. However, the administrator we originally transacted with left. So, we decided to send a message to another admin.
The admin’s reply is below.
She was one of the administrators of your site. That means it is now your responsibility [since she resigned] to fulfill what she promised. I need to see the receipt if it was really shipped December 20.
KPop Fantasy Shop Admin Aura:
No. She resigned. It was her who promised that. Now that she’s not a part of the shop already, maybe you could already fix that without us.
We honestly would have settled for an apology but we got that SMS. We decided to file a complaint on their site but my messages were getting deleted. Worse, our order still hasn’t arrived. we decided to post a review on our experience on a facebook page that airs out bad experiences from online shops. We were careful not to mention any other name. As far as we were concerned, we were complaining about the shop and the response that one administrator sent to us.
We finally got their attention.
Unfortunately, another administrator answered using her personal Facebook page. She responded and sent a photo of the shipping receipt.
Notice the date. We paid December 20 for an item that was supposed to be shipped overnight. The shipping receipt indicated it was shipped January 16, almost a full month after we paid.
When it got worse
Apparently, the item reached an old address. Since they weren’t honest on when they shipped the item, they shipped it to the old place where we were staying. Who knows where it is now and who got it.
We don’t have my item and we don’t have the refund. They still have our money. Now, this administrator insists that we are cyber bullying her. Since when did posting reviews of shopping experience become bullying?
Besides, we were sending personal messages to her. It was her who decided to make our "private message" public.
Shouldn’t we be the one complaining? After all, they lied about when they shipped the item, didn’t apologize, were arrogant and wrong in their replies and still have our money while we still don’t have our item.
Lessons Startup Online Shops Should Learn
For those who are planning to put up their own site, here are something to pick up from our experience.
1. Before you put up a shop, learn about proper trade practices
Just because you see a lot of online shops claiming they don’t have the responsibility over the things they ship after they ship it, doesn’t mean it is right. It is your responsibility to make sure you have a legitimate partnership with a shipping company. Make sure items are insured.
2. Returns, Exchanges and Refund
Customers should get what they are promised. When they don’t, they should be given their money back. End of story. That means you need to put aside some money for screw ups.
4. Customer Happiness First
A business is about the customer, not about your own convenience. Do whatever it takes to make your customer happy. Sure, you will encounter some customers who may be abusive but there are more who will give credit where credit is due. Just look at Zappos.
They even allow 365 days for returns. Don't say it's because they are a big company. They were small once but it's the value they put in customer experience that made them grow.
5. Nothing is Worth Your Dignity and Reputation
That item we ordered from Kpop Fantasy Shop is less than $3. Imagine the damage in their reputation just because of $3.
If it is a choice between losing money and damaging your reputation, give back the customer's money and apologize especially if you are in the wrong.
When you are starting a business, the first thing you need to build up is your reputation and the most important thing you should sustain as you go through your business. You will be able to establish a good reputation two ways:
A) Quality Products
When you are selling something, make sure you are giving the customer's money's worth if not more than its worth. There are some stores who sell dirt cheap products with dirt cheap quality but, at least, they are honest about what the customer will get. As a result, expectations are neutralized.
B) Quality Customer Service
When a customer asks a question, answer. Be polite and be humble. Remember that one irate customer beats a hundred that are happy. Make sure you are just as kind to the window shoppers as you are to the high rollers.
6. Honesty Remains to be the Best Policy
The worst thing Kpop Fantasy Shop did in the whole situation was when they lied about shipping the item. The claimed they shipped the item when they only did it recently. When your word cannot be trusted by your customers, you don't become worth much.
If you make a mistake, admit it. If the item you are selling is damages, say it and show it. If you cannot deliver what the customer is demanding, say it. It is better to lose one customer than lose your reputation.
7. Get the Right Employees
The owner of KPop Fantasy shop hired an employee who didn't know anything about customer rights and customers service. That one disrespectful text from that Admin spelled the difference. Remember that each of your employee, whenever they act in their capacity as an employee of your business represents what your business stands for.
If one employee is disrespectful, that is a reflection of the values of the company.
In other words, cover your @$$. Make sure you read up on the consumer rights, business laws and have the right processes. When sensitive situations arise, you would know how to react the right away instead of reacting in an emotional way.
We are still big supporters of online stores and young entrepreneurs. We just hope that an incident like this will teach others a lesson on how they should treat their customers and how to run their business.
No problem is too small especially when you are running a small business. It is when you learn how to deal with the small things will you be able to achieve the big things.