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  Consumer Welfare Desks (CWDs)
 

Consumer Welfare Desks (CWD's)
In Business Establishments
Cebu Province

DTI's program on the setting-up of Consumer Welfare Desks (CWDs) is gradually gaining the support of the business community because of the tremendous benefits these desks give not only to consumers but to business establishments as well.

The Department encourages more business firms to develop comprehensive complaints-handling programs and hopes that business
will eventually realize the benefits they gain in setting up CWDs.

  
  

This page will provide procedures for resolving consumer complaints thru CWDs or any in-house complaints-handling programs you already have. An in-house complaints program like CWD can operate quickly and inexpensively. This will definitely redound to the benefit of the firms because this is a surefire formula for building consumer patronage.

Effective Selling Technique

Looking for new and effective selling techniques or come-ons to attract and keep satisfied customers? One proven strong selling point is making prospective customers aware that your firm has set up a Consumer Welfare Desk that is responsive to the needs of the buying public.

Keeping Consumers Satisfied and Loyal
Reputable firms attest to the fact that consumers who complained about their problem and received satisfactory results exhibited the highest degree of continued patronage. Hence, these firms even welcome complaints.

Complaints as Built-In Warning Signs

Consumer complaints serve as early warning signs that your business may be violating some fair trade laws and provide you an excellent opportunity to correct the problem as soon as it crops up.


Source of Valuable Information

In lieu of market surveys which are costly, information gathered thru your CWDs can help you evaluate the quality of your products as well as the kind of service and public relations of your personnel.


Business-Government Relations Enhanced

You will find that a well-managed CWD will improve and enhance your relationship with government agencies that have jurisdiction over business. In fact, your efficient handling of consumer complaints is a big load off the shoulders of government agencies.


Checklist of Procedures

The following is the checklist of procedures to remember in setting up the CWDs:

Consistency
  • Set up uniform procedures for receiving, recording and resolving complaints. It is advisable to put your company's policy in writing.
  • Give specific guidelines to employees assigned to man the CWD and spell out how much discretion they can exercise for specific cases.
  • The CWD ensures that consumers are not referred from one person to another. In other words, the buck should stop at the CWD.
  • Provide standardized complaints form to ensure that all necessary information are elicited from the complainant, whether complaints are by mail, telephone or walk-in.
  • If necessary, conduct training seminars to improve staff skills in handling complaints. Encourage them to handle complaints courteously and fairly.
  • Monitor the procedure to find out how effectively your system works.

Accessibility

  • Announce to the public the availability of the CWD in your store.
  • Place the CWD in a conspicuous place.
  • Make the procedure simple, clear, and convenient. Assure the customer that complaints are accepted during business hours, whether complaints are filed personally or by phone.
  • If supervisors are needed to handle complaints outside the CWD's jurisdiction, make sure these supervisors are available at all times.
  • Make sure that the consumer's first impression of your store's complaints-handling procedure is positive, not negative.

Objectivity

  • Give the consumer an opportunity to present her side. Many small problems can be prevented from developing into big headaches for your store if an expert, knowledgeable person is assigned to man the CWD.

Promptness

  • Try to resolve complaints as fast as possible. The longer it takes you to resolve a complaint, the more time you lose precious business hours and the more likely frustrated consumers will go to other stores in the future. Consumers will appreciate your quick response even if all you do is acknowledge and receive the complaint.
  • When an immediate written response to a complaint is necessary, use telegram.

Monitoring/Recording/Follow-up

  • Data and information gathered from CWD records can be extremely helpful to the business in a number of ways. A systematic analysis of complaints can help you identify specific problems regarding your products, suppliers or employees and help you avoid the same problem in the future.
  • Follow up and record-keeping can identify bottlenecks and show consumers that their feedbacks are important.

    Remember!  A satisfied consumer is your best advertisement.

   
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