The threat of counterfeit products can impact every industry
and product you can imagine – from the software you use on your computer, to
the shampoo you use to wash your hair. These products are not only illegal, but
in the case of software, they can contain viruses and dangerous codes, and in
the case of shampoo, toxic ingredients that can cause nasty side effects.
These are just two examples from the threat of
counterfeiting, it is up to you to be proactive in knowing how to protect your
consumers from the dangers associated with using products that are not the real
This is not just an exercise in protecting your brand and
your reputation, this is a necessary requirement to ensure the safety of your
Make sure you know how to spot counterfeit products
Whilst this may sound slightly obvious, knowing how to spot
counterfeit products and ensuring that your staff do it as well is the first
step that you need to master. Many counterfeit products are easy to identify –
glaringly erroneous branding, sub quality packaging, prices that are too good
to be true – but there are some that do a pretty good job of imitation.
Both you and your staff need to be educated on the correct way
to address customers that bring questions, or instances of possible
counterfeiting to your attention. You need to be able to extract the relevant
information, without causing worry or upset to the consumer.
Whether it is electronic goods, clothing, jewelry, or
something intangible like software or applications, make sure you are always up
to date with what counterfeiters are offering so that you can stay one step
ahead at all times.
Educate and reassure your consumer
When a consumer comes to you with a suspicion that a product
may be counterfeit, it is important to firstly reassure them before extracting
the information that you need. This is also a good opportunity for you to
increase the bond between you and your customer, and to reinforce your brand
You should be sure to make them aware of your authorised
sales channels and your pricing policies, provide them with a list of
authorised distributors, and make information such as customer service contacts
and any regional product variances readily available to them.
You can also consider offering anti-counterfeiting packaging
and markings and making your customer base well aware of them. Another method
worth considering is publishing information and photographs of counterfeit
products, or providing a checklist that will help the consumer ascertain if a
product is genuine or not.
Reassuring your customers and providing them with all of the
the information they need, as well as reiterating that your customer service
department is always on hand to advise them will help to increase not only
brand loyalty, but their brand confidence as well.
Take control of any irregularities
Once a consumer has advised you of a potentially counterfeit
product, it is your duty to take control of the situation. At this point, the
customer should stop interacting with the source of the suspected product and
it is your duty to handle it appropriately. After all, they are not an
investigator, so asking or advising them to contact the seller could end up
with the situation escalating and the client losing faith in you, and the
Make sure that you have the processes in place to firstly
thank the customer for notifying you, and then to handle the situation swiftly,
legally, and appropriately. Once the product has been identified and confirmed
as counterfeit, it could be worth notifying your clients of this so as to
ensure that they are aware and do not inadvertently purchase from that source.
The war on counterfeit products is an ongoing struggle and
one that is likely to always be fought in one way or another. To staying on top
of things, you must to ensure that you take as many steps as possible to
protect yourself, and your customer.
Knowing the threats that you face, being able to handle
customers that approach you with instances of counterfeit goods, and having the
correct process in place to manage the situation are the keys to your success.