Blog – Reputation Matters

Crab Insight November 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 02, COMFORT

Welcome to the November edition of Crab Insight

We are well into the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness so beloved of John Keats. In business, we are contemplating the coming winter but we would like you to invite you to have comfort in the knowledge of what your customer’s cancellation rights are when buying a product or service – that’s our focus for the month along with returns and complaints!

Claudia Crab’s November Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

Cancellations, returns and complaints.

Don’t get caught out. Put in place clear policies and procedures so you are not sidetracked or have to firefight things on the back foot.Robert Briggs – Compliance Director Crimson Crab

Cancellation

It is important to differentiate between cancelling a contract and terminating a contract. Cancellation refers to ending a contract in circumstances set out in the contract or implied into the contract by legislation.

You need to know when a purchaser has cancellation rights and provide the necessary information and the correct documentation at the right time, particularly when the purchaser is a consumer as they have clear rights and there are legal sanctions if you get it wrong.

There are three sets of circumstances where the parties to a contract have cancellation rights.

  • Contractual cancellation rights i.e. those given in the wording of the contract (terms and conditions or agreement) itself.
  • Those given by the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 when making sales to a consumer (an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession) away from trade premises (e.g. in the consumers home or at a trade fair) or remotely (e.g. online)
  • Where credit is being provided and the customer is an individual consumer, a sole trader or a partnership of three or fewer people.

Returns

If you are selling on line to consumers then you need to think about returns.

Your guarantee or returns policy should meet legal requirements and not be open to abuse.

Under the Consumer Rights Act, consumers can return items which are faulty (and in certain other circumstances).

If the return is for this reason then you will have to reimburse the shipping costs (in and out) as well as the purchase price.

On the other hand, if the consumer is exercising their right to cancel the contract if you haven’t told them that they need to pay return postage it will be down to you.

Complaints

Your policy, procedures and processes for dealing with complaints should support your long-term business goals and provide for continuous business improvement.

Again you need to think about compliance with any rules specific to your industry or more widely.

Finally you need to consider alternative dispute resolution or ADR and how that will impact your complaints process.

Top tip – A great starting point to find out where you are, is our Business MOT

 

F2 Business Huddle Online

The next FREE

F2 Business Huddle online

is on

Friday 13 November 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It’s going to be the biggest ever

F2 Business Huddle

so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo

New Reputation Advocates

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Clarity and courage coaching for confidence


Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Avoid the HR blame game

HR management is critical for every business and helps companies succeed in hiring the right employees for a job, keeping team members engaged, and supporting their growth and development.

So why do so many companies fail with effective HR management?

Your workers are your greatest asset. It’s important that you take care of them in order for them to take care of your business. If you don’t, it’s probable that unwanted headaches may arise.

Looking after your team may come naturally to you as a business owner or manager, but having the appropriate policies and procedures in place ensures clarity and fairness.

Without the correct policies and procedures, you can make your business susceptible to various HR issues.

An example of such a problem that Crimson Crab has had to deal with related to the apparent lack of understanding of a leave policy. Something both employees and employers must be on the same page with.

The director received a text from an employee outside of the business working hours, with a request for leave.

The employee had already booked their holiday while expecting the response from the director to be an approval.

The request was for a significant break at a busy time of year. There was an unwritten rule that all such leave should be brought up first to avoid putting pressure on other team members to provide cover.

Quite rightly, the director acknowledged the request for leave, saying they would think about it.

A little while later, the request for leave was declined, and you can imagine the discomfort and uproar this caused between the employee and their boss… not to mention the workforce too.

Some time later the employee left the company. This triggered a formal complaint via an Employment Tribunal.

Eventually, the former employee withdrew their case and didn’t lead to a ruling. However it had consumed much time, energy and money which may have been used more profitably elsewhere

A lesson was certainly learnt. And what might that lesson be?

It’s important to have a robust policy which is clear to all staff and most importantly is consistently adhered to, and applied without fear or favour in a timely way.

If it was crystal clear how leave requests and there approval worked within this particular business – which forms an important element to any company’s HR management– none of this would have taken place.

It’s essential that everyone understands the HR policies and follows the processes in place.

For more information on how to keep your HR policies up-to-date with Crimson Crab, and to avoid the horrible consequences of issues which may arise, get in touch with a member of our team today.

Crab Insight October 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 01, Reassurance

Welcome to the October edition of Crab Insight

Our word of the month for October is Value. As we focus on HR management throughout this month, we believe having a team who know and feel appreciated can have a huge positive impact in many areas of your company. So make sure you show your staff that you value their work.

Claudia Crab’s October Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon
“If you are taken to a Tribunal and don’t have policies in place to cover such things as grievances and disciplinary matters – it’s too late and all you can do is damage limitation.” Robert Briggs – Compliance Director Crimson Crab

Make sure you deal with your greatest asset, the people who work for you, through appropriate Human Resources policies and procedures. Our sister organisation HR Wise provides a suite of documents which create a framework to facilitate good management including:

  • an employment contract (statement of particulars)
  • a staff handbook with a full set of procedures
  • access to an email support line

 

Top tip – Visit the HR Wise website for more information

 

F2 Business Huddle Online

The next FREE

F2 Business Huddle online

is on

Friday 13 November 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

Get your ticket on Eventbrite

Reputation Advocates

 

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo

Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.

Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

How to protect the reputation of your business when outsourcing

There are many benefits to outsourcing work, from increased efficiency to cost advantages, it seems a no-brainer to take advantage of another’s skillset when the time is right for your business.

But, if you fail to do the due diligence when outsourcing and something goes wrong, it may cripple your business.

As a responsible businessperson, if you fail to conduct the reasonable steps to avoid a tort or offence within your company and they do arise, you’re at fault.

That’s why we’ve listed some considerations to support you with ensuring you carry out the due diligence and protect the reputation of your business when outsourcing.

  1. Do both sides of the agreement hold the same expectations?

Mismatched expectations can create countless obstacles in business. One way to avoid this from happening is to ensure everything is written down on paper, then agreed and understood by everyone involved with the outsourced work.

  1. Have a contract agreed.

Similar to the expectations have a contract which states what work will be carried out, completed by when and by who, as well as a clear price too. A contract has the power to be a simple reference for a solution to any conflict.

  1. What’s the reputation of the business you are outsourcing work to?

Seems obvious, right? But companies do fail to do their research regarding the reputation of someone who is completing work for them.

If the service someone provides isn’t recommended, why would you use them to support your company? You wouldn’t.

  1. Do they know their health and safety?

If an outsourced service poses a health and safety risk to your workforce and you don’t mitigate it, then if an accident takes place the responsibility falls on your shoulders.

  1. Is the company you’re outsourcing to savvy with data protection?

GDPR – you’ve heard it before and will continue to hear all about it into the future. Why? Because peoples’ personal data matters.

If you’re outsourcing work to someone required to deal with data within your business (making them the processor), for example, the personal details of your clients, then you as the controller are responsible for how the outsourced work is handled. You also need a written contract covering data processing.

  1. Are those claiming to be an expert actually an expert?

If you’re looking to outsource an element of your business, such as HR, then is the person claiming to have the ability to complete the work actually competent in it?

For further details on how to avoid having a negative impact on your business for when you outsource work, get in touch with Crimson Crab.

Crab Insight September 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 12, Reassurance

Welcome to the September edition of Crab Insight

Our focus this month is on outsourcing. The business practice of engaging an external party to perform services or create goods that traditionally were done in-house by the company’s own employees. 

For example, a business may take the decision to outsource bookkeeping duties or the functions of human resource departments, such as payroll or recruitment, or health and safety activities as doing so may be more cost-effective than retaining an in-house specialist for each area or for a business owner trying to become an expert in each.

When used properly, outsourcing is an effective strategy to reduce expenses, and can even provide a business with a competitive advantage over rivals.

Whatever your outsourcing strategy you need to make sure that the company carrying out the work you require will not present additional risks to your business.

Claudia Crab’s September Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

To make sure you do everything possible not to get let down by someone else, do your diligence before selecting an outsourcing partner.

Robert Briggs – Compliance Director Crimson Crab

Outsourcing can be used to reduce labour costs, together with the cost of overheads, equipment, and technology.

Skill and knowledge gaps can be filled using third party experts.

Outsourcing may also be used to focus on the core aspects of the business, trusting the less critical operations to outside organisations.

On the downside, communication with the outside provider can be hard, and security threats can escalate when multiple parties access sensitive and personal data.

 

Top tip – A great starting point to find out where you are, is our Business MOT

 

F2 Business Huddle Online

The next FREE

F2 Business Huddle online

is on

Friday 9 October 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It’s going to be the biggest ever

F2 Business Huddle

so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo
Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Three don’ts to protect your customer relationships

The relationships any organisation has with its customers is important if it is to succeed. Also, the retention of clients is a pretty big deal.  

But, at times, we understand our working lives can be testing and offering excellent customer service may be a challenge.

However, within any context, business owners and their teams must strive to deliver a strong service to its clients if it wishes to achieve a positive reputation… while protecting it too!

That’s why our top three don’ts are to support you with protecting the relationships you have with your customers.

  1. When things go wrong, don’t ignore them!

Most businesses treat their consumers well. How do we know this? Because, if they didn’t, there would be no business.

But what happens when things do go wrong? Firstly, it’s important you don’t bury your head in the sand if something, such as a complaint, takes place. Be prepared for any negative response from your clients; have a clear complaints process and be genuinely ready to help people when they’re not happy.

  1. Breathe! Don’t respond on the hoof…

Your focus must always be on protecting the relationships you have with your customers.

To have someone walk away after using your service or product with a negative opinion can be detrimental to how other people perceive your offering.

We’re only human, so it’s understandable if you’re upset as a result of some negative feedback.

Nonetheless, take a moment to consider how you are going to approach your response, as well as how what you say will have the ability to preserve an existing relationship.

  1. Understand the law behind consumer complaints, and don’t neglect it!

There is law around dispute resolution, complaints and mediation, so it’s important you understand what is appropriate/what isn’t if you’re to address the negative experience of a consumer correctly.

Let’s use a complaint from a customer as an example. Businesses have to comply with rules and regulations when dealing with an issue.

These rules don’t necessarily change from one industry to the next, but some sectors do offer an alternative dispute resolution.

Fancy some bedtime reading? The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is a good place to start.

The Act consolidates consumer protection law and legislation while also providing consumers with their rights and remedies, so it’s an essential read for any business that deals with consumers.

For further details on how to protect your consumer relationships, and the best tips on what to do if something does go wrong, get in touch with Crimson Crab today.

 

Crab Insight August 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 11, Protect

Welcome to the August edition of Crab Insight

The positive relationships any business has with its clients will help it thrive and survive – but there are things you must do to protect the bond between you and your customers… That’s why PROTECT is our word of the month! Don’t forget Crimson Crab is always on your side, ready to help you rise to the challenge. Stay safe.

Claudia Crab’s August Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“If you deal with consumers respect their rights and comply with the standards of trading.”

If you deal with retail sales and have consumers as your customer there are a plethora of rules and regulations that apply, including:

  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • The Consumer Protection from Unfair Commercial Practices Regulations 2008 – control unfair practices and create criminal offences for traders that breach the regulations.
  • The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
  • The Provision of Services Regulations 2009

The law covers:

What you sell:

  • Goods
  • Digital content
  • Services

Where you sell it:

  • On-premises sales
  • Off-premises sales
  • Sales made at a distance

How you sell it:

  • Consumer contracts
  • Good practice
  • Pricing and payment

Other key areas to consider:

  • Underage sales
  • Food & Drink
  • Product Safety
  • Animals & Agricultural Products
  • Weights & Measures

Whatever you do you need to respect consumers rights and comply with certain minimum standards of trading.

To fail to do this can lead to serious consequences including being prosecuted by a regulator such as Trading Standards or Environmental Health.

Top tip – A great starting point to find out where you are, is our Business MOT


F2 Business Huddle Online

The next FREE

F2 Business Huddle online

is on

Friday 14 August 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It’s going to be the biggest ever

F2 Business Huddle

– so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo
Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Is my company’s website legal?

Building a website is easy, right? With the click of a few buttons and some vibrant graphics, you’re ready to go. Yes, perhaps, but is it compliant?

Even though your website is your organisation’s shop window, it’s important for it to look good and entice your target audience, it’s also crucial for it to be legally compliant.

But – what does that mean and how can you ensure it is compliant? 

All websites must conform to the Data Protection Act (and GDPR Regulations).

“If a business can’t show that good data protection is a cornerstone of their practices, they’re leaving themselves open to a fine or other enforcement action that could damage bank balance or business reputation.”

“Three-quarters of us don’t trust businesses to do the right thing with our emails, phone numbers, preferences and bank details. I find that shocking.”

Elizabeth Denham UK Information Commissioner

Your website is a powerful tool to grow your business – but can also be detrimental to the business if it isn’t compliant.

That’s why our tips are some of the top things to consider when it comes to your company’s website.

Always have a valid reason: Personal information from individuals and organisations can be useful for many reasons – but do you have a valid reason to use it for your intentions? Be clear about WHY you’re collating peoples’ details – and what it’ll be used for. Always give them the opportunity to give you permission in the correct way if you need to.

Security is key: If your website isn’t secure, you’re leaving yourself and your visitors susceptible to hackers and cyber-attacks. Don’t be responsible for this!

Is your privacy information in check? One of the most important documents on your website – above any information about what you sell – should be your privacy notice. Many businesses use a privacy policy, whatever you call it, it must contain specific information about your use and processing of personal data and if it’s not there you are not covered. Feel free to get in touch for more details.

Crab Insight July 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 10, Profile

Welcome to the July edition of Crab Insight

What has been your biggest learning in recent weeks, and how will this change the way you present yourself to people?

Our word of the month for July is PROFILE, it’s all about how you will present yourself so as to stand out from the crowd in a digital-focused world?

Crimson Crab is on your side and ready to help you meet the challenges ahead.

Stay safe.

Claudia Crab’s July Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“A website is a shop window to the world – it is also a great way to showcase breaches of the law”

If you have a website you need to make sure that you comply with the law in the following areas:

Disclosure

You should identify yourself correctly and give an address at which you can be contacted, there are specific requirements for a registered business, (e.g. Ltd, PLC, LLP).

Copyright

It’s imperative that you protect your copyright effectively and make sure that you do not breach other peoples copyright. It makes sense to also have a document setting out the terms of use of the website.

Disability Discrimination

Businesses have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to help disabled individuals access their goods, facilities and services. The Equalities Act 2010 requires that websites are accessible to disabled people including Blind people. One way of meeting this responsibility is for website owners to comply with the WCAG 2.0 standard at Level AA the UK Governments recommended best practice for accessibility. 

Data Protection

You need to make sure that you comply with the Data Protection laws (including the GDPR) for all contact forms and any personal data collection. You also need to make sure that you have an appropriate Cookies policy detailing the cookies used and their purpose (and for example use a pop-up or other means to obtain ‘consent’).

Provision of Services

If you provide any services on or offline you have to make sure you comply with the Provision of Service Regulations. They require service providers to make available contact details where information requests and complaints can be sent, together with other specified information.  One way of complying is to include the required information on a web page and proactively provide the link to clients when discussing your services.

E-commerce

When using a website for e-commerce purposes then you still need to comply with the law that relates to a bricks and mortar outlet along with some special rules for an online business.

So there must be for example no unfair commercial practices and suitable control of sales of age-sensitive products (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, knives, solvents, videos & games). If any products are sold to which safety legislation applies, for example, toys, bicycles, electrical goods the rules have to be followed, as they do when food of any type is sold. 

The Consumer Contracts Regulations require that you provide certain information when selling online, and also require you to tell the customer about their right to cancel the purchase within 14 days (not 7 any more). Failure in this respect can mean that the customer can enjoy a much longer cancellation period (up to 12 months)!

You also have to be careful to comply with the requirements of Card Providers and you cannot make additional charges for using such payment methods.

There are also rules around the way that complaints are dealt with and the provision of access to Alternative Dispute Resolution and the European Commissions Online Dispute Resolution Platform.

Top tip – We can check out your website


F2 Business Huddle Online

The next online F2 Business Huddle is FREE

It’s on Friday 10 July 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It is going to be the biggest F2 Business Huddle ever – so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo

Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Data Protection Essential Questions

Data protection essentials, 23 questions do you know all the answers?

  1. Do you understand what data flows through your business and have recorded:
    • what personal data you hold;
    • where it came from;
    • who you share it with; and
    • what you do with it?

  1. Have you recorded at least one of the six legal reasons for processing the data?
    • If you use consent
      • it is good consent;
      • you record how it has been given; and
      • you record and manage ongoing consent.
    • If you are relying on legitimate interests
      • you have done the three-part test; and
      • you can demonstrate that you have fully considered and protected individual’s rights and interests.

  1. Are you are currently registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office?

  1. Do you provide privacy information to individuals, e.g. clients, customers, employees and suppliers?

  1. Can you deal with a Subject Access Request i.e. requests from people to access their personal data within one month?

  1. Do you make sure that the personal data you hold remains accurate and up to date?

  1. Do you securely dispose of personal data that is no longer required or where an individual has asked you to erase it?

  1. Do you know what to do when someone asks you to restrict the processing of their personal data?

  1. Can someone move, copy or transfer their personal data from your system to another safely?

  1. Can you deal with an individual’s objection to the processing of their personal data?

  1. Do you know if you carry out automated decision making and if so, do you have procedures in place to deal with the requirements?

  1. Do you have a data protection policy, and demonstrate your compliance with it?

  1. Do you regularly review the effectiveness of your data handling and security controls?

  1. Do you provide data protection awareness training for all staff?

  1. If you engage third parties to process your businesses personal data on your behalf (e.g. email marketing companies, database providers, cloud-based service providers), do you have a written contract with them which meets the legal requirements and carry out suitable and sufficient diligence?

  1. Do you know the information risks you have and their business impact so that you can manage them in a structured way?

  1. Have you have implemented technical measures and policy to integrate data protection into your data processing?

  1. Do you understand when you must conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment?

  1. Have you nominated a data protection lead, or a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if required or preferred (note this role can be outsourced)?
    • If you have a DPO have you notified the ICO?

  1. Do you champion a positive culture of data protection compliance in your business?

  1. Do you have an information security policy supported by suitable security measures?

  1. Do you record all personal data breaches no matter how trivial?
    • Can you manage and resolve them?
    • Do you know which must be reported to the ICO?
    • Do you know which must be reported to the data subject?

  1. Do you know what must be done if any personal data processed by others on your behalf is transferred outside the European Economic Area?

If you don’t know an answer you had better find out fast!