Product issues, such as bugs, reinforce that the risk department is truly intertwined with all other aspects of a business. Risk mitigation is often a marginalized department. However, to build a strong strategy, your risk team needs to be connected and communicating openly with all other teams.

The risk team needs to know when new releases are pushed and what the release could affect. They need to know when and why customers have reached out complaining. The risk team can teach the customer team to respond in such a way that reduces the likelihood of a chargeback. By integrating your risk team with all other business operations, you create a feedback loop that can allow for a more holistic understanding of and greater ability to serve your customer base.

It is inevitable that product changes will cause issues, which will lead to chargebacks. The goal is to isolate these quickly so that they can be resolved.

Find the issue causing chargebacks

Isolating the product problem can be the hard part. Here are a couple methods:

  • Analyze normal user purchasing flow during chargeback responses. You need to be familiar enough with the regular purchase flow so that you can isolate variances from the norm. If you see small variances across multiple chargebacks, you might be seeing a product issue. At this stage, you should step back and look for bigger picture data, then train the chargeback team to look for these.
  • Review customer communication. If a product issue occurs that drives people to submit chargebacks, it is highly likely that you will also see emails from these customers complaining. Be sure that your customer support team knows how to flag potential issues to both the product and fraud team as well.

The goal is to create a chargeback response team that mitigates loss. Finding product issues before they become a large bottom line loss is critical. 

Summarize the current impact from chargeback loss

  • Since these chargebacks will need to be accepted, you can prepare a short financial analysis to show the total estimated loss based on current figures.

The goal here is to understand the bigger picture – is this a product issue that matters? If it’s only causing two chargebacks, it might be better to pause on this until it becomes a more frequency problem.

Isolate the scope of the product issue

  • How many customers could this impact?
  • At what rate can this escalate? What would the loss be?
  • How does this impact the overall user experience?
  • Did this issue interrupt continued use of your service or product?

The goal is to gather data that will allow your product team to prioritize the bug appropriately. 

Inform the responsible departments about your findings

Put together a report explaining the bug, the current impact, and what you estimate the ongoing impact to be. You must provide clear data and reasoning as to why this matters.

  • Notify the product team. Be sure to include financial estimates.
  • Notify the customer team. Customer support can proactively resolve customer problems related to the issue to prevent chargebacks.
  • Record the issue in a chargeback analysis historical tracker. You want to note the external factors affecting your chargeback rate (i.e. non-fraud reasons). This allows you accurately look back at historical chargeback rates and understand your process.

The goal here is to share the right data with the right people an effective and efficient manner.

Circle back and train teams how to handle the issue

So you know an issue has happened and you’ve flagged it to the right people. As the last step, what you have to do is mitigate future risk. Train both your chargeback team on how to:

  1. Train your chargeback team on how to properly inform you as they find chargebacks due to this issue. Update the product team periodically with updated financials.
  2. Train your customer team on how to 1) handle customers who already experience the issue but haven’t filed chargeback; 2) proactively reach out to people who might experience it.
  • Can your customer team communicate expectations around the bug that prevent a chargeback?
  • Can the orders be refunded before a chargeback is filed?
  • Do you have a public article, like an FAQ, explaining the issue and how customers can handle instead of submitting a chargeback?

The goal here is risk management – reduce loss where possible and create a good customer experience.

In short – find the issue, estimate the loss, share the related data with all appropriate teams. Then train fraud and customer teams on how to handle the situation until a fix goes out. With effective handling and open communication across teams, you can prevent further loss and create a better user experience.