There’s no way around returns. The product your customer purchased may not fit, may not be exactly what they wanted, or may arrive damaged. No matter the reason for the return, it is important you use the best return practices you can to retain that customer in the future.
Retaining customers is much more inexpensive than gaining new ones, so even if you have to take a loss it is important you try to retain each customer’s business. If your return policy causes your customers grief not only will you lose their business, you will lose business due to their negative feedback.
A hassle-free return policy is an easy way for your business to keep customers happy and loyal. While return fraud is a real concern and absorbing shipping costs can be expensive, these are things you can work around in your return policy.
Instead of thinking of returns as a loss of time and money, think of them as an opportunity for excellent customer service that will bring your customers back again and again.
Have A Clear, Easy To Understand Return Policy
Your customers are already dissatisfied with your product, so don’t irritate them with a policy that is difficult to find or understand. Keep the language of your return policy simple and easy to skim.
For example, take a look at the ShippingSupply.com Return Policy.
We have a single landing page that clearly explains our return policy, including an “Important Notes” section that states requirements for returns. Our language is free of legal jargon so it is easy for our customers to understand just by scanning.
Include Return Information In The Packaging
Making it more difficult for customers to return products they are unhappy with is shortsighted. When finding return information is challenging, customers become annoyed and more likely to avoid your business in the future.
Including a simple note with your packaging makes it easy for customers to find the information they need. Your customers will appreciate not needing to search the website for your return information. Don’t worry; including the information in the packaging will not make customers more likely to return it.
Don’t Begrudge Customers For Returns
It may be true that the customer is the one who broke your product or didn’t read the description closely enough, but if you resist taking the return it will hurt you in the long run.
Not only will it infuriate your customers, it will waste a great deal of time and you may lose that customer forever. If the experience is bad enough, that customer may leave negative feedback that other customers will see, or tell their loved ones about their negative experience losing you more customers. Returns are a part of any business, so make sure to provide excellent customer service to try and retain the customer. In fact, providing customers with an excellent return experience can gain a lot of customer loyalty.
Ask Customers For Feedback
Ask customers why they are making the return. While this idea seems very straightforward, you can use this feedback to make big changes so you have fewer returns in the future.
By tracking feedback patterns you will get a better idea of why a return was made. If a lot of products are returned due to damage, for example, you may not be packaging your products correctly. If customers state the product doesn’t meet the description, it may be time to update your product copy and photographs. Returns are an excellent opportunity for you to make improvements to your business.
Keep Customers Updated
There’s nothing more infuriating than waiting for your money to be returned to you, or for a replacement product to arrive. Luckily it is easy enough to update customers about the state of their returns via email or phone.
Inform customers when you receive the returned item(s) and how long it will take for the replacement item to arrive or for the money to show in their account. Your customers will be glad they don’t need to keep calling your business for this information.
Cover Return Shipping, If You Can
Depending on the size of your business you may not be able to afford to cover return shipping, but customers will appreciate it if you can.
Customers may be irritated at being forced to pay return shipping costs. As a compromise, you may consider covering return shipping for specific situations, such as a damaged product.
What return practices are you using for your business? What has worked and what hasn’t?