Customer returns can be a huge burden on businesses, especially around peak shopping seasons.
More and more consumers are expecting frictionless returns with businesses, while businesses are looking to save time, money and their reputation by making the returns process simple.
What’s more, having a poor returns policy or returns management process could pose a serious risk to your business’ reputation. Thankfully, here are some top tips to improve how your business handles customer returns, so you can cut down on admin and keep your customers happy.
Make Your Returns Policy Simple, Easy and Visible
Improving how you deal with customer returns starts with customers being able to easily understand your policy.
You should display your returns policy clearly on your website and send customers the return policy once they make a purchase. If in person, this could accompany a receipt, or if it’s an online purchase, this could be easily attached or linked to in the order confirmation email.
The policy should be simple to understand and written in basic English to minimise the risk of customers misunderstanding the policy. Ideally it should also be short, with disclaimers, caveats, nuances and exemptions kept to a minimum.
In short, a simple returns policy, visible to the customer and written in a clear way that is easy to understand is the first step to reducing returns in the first place and disputes resulting from any returns.
Make Return Instructions Clear and Charges Low
Your business should make the instructions for returning a product equally simple to understand. Whether they will need to post the item to your business in the packaging it came in, or arrange a collection with your business – it should be easy for the customer to know what to do, and what’s more, not burden the customer with awkward or time consuming instructions.
Aside from making instructions clear, you should also make sure your return charges to the customer are low or better yet free of charge. Hefty admin charges will put customers off from making a return, which may reduce the returns you receive but likely damage your reputation for being a difficult business that is far from customer focused.
By offering cheap parcel delivery and allowing customers to send back items through free returns, it may make the cost of handling returns higher initially, but the additional business from a protected reputation, positive word of mouth, or even future purchases from that same customer are more than worth the initial cost.
Take Advantage of User Reviews
By collecting user reviews of specific products, including the advantages and disadvantages and displaying them on product pages on your website, you can make future customers more informed about the qualities of each product before they buy.
This can help your customers make the right buying decision from the start, rather than making the wrong decision and costing your business time and hassle processing an avoidable return.
This extends to making sure your product information is detailed on your website so your customers can make an informed purchase.
Don’t Be Strict
Another quick route to bad reviews and feedback is to quarrel with customers over whether a return is legitimate. Of course there will be times where an item cannot be returned, but being overly strict or cold with customers can cost your business more than just resolving the issue right away.
Keep Customers Up To Date
When a customer has returned an item, it’s important you keep them up to date with when their return has been received, processed and issued. Ideally this should be as automated as possible to minimise admin.
Customers being in the dark can complicate the process and cause unnecessary admin as your business deals with customer emails asking for updates.
Make the process clear and simple for your customers.
Ask Customers for Feedback
A simple tip but one that yield the best improvements in how you handle customer returns – ask for feedback!
Once you’ve processed a customer return and issued a refund, send an email asking for short feedback on the experience. While you will want those 5 star reviews, negative feedback can be hugely beneficial. Whether that’s improving speed, communication or transparency – feedback can hold the key to making the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
About the Author
WPS – Worldwide Parcel Delivery is a global courier company providing worldwide delivery and cheap shipping across the UK and internationally. We currently work with DHL and Interlink to provide worldwide shipping to over 110 different countries, reliably, fast and with quality in mind.