There are no two ways about it. Handling return procedures takes an emotional and physical toll on both businesses and customers. We expect no less than delivering excellent service and products at all times, but even the most prominent businesses’ operations aren’t immaculate.
This is why companies must prioritize improving their returns process. To do this, they can reach out to reverse logistics service providers and set up an excellent returns management system through cloud-based applications. They can also use the return request as an opportunity to optimize the process and build a relationship. Here’s how:
Polish your return policies
A valid return process starts with a set of well-written return policies. Make sure they’re direct, explicit, easy to understand, and have minimal loopholes and exceptions that can confuse your customers. The opposite also works; if you do not have a return policy on certain items, you have to give a due explanation. They should also be liberal as a consequence of the wrongful or unsatisfactory delivery.
You have to ensure that the guidelines for returning goods are transparent in the whole buying process. You can add a link to your return policies in the checkout section of the process. To mitigate the need for returns, you can improve the purchase process by adding a “review order” section.
Initiate the process
If you do find yourself attending to a return request, make sure you’re the one initiating the process. You can do this with the help of an efficient post-sale customer management team that aggregates customer feedback. Minimize buffers and make that conversation as smooth as possible by tracking the purchase yourself. This way, you don’t have to ask multiple questions about what’s wrong with the product, when they bought the product, and so on.
Provide a pre-paid, pre-addressed postage label to expedite further the process of returning the product. Today, however, customers might abuse return slips added into the original packaging. Thus, it might be better done through a digital slip or a QR code. This way, you can still address the return problem and gather valuable insights.
Ensure constant communication
Once the process starts, you have to ensure continuous contact with the customer. Build a robust customer service team whose task is to update customers about the return progress regularly. It also helps if every part of the buyer’s journey is integrated. Marketing, sales, and logistics should be aware of the problem as well. This way, they can improve their campaigns and operations for the future.
In cases of unexpected delays in the return process that are beyond your control, you can use the time to talk up the customer. Furthermore, inquire about the customer’s experience with your product or brand and solicit suggestions as to how you can better minimize returns.
Automate where possible
It helps to speed up the return process if your reverse logistics are automated. Procedures like credit reimbursement, return management authorization, and inventory management can be fulfilled much faster through automation. You can also aggregate feedback and pertinent purchase data such as purchasing trends, most cited reasons for return, or frequency of cart abandonment, through a cloud-enabled application. Speed up the return process wherever you can to avoid profit losses, or worse, scathing reviews from dissatisfied customers.
A good return experience has a better chance of retaining customers than a successful purchase. This is because it builds better relationships and shows business integrity, something that’s more important to new and repeat customers than any great product or service.