Follow These Best Practices for Handling Customer Returns

Processing product returns is a process that companies dislike. It is, however, a crucial part of doing business. No matter how fantastic your store is or how excellent your goods are, there will always be people who won’t be satisfied with what they receive. They send the product back to you as a result.

An excellent returns process is essential for a business. According to a study published in BizReport, a stellar returns process is instrumental to customer satisfaction and retention. Instead of looking at returns as a business chore, see it as an opportunity to impress shoppers and convert them into loyal customers.

Here are ten best practices you can adopt to improve your company’s customer returns handling processes:

  1. Use Technology to Your Advantage

If your business isn’t using reverse logistics technology, now is the time to get one. Look for a platform or software that can easily integrate with your company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. An excellent reverse logistics solution enables customers to return goods more efficiently or obtain a replacement product within a reasonable period. That contributes to better brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

  1. Come up with Clear Customer Return Policies

Return policies shouldn’t be complicated. You don’t want to make rules that are convoluted or hard to understand. When developing your business processes, make your policies as straightforward as possible. Shoppers will be more inclined to make purchases if they know exactly how to return an item from a store.

  1. Simplify the Process

Your customers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to send a product back to your store. That will annoy them and eventually discourage them from doing business with you.

If they want to return an item, make the process painless or trouble-free. Remember that happy customers can translate to loyal customers.

  1. Create a Product Returns Interface for Customers

Develop an accessible online portal that gives shoppers a venue to place return requests, verify the status of their shipment, and even get in touch with your support team. Customers who initiate a return on their purchase want the convenience of knowing the status of their request. That is achievable when your business has an online customer interface.

  1. Keep Customers in the Loop on Their Returns

Customers who haven’t heard anything about their product return will likely call your customer service team for a status update. That can be frustrating for them, as they have to spend time and effort checking with you.

That is the perfect time to be more proactive. Instead of letting customers call your store, you can send them a shipment tracking link or an email detailing the status of the return request.

  1. Provide Free Returns Whenever Possible

Rather than view free item returns as a waste of company, look at it as a sunk cost. By making your returns free, you help boost overall customer satisfaction. You also make returns easier to track, especially when the returned goods come with prepaid shipping labels.

  1. Get Customer Insights from Your Item Returns

Every time you process a return, collect feedback from the customer. Learn why they’re sending the item back to your store. Use the information and insights you obtain to improve your company processes and product offerings.

  1. Develop an Extended Return Policy during the Holiday Season

When Christmas season comes, show some leniency with gift returns. Many shoppers buy presents in November (and even earlier). Since they may be preoccupied with a lot of stuff during the holidays, heading back to your store and performing a product return aren’t priorities for them.

If this is the case, provide customers flexibility and time by coming up with a comprehensive return policy just for the holidays. Rather than follow the standard 14-day or 30-day return period, bump that up to 60 or 90 days. Show customers how considerate you are during the time of giving.

  1. Improve Your Business Processes Using Metrics

Make your returns process more objective by creating metrics. A few of the key performance indicators to look out for are average turnaround times, customer satisfaction (specific to product returns), and the number of returns processed per month. The right company metrics will highlight opportunities for improvement and drive your company to succeed.

  1. Look at Returns as a Sales Opportunity

When customers bring back a product they purchased in your store, don’t get annoyed. Use this opportunity to recommend other products. Begin seeing item returns as a chance to upsell your product offerings.

Remember these ten suggestions to improve your returns handling processes. By implementing these best practices, you’ll get a leg up your competition by delivering a stellar returns experience to your valued shoppers.

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