Every company wants its customers to be completely satisfied with their purchase and keep coming back to the company for more purchases. So it is important for the companies to write a return policy, which not only helps customers but also help the interests of the company in the long run.
However, it is difficult to satisfy every customer and a few of the customers might face issues with the company’s products. And any company would not want its customers to be unhappy in any way.
Why increased return orders are not good for any firm?
Any existing firm on the planet would not want its return rate to increase at any cost, as more returns affect the profitability of the firm, thus increasing inefficiency.
Returns need logistic handling, customer support, and an increase in warehouse and distribution charges. Moreover, a lot of manpower needs to be involved in it. Just take a minute and ponder about all the work involved in making returns happen.
An employee has to receive, inspect, and validate each of the merchandise. Another employee will have to issue credit to the customer, and other person will have to repackage and restock the merchandise.
So it is important not to let customers return in the first place (Obviously by providing best in class products and services).
Here are some best return policies that companies can bank upon to provide better service to its customers:
Designing and explaining the return policy over the official website
The first and the most important step in designing the return policy should be explaining the return policy to the customer in a manner so that he/she understands the return policies in one go.
If a customer understands the return policy even before ordering an item, he/she will not return the items until and unless he/she faces some grave issue with the product. This will reduce logistics and support nightmare for the company.
Also, organizations can rephrase your return policy by inducing more “You” words; this will help in making the connection with the customer, making the customer think that the company is thinking about him and wants to engage in a friendlier manner.
Here is a small example to rephrasing your paragraphs into you words
“You should raise a request within 30 days from the date of the purchase with the company. Moreover, you should ship back all the returns within 7 days of receiving your return label”.
Making the return policy convenient
The second best practice to follow is to make your return policy convenient for your customers. Here are the points that a company can follow:
- Firstly, ensure that you do not lead your customers to too many steps to return your product. Your customers should be able to make a return within a few steps.
- Do not charge a restocking fee from your customers, as this will lead your customers to think twice before buying anything from you. You should know that your consumer is returning your product because it did not meet their standards, so the company must make returns easy for the customer without charging him/her.
- Allow your customers to return the products in the way or method they want to return the product with. Additionally, the companies which have multichannel sales should allow the customers to return products bought online to retail stores and vice-versa.
- Also, companies should allow consumers with multiple ways to return the products, by allowing consumers to return the products on their own.
By eliminating the risk and hassles of returns, the company will be able to build more rapport and goodwill with the customers.
When the customers will see your efforts seamless and hassle-free experience, they will come more often to you to buy more products in the future.
Increasing return flexibility
Flexibility refers to ensuring that you are allowing your customers with more time and different methods to return. Organizations should give their customers at least 30 to 60 days’ time period to try the product.
However, it is not possible to provide extended time for different products, and companies make exceptions at their end for different products.
Companies should encourage customers to exchange merchandise instead of returning the product (eg: Wayfair). Exchanging the product not only helps the company by decreasing its restocking fee but also gives more options to customers and he/she is retained.
One more solution to increase the flexibility can be extended holiday return policy (eg: Microsoft). For instance, many companies instead of operating standard 14 or 30 days return policy, allows customers to return the products in 1 or 1.5 months.
Building upon customer reviews
Every company wants to do better every day and serve its customers in a better way and there is nothing better than collecting customer reviews and studying them to understand what went wrong and what needs to be corrected going forward.
So organizations should ensure that every time a customer is returning any of their products, they need to gather their feedback – question customers why they are returning. What went wrong with the product and what can be improved?
Sometimes customers also find better alternatives to the product your organization is selling to them. If the customers have found a better alternative than your product, collect the information about the product and try to bring your product at par your competitor’s product.
The insights that customer reviews provide are valuable, you need to use those insights and reviews to alter the things at your end.
Maybe your customers are too conscious about cost or they are much conscious if they can return their purchase or not? Or maybe it’s just a matter of brand, and you need to include more brands at your end (if you are a retailer).
Free Return Shipping and Exchanges
Who in this world doesn’t want free returns and exchanges?
Everyone wants free shipping and exchanges. However, free return and shipping cost a company lot much but it also leads to more positive feedbacks, better customer retention, and favorable reviews.
Deciding to charge your customers for return and exchange may deter them not to shop from your store in the future. Moreover, if you are providing free returns and exchanges to your customers advertise it, so that customers are more attracted to buying your products more often.
The company can also be flexible sometimes by allowing a period in which if a customer returns a product, he/she will not be charged. However, he/she will be charged for the return fee. If he/she returns after the stipulated time period.
These were some of the policies that a particular firm can adopt to handle returns more efficiently and effectively. However, these are not sufficient and companies can also follow the below policies to get the return handling in more effective manner.
Moreover, there can also vary depending on the nature of your business and the products you are selling in the market, but every policy should cover the following basics:
- What kind of merchandise can be returned
- What kind of products can be exchanged
- Assign the products which are final sale and non-exchangeable
- Assign clearly what kind of products come under exchanges and can be exchanged after the expiry of standard return policy days
- What should be the condition of items while returning (tags intact)
- What items can be returned for (store credit, refund, a product of equal value, etc.)
- How to return procedure should be explained clearly
Turn Returns into Exchanges
The company should always focus on converting the returns into exchanges, by assuring the customer of better service and products.
The customer should be able to understand that the earlier product just was not good and it won’t be the case with other products of the company.
Moreover, exchanges do not affect profitability, while returns directly put a hole in the pocket of organization and the company also suffers the loss of customer.
With an exchange, the company only incurs restocking and extra warehouse charges.
The companies can also eliminate returns by stating that the company will only cover shipping and handling charges if the customer will exchange the product for another one, instead of returning the product altogether.
Communication is important for any business around the globe; it not only helps in customer retention but also increases the brand value of the company going forward.
The companies should keep the customers informed of what is going with their return order (tracking and shipping information). This will increase customer satisfaction and will decrease the workload on customer support, as the customers will not call every time asking for updates.
Customers will also prefer the company next time they buy anything, due to their hassle-free shopping and return experience.
Return policies are an important part of a company’s policy for its customers and no company would want its policy to be a painless experience for its customers.
We have tried our best to provide the best of insights about how to write a return policy?
However, if you face any query in future about how to write a return policy, please feel free to ask below – we would love to answer 🙂