6 tips for a good Returns Management
When it comes to shopping online, logistics have a bigger impact on whether or not a customer hits the buy button than you might think. In fact, offering free shipping has been shown to increase orders by 30% on average. But, did you know that making it easy for your customers to return products is just as beneficial for your business?
If not, then take a look at these 6 handy tips for responding to customers who may not be 100% satisfied with their purchases. You'll be sure to save your team some time (and maybe a bit of money, too!):
6 tips for a good Returns Management
1. Be proactive!
With nearly 30% of online purchases being returned, online businesses should be used to getting products sent back to them. You don't want any wayward packages in your office, or unnecessary human intervention in the process: you want a well-oiled reverse logistics machine. So, knowing how you will deal with incoming packages will let you respond to your customers efficiently and effectively, preventing any trouble before it happens.
Know the answers to the following questions before you have to scramble to find them later: how do I get a return slip and transport label to the customer? Where should I have them send their goods if: i) they need them repaired? ii) they want to return them? Etc.
2. Be flexible!
Customers want a return to be as hassle-free as a delivery, and that means giving them options: they want online and in-store returns; they want information online and via telephone; they want to be able to download a return slip on their phone and on their PC (and then receive tracking alerts via email and SMS). Without exception, they always want it to be easy to use and easy to understand
However many options you end up giving them, always be simple and transparent: this is what your customers will value above all – even more so than speed!
3. Think of FAQs before your customer asks them!
Believe it or not, customers don't want to return their purchases immediately – they actually want to enjoy their products! So, how much easier would it be if they could solve any issue with their product just by visiting your website? A well-written FAQ can reduce the number of low-priority questions your customer support team receives by up to 70%!
There's nothing disrespectful about sending them to an FAQ first, either. In fact, according to a Forrester study on the matter, 72% of consumers prefer to resolve problems with their products themselves.
4. Choose your partners wisely!
Logistics is an artform requiring cooperation. If a customer wants to return a product (or have it repaired) you should be able to send the right package to the right partner. So, you should know who your partners are and what they do best.
Ask yourself: which partner deals with which repairs for which products? Where will you store returned products? Are there different facilites for packages coming from different countries? How will you restore a used product to sale-worthy condition? And, how do you make do with parts left over after a product's shelf-life has ended?
Any business should optimise its return process: it will do wonders to reduce losses, minimise costs, improve turnaround times and satisfy both customers and partners.
Revers.io is a fully-integrated solution that connects everyone involved in the after-sales process to make it as fluid and painless as possible. Customers can return their products online, vendors can manage their reverse logistics with 360º product tracking, and partners even have access to customer dossiers, which allows them to send customers automatic alerts to keep them up to date with the return/repair process.
5. Listen to your customers!
Though it may not seem like it, a customer complaint is actually blessing in disguise – here's why:
- If a customer wants to return their product, you have a golden opportunity to win their loyalty and have them wax lyrical about your product & after-sales service to other potential customers.
- A complaint can also highlight a problem on your end, which can lead to improvement and optimisation of your processes.
6. Offer free returns!
Nowadays, 80% of customers can return their unwanted products for free.
That said, it's not cheap to offer a service like this. You have to cover the transport costs yourself, and you will miss out on sales. If you can't justify a catch-all free returns policy to your accounts department, at least make an effort to offer free returns for a limited time, and/or on certain products.
This will allow you to more efficiently manage products that experience a greater than normal volume of returns, all while offering your customers a 'premium' service. You can also opt for other less costly alternatives, such as offering full refunds within 5 days, or a well-detailed brochure that clears up the returns process.
Whatever you do, we hope that these tips have persuaded you that it pays to manage your returns effectively! And, last but not least, remember that 95% of customers who return a product buy from the same place again – if they feel that the seller has made the process simple for them!
Written by Marie Chaudy
Marketing Manager at Revers.io, e-commerce and reverse logistics specialist