You’ve focused your efforts on making sure your customers get the stellar treatment they deserve while they’re shopping, be that online, in person or via a catalog call center, but there’s an important element of customer service that you may have overlooked: Your return policy can make or break return business and even deter first-timers from ever giving your company a go.
Your return policy is powerful
Even though your return policy may seem like a little thing, customers disagree — especially when they need to make a legitimate return and your company refuses them an audience. From the customer’s perspective, a poor return policy is retail betrayal and it can completely destroy the relationship you’ve managed to build with them.
If you want to spend more time on product fulfillment, as counterintuitive as it may sound, you’ve got to improve your merchandise returns policy. After all, the more confident a shopper is that you’ll make things right if their products arrive and aren’t what they expected, the more likely they are to go ahead and order that one item they’re on the fence about.
A good returns policy is easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for — so check yours for these basic elements before the next frustrated customer starts a one-person wave of destruction on your social media pages:
High visibility. A return policy no one can find is a return policy that is going to get you into big trouble with your customers. It won’t destroy your business to let the cat out of the bag about the very reasonable conditions under which you’ll accept merchandise returns. Return policy visibility also won’t increase your return rate.
Specificity. As with any policies, you need to be specific about returns. If you’ll only accept electronics back for 30 days with a restocking fee, say so right up front. If clothing must have tags intact and be in their original packaging, let people know. There’s nothing so frustrating as trying to decipher vague return policies to figure out if the item you ordered will be replaced or refunded.
Reasonable timing. Some companies push the boundaries on return timing to near infinite, but you don’t have to be one of them to keep your customers happy. You do, however, have to give them a reasonable amount of time to figure out that the item isn’t right for them. That’s why a 48-hour return policy is horrible for business, where a 15- or 30-day policy is much friendlier. Even though those customers may not need all the time, having it gives them confidence that you’re going to stand behind your products.
Your returns policy speaks to your relationship with your customer after the sale is final. Make sure it says good things about your business and buyers won’t hesitate to choose your store over your competitors.