Returns are as much a part of retail as price tags. There is no avoiding them, so your best bet is to be prepared. Returns may be easier for a brick-and-mortar than an online enterprise. Either way, ensure that your staff and company are set for returns by following these helpful tips:
- Create a clear policy. Avoid fine print. Customers should know what to expect when approaching a return. If your policy is clear and easy to understand, both employees and customers will be prepared from the start. Your policy must be right for your business and your target market.
- Identify shipping costs. Accepting a return can be more complex than just adding an item back to your inventory—especially if you cover shipping. If your business cannot afford the additional postage, perhaps an “exchange only” policy is the way to go.
- Keep it quick. No shopper or employee wants to wade through unnecessary paperwork or interrogations about the reason for returning a product. A fast and efficient return policy keeps everyone happy.
- Practice excellent customer service. Sometimes returns come with ill feelings from a customer. If a product was not what he thought, he could be upset with the outcome. However, practicing excellent customer service lets your business correct an issue while keeping a satisfied consumer. Offer alternatives, courtesy, and apologize for any mishaps with the product.
- Let all your staff handle a return. Customers are typically more frustrated than not with the hassle of returning an item. Nothing is worse than running into a store to “quickly” return something, only to learn that very few employees can handle returns. A fast errand suddenly becomes a huge ordeal, making the return process even more of an inconvenience. By training all employees, this problem can be avoided.