Returns can be a real sticking point for customers, according to a recent report from UPS.
Only 62 percent are happy with their ability to process returns online, and just 61 percent are pleased with the ease of shipping products back to the manufacturer. Even the in-store experience is lacking, only 65 percent of customers are happy with their returns experience in person.
Data from the National Retail Foundation indicates that returns only make up about nine percent of all transactions, but those nine percent can make a huge impact on your customers’ attitude about your company. Instead of leaving your customers dissatisfied with your returns process, give them the best returns options, including:
Free return shipping. By and large when it comes to reverse logistics, customers want free shipping. Whether you include a label with their order or make it easy to print one from your website doesn’t matter much to them, as long as you’re paying for the return package. It should be convenient, though, so make sure that the return shipping options match the needs and location of your customers.
Hassle-free returns. Being grilled about a product return isn’t a great way to make a customer feel valued. Instead of making them beg for permission to return a product, instruct your customer service team to accept the product happily and without delay. The easier your returns, the faster customers will let you know about a problem. Not only does this increase customer happiness, it gets that product back into inventory and gives you a chance to re-sell it before it goes out of style or expires.
Options to return in-store. Many online vendors make it difficult to return items that they don’t carry in their retail stores, much to their own disservice. Even if you don’t carry plus-sized women’s clothing in store, welcome those returns to your retail shop – the easier it is for someone to return a product, the more likely they are to shop with you again. Keep returns easy and people will be willing to take a chance with merchandise they can’t touch or see in person.
Automatic refunds. Refunds are a sticking point when it comes to by-mail returns. Customers are often left waiting unacceptably long for a credit or refund. Instead of holding their money hostage, give it back so they can replace the item they returned. Issuing a refund when your prepaid shipping label is accepted by your shipper is a great time, but 45 percent of customers surveyed by UPS are also happy if you send a refund as soon as you accept their return at your facility.
Too many businesses treat returns like an afterthought, leaving customers in a pinch when they receive a product that’s not anything like the item they expected. Mistakes happen and customers can be incredibly forgiving, but you have to make the returns process simple and painless for them.