How sellers manage product returns is crucial to their online store’s success. The reason is simple. Done effectively, it creates happy buyers—and this leads to positive word-of-mouth referrals, increased sales, and improved customer loyalty.
Here are some basic tips that can help your online store:
#1 Offer a customer-friendly return policy
The bottom line is that customers want to be able to return something and get their money back, without a hassle. In fact, that’s why online merchants are increasingly offering simple, free returns.
But returns can have a financial impact on a business over time. For this reason, each seller should look at the market research and compare competitors’ policies to figure out what could work best for their store.
#2 Be clear about how the process works
You can’t effectively manage product returns without first getting a clear picture of how the process will work, as well as your role in successfully managing it.
So it’s important to make a plan. As a result, you’ll be able to work out the easiest and least amount of steps your customers will need to take to return something.
The key here is to ensure that both your return policy and your return process are consistent with your store’s long-term customer service goals.
#3 Define parameters for accepting returns
Certain return policies may be dependent on a marketplace. EBay, for example, offers a money back guarantee on any item that is damaged, faulty, or doesn’t match the listing description. In these cases, sellers are required to offer a refund or a replacement.
Generally speaking, though, you can set up your own guidelines for what you will or will not accept back.
#4 Post return information in a clearly visible spot
Whatever your policies, processes, and parameters, make sure you post them where they’re clearly visible. Ideally, potential buyers should be able to read this important information well before checkout.
#5 Keep your communications positive
A memorable customer experience begins with you, the store owner. Simply put, customers appreciate someone who can remain calm and friendly despite any issues that may arise, especially in regards to product returns.
In short, how you manage product returns is almost as big a piece of the value to customers as the product and sales experience are. That’s why great customer service is not just about making a sale, but nurturing a relationship too.
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