Below are 5 techniques you can use to improve customer retention and loyalty through returns management.
Provide box free return drop-offs
We mentioned earlier that most shoppers find returns to be the biggest headache of buying products on the internet. Imagine what a huge benefit it would be if you could make this problem go away by allowing them to remove the wait and hassle of returning via mail. Many businesses give shoppers various delivery options during check out, such as paying extra for expedited shipping. The same concept can apply to returns. Shoppers can get more options and control over the return process.
Make your customers happy by giving them to buy online and return to store by providing in-person, box-free return drop drop-off to a third party. No customer wants to deal with the tedious work of making labels and lining up in long queues at the post office to return products via mail. Instead, they can begin this process online and get a QR code and specific directions to thousands of drop-off locations countrywide.
Amazon is well-aware of the benefit of eliminating this tedious process from the customer’s shopping journey and offers numerous box-free drop-off options, from the UPS Store to Whole Food’s and even Kohl’s. Amazon is training shoppers to expect this type of service for all their returns, making it crucial for online businesses to offer this sort of service.
Make return drop-offs contactless
The Covid-19 pandemic not only changed how businesses operate, it also changed how people view shopping as well. While many shoppers still long for an in-person shopping experience, they’re also looking to do it in a safe and convenient manner. As innovations such as digital wallets become popular payment options to facilitate contact-less transactions, similar measures can be implemented when it comes to processing returns.
For businesses that provide in-person returns, consider using QR codes to facilitate a contact-less experience. Consumers can begin their return online, where they can get a code matching to their unwanted product. This way, when they arrive to make the return, they can present the code on their phone for a third-party representative to scan and extract the necessary data. You can take things a step further by offering a place for customers to bag their products themselves, assisting to prevent your return partners from unnecessary contact as well.
Offer immediate returns
Ask a customer service representative the most common question they get, and they’ll probably tell you something on the lines of, “Where’s my refund?” When returns aren’t processed speedily, customer service agents get a high number of calls from angry customers who may not want to buy again after a poor shopping experience.
If your returns’ protocol allows for refunds to be started immediately a product is dropped off, consumers are no long waiting for extended periods of time. This can help to relieve customers from having to repeatedly check their credit card statement, as well as reduce the burden on your CX team.
Make exchanges easy
While returns are inevitable, you can maintain more sales by converting returns into exchanges. The secret is to make the exchange as effortless as possible to do, in a bid to increase the probability that your customers will not simply ask for their cash back. Ideally, a shopper should be able to complete an online exchange in just a few clicks of a button. If fact, with the right system in place, you could even allow a customer to exchange for another size with minimal effort.
For instance, if your customer is returning a pair of sneakers online and picks “Too Small” as the reason for the return, your system should immediately recommend the next large size in stock as an exchange option. This way, not only do you get to keep the sale, but your customers get what they really need without any extra effort.
Market your return policy to eliminate customer uncertainty
Have you invested a lot of time and effort to build an effective return policy that your customers love? That’s amazing! Now stop trying to make it difficult for customers to know about it. Pretending that returns don’t exist does not make them magically go away. It just makes frustrates customers who want to make a return.
It may be tempting to keep your return policy under wraps, but promoting your return policy doesn’t necessary mean that you will get more return request. On the contrary, customers will feel more confidence about buying from you as they feel comfortable knowing that their interest are protected in case things don’t work out. And since potential customers consider whether you have a working return policy before they make a purchase, making it easy to find is an excellent way to improve customer retention.