If you have an online store, by obligation you have had to include an e-commerce return policy. As much of a hassle as it is to deal with returns and refunds, not having a return policy nowadays simply won’t fly with customers.
But having a poor return policy can also scare potential customers. It sends a message of insecurity, saying that you don’t guarantee the quality of your product or service. As a result, you might have low conversion rates and wonder why your visitors are filling their carts but not checking out.
With so much competition, customer service is the one area where your business can truly stand out. And having a well-defined return policy is definitely part of the equation.
Having an e-commerce return policy can reduce the time and money you spend on returns, minimize the number of returns, and most importantly, keep your customers coming back.
With this in mind, here are a few tips to ensure a foolproof commerce return policy:
1. Prevent returns
First things first, to avoid having to put your e-commerce return policy to work, avoid returns to begin with. This means that customers are satisfied with their product and receive what the expected.
You can avoid returns by being accurate with your product pictures and descriptions. Be detailed about the product size and material. Customers should be able to zoom in on the product picture to see the details. If there are defects, mention it. It’s better to prevent than to cure!
2. No such thing as FINAL sale
This is a compromise many clients are not willing to make. They cannot touch and feel the product and depend solely on pictures and descriptions. What if it’s not what they thought it was when they receive it?
Making sales final is like saying there is no going back. It’s pretty scary if you ask me.
Instead, offer a 30-60 day or even one-year guarantee (depending on the product) in case there is a defect or they aren’t satisfied. Doing so reassures customers that in case anything goes wrong, they have some kind of insurance and peace of mind.
3. Speak the common tongue
Your commerce return policy isn’t the time to use all those confusing AP English vocabulary words you’ll fall upon once in a lifetime. It’s not the time to try to fool and confuse customers that try to return an item, only to find out they no longer can, or that specific item is not returnable.
Make your commerce return policy easy to understand by anyone who reads it. This means that you should write your policy as if you were explaining it to a 5th grader. Seriously. That’s the average American’s reading level anyways.
4. Be straightforward
Clear and concise is the way to go when writing a return policy. No “ifs and, or buts”. No hidden costs.
If your organization cannot in any way, shape or form, cover return shipping costs, then say so.
Also, be sure to detail things such as:
- The procedure for a return or exchange
- Timeframe to receive a return
- Packaging to be used
Make it easy and straight-forward.
5. Inform your staff
Staff should be aware of your commerce return policy in order to best attend customers. Having an effective CRM, like Zendesk, can help them see a certain customer’s journey and interactions and assist them for an easy refund process.
6. Do right
No one is perfect, not even your company. At some point or another, you will make a mistake. When the time comes, know the power of admitting your wrong, saying sorry, and proposing a solution.
There is nothing worse than a customer receiving a broken or wrong item and having an agent justify the situation.
Customers couldn’t care less about they why and how. They just want a solution to their problem. Even if it means sending a new item free of charge, or refunding the purchase, a negative customer review can be much more costly.
No matter what the official policy is, if it’s the error of your organization, do what it take to make it better.
Putting these few tips in place will ensure your e-commerce return policy doesn’t scare potential sales away and actually close sales.
Take a look at your industry and competitors, see what they offer and how you can stand out in terms of customer service.
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