I know that most retailers do not want to think of products being returned to their stores. But, it’s part of doing business. I have often felt that a business that has a fair return policy that favors the consumer is where I want to shop. Review your return policy with a customer service focus. Your return policy should reflect the needs of your customers.
Review these tips I share with you. Write your own return policy as part of your internal store systems. This will make running your business a little easier. Because you will have another important procedure in place, you will be less reactive or in many cases not so over reactive. You will have thought things thru before hand on how best to handle customers who are returning product. Here is a little hint, only staff with the best people skills get to deal with customers who are returning products. You want these staff to have strong people and communication skills and tons of common sense.
Ask your self these two questions:
- Who will be responsible for accepting product back? Most retailers give their sales staff the authority to accept returns. You may want to have the final say so. In that case, you will be tied down to being available and in contact with your staff always. I would not recommend this.
- What are your return terms in general? Receipt required with product being returned in how many days – 7, 14, 30, 60, 90 days for full refund. Here you are looking to secure cash flow and the time is up to you.It has to make sense to your customer as well. Product must be in good condition to be accepted for full refund. Your return policies should consider how the product was paid for: example if the customer paid by interact then give back an interact credit. If a check payment was given. That is a bit tricky because you want to make sure the check cleared your bank. If a customer brings back product with out a receipt, give them an in-store credit for the lowest price the product sold for in recent times.
Here are some further great ideas about your policies once you put them down on paper. Your policies should be equal for all customers. Make sure your policies are in plain view near the cash. Train your staff to reinforce your policies with the customer at the time of purchase. Your sales receipts are another great place to state your policies.
On line shopping is becoming more and more the norm. If you sell product on line, your return policy must be fair and attractive to your customer. Your policies around returns on line can become an effective marketing tool and make your customer feel more secure about shopping with you.
A well thought out retail return policy with a customer focus can help increase sales because shoppers put great value on this part of their shopping experience with you. Remember it’s about relationship selling and also relationship returns. Please see this as an opportunity.
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