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Refunds & Returns: Best practices.

Let’s be honest, refunds and returns can be a burden, but they are completely necessary for high customer satisfaction! While you may be unhappy with a customer for requesting a refund or a return, it is never a good idea to argue with them or charge extra for the return. Instead, view the process as an opportunity to show off your stellar customer service. Remember to keep it positive and show how much you care. Show empathy when a customer expresses frustration, and find a way to turn their anger into gratitude. Always thank the customer for doing their part in completing the returns process. Your positive attitude will go a long way in keeping your customers satisfied. Here are a few refund and return best practices to keep your customers happy:

Have a visible return policy that’s easy to understand

Your return policy should be written in easy to understand language, with clear deadlines and expectations. Avoid legalese and technical jargon. If a customer doesn’t understand your return policy, they may be hesitant to purchase from you. And while it may be a return policy, it doesn’t have to be full of harsh and punitive language. Use a light, friendly tone.

A customer-centric return policy empowers the customer to purchase a product with confidence and peace of mind, knowing they have the option to return it later if necessary. Although it may seem counterintuitive, a customer-centric returns policy may actually result in fewer customer returns and could boost sales. This is because a return policy that is easy to understand, with generous terms and conditions, is likely to win customers over

Your return policy also needs to be visible – this means including it on every product listing. If the customer is well informed, it will be much easier for them to make a purchasing decision. This will also leave less room for customer frustration if they know exactly how and when to make returns.

Make refunds, returns and exchanges easy

For the sake of customer satisfaction, make your refund, return and exchange process easy (even if that means it’s not really easy for you!). If the process is hassle-free and doesn’t include additional charges, customers are most likely to keep returning to your store and placing orders.

Offer free returns

There are always costs involved when processing returns, but the investment is a worthy one. Customers are more likely to purchase a product if they know they can return it for free, especially because free shipping on returns is expected these days. So although you might save some money by not offering free returns, it could cost you customers. Therefore, the pros of offering free returns can greatly outweigh the costs.

If the cost of return shipping is simply too much for your business to bear, get creative. You could state in your return policy that you’ll pay for return shipping on orders over ₵100, for example. This could encourage your customers to purchase enough products so that they exceed the limit, and ensure that at least some of the cost of return shipping is covered. As time goes on, it would be a good idea to analyse all of your orders and calculate your return rate percentage, which can then be factored into your costing.

Ask for feedback

Feedback regarding why the customer would like a refund, return or exchange is essential. In addition to being a requirement for processing the actual request, it contains valuable information that you can use to help reduce future RMA requests. You could look for patterns and take action, such as being more specific with product dimensions if customers are returning them due to size. This is also how you will discover if there are any issues with your products. Asking for feedback will improve the customer experience in the long run, and help you become more efficient in your returns process.

When a customer submits a return request, they have the chance to tick a checkbox containing the reason for their refund. Make sure you enable the appropriate checkboxes when creating your warranty in the RMA tab of your Vendor dashboard. Read this article for more info.

Keep customers informed

Just as customers like to be updated with the status of their order and with shipment tracking, they like to be updated with the progress of their RMA request too. Keep your customer informed along every step of the way, from when you receive their request to when you have completed it (learn more here). If you are proactive about providing them with this information, they are less likely to bug you about it, and more likely to be satisfied with the end result. It’s a win win situation!

Write accurate product descriptions and use high quality images

Your online store is your personal space to showcase your products. For most customers, seeing your products online is probably the only way they will be able to interact with them before purchasing. They are unable to see, touch or smell your products in person. Many products end up being returned due to inaccurate product descriptions, which can be easily avoided using these tips. This obstacle can be overcome by writing accurate product descriptions and using high quality images – they are crucial for helping the customer understand your product, and why they should buy it.

If for some reason your text descriptions fall short, high quality product images will do the rest of the talking. For each product listing, upload several high resolution images that focus on different aspects of your product so that customers can clearly see all of the details from various angles, such as product material, logo or stitching, for example. Learn more about the importance of images here.

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