In a world of interconnectedness, mobility and businesses that never sleep, returns management is no longer an option for e-commerce providers but a must.
Customer Satisfaction; two words that have been screamed in retail stores more times than anyone cares to count, produced so many research reports you won’t be able to go through them in one lifetime, and have, clearly, monopolised the internet. Suffice it to say, customer satisfaction is key to your business survival. Business are forced to take a ‘listen’, not ‘tell’, approach to their customers or see them walk out the door on their way to a competitor.
Therefore, the plight of business owners that want to take advantage of the boundless growth enabled by going online, is to implement returns management processes that are satisfactory and beneficial to both their business and their customers through the art of negotiation.
Efficient returns management is a must and your processes should adapt to the environment you operate in, enable growth, and foster client centricity. So if you have not yet taken full advantage of effective, efficient and streamlined return management processes take a look at some important questions to ask when formulating a returns management process:
1 – What are my clients mostly unhappy with?
For you to adequately answer the question, the use of an IT system that enables you to track parcels and apply statuses will greatly help with providing an overall picture of which product deliveries go right and which go wrong.
A client relationship management system coupled with a parcel tracking system can provide invaluable data insights enabling you to not only retain databases of clients and use that for re-targeting and marketing purposes, but also increase your supply chain effectiveness and overall client satisfaction.
These systems don’t have to break the bank. If your business or bank account is not yet big enough to consider mainstream options, then go where all new business owners are going; the cloud.
Find a solution or app that can work for you to track trends in your business and see where improvements are needed.
2 – How much will return shipments cost me?
The focus on not really on how much it will cost, but rather how you will mitigate that cost. In the long run effective return shipment processes will cost you less as companies with consumer centric returns policies retain clients for longer and see more return business.
To keep the costs of return shipments down, you need to ensure that damaged and returned products don’t go missing or get ‘lost in the process’ by ensuring that dead product is brought back to life with returns management.
3 – Do I truly understand the need for a returns management process?
Can’t clients bring their purchases back to the shop themselves if they are unhappy? Would it be cheaper to just let them keep damaged product and refund them? While these options might seem like less of a headache in the moment, they are definitely not business savvy or conducive to growth and, most definitely, not sustainable. Read about the importance and business benefits of returns management here.
4 – Where do I even begin?
Starting a business is complex and, quite often, you need to make it up as you go along. You might only start realising that your business actually requires revere logistics when your first product gets damaged, or your first unhappy customer demands a refund. And as your business grows, this will happen more often, and manually taking care of everything yourself won’t be possible.
Therefore, the earlier you start implementing formal return shipment processes, the better. The basics of a return shipment process should include:
- Upfront return shipment policies and procedures
- Ensuring clients are notified of, and formally agree to, your terms and conditions
- Finding a suitable courier company that will work with you and within your stipulated timeframes
- Enabling open, clear and concise communication channels
- Establishing in-house or outsourced repair centers