With these five tips you can optimize the returns process in a customer-focused way.

With these five tips you can optimize the returns process in a customer-focused way.
Francisca Zimmerman
Francisca Zimmerman
Posted on
October 14, 2020
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Research shows that 86% of surveyed customers prefer sellers with a simple, easy-to-understand returns process. In addition, 81% of the interviewees indicated that they would choose a different vendor after a bad experience with returning a product.

Returns in the shop

Customer satisfaction is essential to the success of your business. A dissatisfied customer can give a company a bad name in no time, while a satisfied customer can develop into a loyal supporter of a company. It is therefore important to be as customer-oriented as possible during the entire sales process, meaning from sales to customer service up to the returns process. 

In this article we provide you with five tips to optimize your returns process. These five tips will contribute to overall customer satisfaction and help convert returns into new sales.

(1) Data collection and analysis

To optimize the returns process, it is essential to collect the right data and perform regular analyses. After all, the more insight you have into the returns process, the better you as a company can respond to any areas for improvement. And continuous optimization results in satisfied customers and therefore more sales.

Find out on a regular basis: 

  • How many returns are received on average per day
  • What are the main reasons for these returns? 
  • Which products are returned relatively often and which are not
  • What does the customer think of your products and services? What can be improved according to them? (you could check this by reading online reviews or conducting a customer satisfaction survey)

To gain insight into this data, it is advisable to make use of an insightful returns dashboard. This gives you a clear overview of all the above data and the possibility of receiving notifications if a product is being returned more often than the benchmark, giving you the chance to respond immediately. Feel free to take a look at our website to learn more about this.

(2) Digitize the return form 

Customers like convenience. The easier and faster the returns process, the greater the chance on another order placement from the customer. 

Therefore, consider opting for a digital return form. Instead of printing and sometimes even manually filling out a form, in the digital version the customer clicks through all the required questions in no time. Which products are being returned and which are not? What is the reason for the return? Should the package be picked up or will it be taken to a delivery point? At what exact address should the package be picked up? With the right software, the return request is created within minutes.

(3) Real-time tracking information 

Make sure your customers are always aware of the status of their return shipment. This is especially important in the case of a valuable shipment, since the customer will want to know where the parcel is at any given time. If this isn’t possible there’s a risk of dissatisfaction which will result into more customer service calls.

That's why you should: 

  • Notify customers of important updates during the returns process, such as the arrival of the package in the online store or the refund date of the purchase amount.  
  • Give customers access to a returns portal on the website. A customer must be able to log in at any time to see where a package is located.

(4) Flexible choice

Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding. Whereas in the past a parcel was simply delivered to a local post office, nowadays an enormous variety of delivery options is expected.

For example, if the customer wants the package to be picked up at his or her home then this should be made possible. Also, keeping in mind a customer’s preference for a specific carrier, flexibility in carrier options is expected.

Consumers have different reasons why they prefer one carrier over the other. However, the most important reason for offering various carriers is the accessibility of parcel points. If a customer happens to have a DHL or UPS parcel point nearby, it’s nice to have the option to get the package delivered there.

Returns in the neighbourhood

Fortunately, a flexible pick-up service is arranged in this way. With the right partner and accompanying software, the customer selects a pick-up address and time of his or her choice
in a handy route portal. This offered flexibility ensures that return shipments are almost effortless for the customer, which significantly lowers the threshold to make a purchase.

(5) Turn the returns process into a sales process 

Do you have a customer who is not satisfied with a placed order? As a web shop, you may be able to offer a replacement product that does meet the customer's wishes. A return does not have to mean a cancelled purchase. Instead, it can lead to an exchange or purchase of new products. This way the returns process becomes a sales opportunity.

Set up the returns portal in a smart way and always offer:  

  • The ability to order a replacement product in the return process (for example, a garment in a different size) 
  • The option to order additional products that might be of interest to the specific customer 
  • A coupon, perhaps at a discount, instead of a refund

Optimize your returns process with Returnista  

Returns are no longer a pain point with Returnista. Increase customer satisfaction and reduce your costs. Step into the footsteps of Decathlon, Loavies and ASOS, and choose a returns portal in the style of your online store. Ask for a demo on our website.

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