No matter what you sell, once you sell a widget the last thing you want is to see that item come back in the form of a return. It is bad for sales and it is a sign that a customer is unhappy. Fortunately, if you handle returns right, you can still convert that return into a sale to repair the relationship and save the bottom line. Here are 4 tips to help with this.
1. Understand the Problem – Usually, the issue with an item being returned is that it doesn’t serve the purpose it was originally intended for. By listening to a customer who is making a return, you can get to the heart of the issue and have an opportunity to offer an alternative product to meet that need or explain how the product does, in fact, meet that need. By simply understanding what the real issue was with the product, you will have a great opportunity to sell a more suitable product or save the original sale.
2. Establish a Return Merchandise Authorization – A Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) requires a customer to get permission to make a return. This means that you always have an opportunity to save the sale or cross-sell to a more suitable product when a customer wants to make a return. This is especially important for online retailers who may otherwise simply receive a returned package with no information on why the item was returned or how the company can make it right.
3. Stay Positive – As important as demeanor is during a sale, it is more important during a return. If you make the customer uncomfortable with a barrage of questions or arguments, you will lose any chance of turning the return into a sale. Instead, remain positive and empathetic, and employ strong active listening skills to keep the customer engaged and willing to discuss alternatives.
4. Offer Store Credit – Outline your return policy very clearly on your receipts or on your website. Within your return policy, make it known that there are a number of conditions which result in a store credit, rather than a refund. Then, offer a store credit to clients as a first offering. Many will simply take the store credit, meaning they will have to come back at some point to buy something. This can be a great way to convert returns without upsetting clients.
High rates of returns can slowly destroy a business. Fortunately, by following the above tips, you can fight the damage of returns and convert them back into sales.