Most retailers doubtlessly have to deal with customers returning purchases at some point. There’s any number of reasons why a customer will return a purchase; some are perfectly legitimate, while others may seem arbitrary.
3C Contact Services tells its partners that they should always have a return policy in place, especially if they sell physical products. Here are just a few of the reasons why your customers might return their purchases:
1. It Doesn’t Work On Some Products
If you sell products such as electronics, they may occasionally have defects that cause them to work improperly or not at all. If this happens, offer to exchange the product for the customer instead of offering a refund.
2. Wrong Item Size or Wrong Product Shipped
When customers purchase clothing online, they may order an item that is either too large or too small. In this case, offer to exchange it for an item that fits properly.
3. Changed Their Mind after Product Purchased
What seemed like an exciting purchase when they first made it may cause a change of opinion when it finally arrives or after they’ve had it for a few days. In this case, suggest an alternate purchase that they might enjoy more.
4. Product Didn’t Match the Website Or Catalog Description
This can be avoided by giving a detailed description of the product on your web site. Always provide your copywriters with all the details about a product and, when possible, have the manufacturer read over the copy to make sure that the details are accurate.
5. The Customer Ordered the Wrong Product Or Item
Particularly when shopping online, a customer may click on the wrong box and make a purchase that they did not intend to. Or, they may discover after they returned home that their purchase is not the one they intended to make.
6. Excessive Amount
If you offer products in bulk, a customer may order more than they needed to and return their purchase because of that.
7. The Customer Found Better Product Price Elsewhere
This is a legitimate reason for product return, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow. Customers often price shop even after they have made a purchase, and if they end up finding that same product at a better price, then you bet they’ll return it.
8. Buying A Product During Holiday Season
This will happen a lot around holidays and is probably one of the more acceptable reasons for a return. People are buying all kinds of gifts for friends and family, and in some—or even many—instances, the people receiving those gifts have no use for them or just don’t like them at all. In either instance, they figure that the best option is to return the gifts. This is a good chance to suggest something else they may like so that the return turns into an exchange.
9. Late Delivery of Items
There are very few things that get under a customer’s skin than having to wait longer than anticipated for a product. Unfortunately, there will be times that this happens. It may be a good idea to offer the customer something like free shipping on their next order to ease their frustration.
10. Product is No Longer Needed
This can happen for a number of reasons, and none of them are within your control. Customers may end up finding items, such as phone cases or chargers, before their order arrives. In these instances, you may suggest the customer keep it “just in case,” or recommend other uses for the product.
11. Customer Engages in Wardrobing
This is not a good reason to return purchased items, but it’s something that happens all the time, although it is completely unethical. Wardrobing is when a customer purchases something like a big screen TV or a designer dress for one day only. They’ll keep the tags on, use it for a day or two, then return it for a full refund. Retailers are aware of this practice, but not much can be done to dissuade this type of consumer.
12. Product Did Not Meet Customer Expectations
It can be difficult to gauge a product when only seeing it online. Or perhaps, a product does not work quite how a customer expected it to work. If they don’t feel like they’ve received enough value, you can expect a return request. This can be prevented by being as detailed as possible in online descriptions.
13. Customer Unfamiliar with Retail Interface
You must keep in mind that almost all customers still do their shopping in brick-and-mortar retailers. If they are online, it’s for a specific reason or for a different experience. You must match or exceed the positive experiences they have had if you hope to keep customers shopping online with your company.
14. Customer Fraud
Most retailers have experienced a customer returning stolen items for cash or returning items that were purchased on stolen credit cards. You should be aware of these situations and have systems in place to detect this level of fraud, such as a good point-of-sale system, charging restocking fees, or even insisting on in-store returns and exchanges.
To avoid any of the above reasons, make sure to thoroughly test your products and clearly mark clothing sizes; the same goes for products and services themselves. Provide detailed descriptions to avoid any confusion when your customers make a purchase.
While it is good to have a return policy in place that guarantees that customers will be able to exchange or return their purchases, 3C also recommends that partners be aware of customers abusing a return policy, particularly if they are purchasing an item of clothing they only intend to wear for a special occasion or electronics they only intend to use to shoot an event, such as a camera.
As the leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, 3C Contact Services teaches its partners the necessary customer service skills needed to engage and retain customers and clients. Call us today at 1-888-353-2335.
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