Returning customers can be a boon to wireless retailers. It’s an opportunity to upsell customers who are unsatisfied with their purchase, encourage customers to buy cases, headphones and other peripherals, and turn them on to merchandise that may be unrelated to their original purchase—think the customer who upgrades their iPhone only to return the next day to replace their Apple TV.
But returning merchandise can be another story entirely.
While it’s nice to think that everyone who frequents your wireless retail store will leave thrilled with their new electronic goodies this holiday season, the odds are that not all of them will. Here are some tips to help turn a potentially negative situation into a positive outcome, and perhaps even boost sales with returning customers.
First Things First: Get Your Store in Order
Before the holiday season ends—scratch that, before the holiday season even begins—take a good, hard look at how your store is arranged and how your return policies are posted.
By installing a more modern video surveillance system with on-board analytics, you can get a better map of how customers move through your store. This will help you sell customers the right items, ensure that they are fully aware of all the products available in your store and reduce theft.
In terms of return policies, your wireless retail site should have a page dedicated to your return policy that details critical information about what can and can’t be returned, how returns work, and when items can and can’t be returned.
Establish a Return Policy (if you haven’t already)
A quality return policy should already include several features, including:
- Free return shipping. With their seamless shipping model and free shipping on both sides of a transaction, the shoe retailer Zappos killed the idea of charging customers for shipping. The practice will drive customers away faster than bad customer service. For effortless returns, include a pre-printed label right in the box.
- Refund information. It needs to be clear and obvious how customers will be credited for returns, what credit will be issued, and if a restocking fee will be deducted from the return. It’s best to avoid deducting from refunds unless the item is unable to be sold again or credited from the manufacturer.
- Clear expectations. Clearly state when refunds will be issued and how customers will be notified about the status of their return credit or refund.
- Contact information. If a question about a return comes up, customers should absolutely have a way to get in touch with someone with authority quickly.
Train Your Customer Service Team
Training is a critical issue in handling the post-holiday returns rush. If your team doesn’t know how to handle returns, your customers will pick up on it—and may take advantage of your return policies to boot.
Allow dedicated time to chat with your sales and customer service teams about what to expect as far as returns and exchanges are involved.
Try to discuss specific issues like:
- Return period length. How long do customers have to return an item? Are you extending the return period for purchases made during the holidays?
- Exchanges. Are you offering exchanges for purchases and/or gifts?
- Receipts. Must returns come with a receipt or proof of purchase in order to qualify for a refund or credit?
- Damaged goods. If a customer returns a damaged product, will they be asked to provide any proof of damage? How will a replacement be provided?
Keep in mind that new questions will likely come up as time goes on, so be prepared to answer them.