From the Blog
As retailers (and customers), it’s easy to brush off return policies as a singular document – 300 words explaining to customers how they can return items to your online shop.
In reality, a return policy is made up of multiple parts, and their sum is greater than the policy itself. Each part plays a distinct role, not unlike teams working together in a typical office, and each team has a specific role in service of your return policy’s goal: keep your customer satisfied and interested in shopping with you again.
Your return policy team can be the difference between a still satisfied customer and one who can’t wait to never visit your site again. Let’s meet the team!
The Office Manager
Questions about your return process? They have the answers.
In many offices, it is undisputed that the office manager knows all. Have a question about deliveries, or why the printer is acting up, or even where to get a good burger by the office? The office manager is your go-to guru. Even if they point you to another person, they know exactly who that right person is.
It’s no different with your return policy. The office manager is the link at the bottom of the page that takes customers to your return policy. They might pop up on your product pages, in your FAQs, or on your help page. Ultimately, they are always available to your customer, able to take them where they need to go to get answers to their return questions.
Office managers are here to help – so make it easy for your customers to find them! Add a link to your policy at the bottom of the page and summarize it on your product pages. Organize your return policy in logical sections, choose an easy-to-read font and size, and include a way for customers to follow up with further questions.
The Legal Team
They live for the nitty gritty so your customers don’t have to.
“Let me run it by legal,” is not an uncommon phrase in an office. A legal department is around to guard a company’s interests while upholding the company’s mission and values. Working with the legal document has a bad reputation—a long process with confusing suggestions and refusals.
Fortunately, you can make it easy for your customers to work with your return policy’s legal team by cutting right to the chase. Make these components of your policy crystal clear:
Length of time for return
Return options: refund, exchange, store credit
What is eligible for return
How to return an item
It sounds easy, but there are policies out there with poorly-organized legal teams—return windows and options that don’t line up in various sections of the site, poorly outlined return exceptions, and return instructions that require RMAs but don’t direct the customer on where to request them.
Lawyers get a bad rap, but your return policy’s legal team wants to keep it simple. Help them out by organizing these details as simply as possible without leaving out any really important information.
The Sales & Marketing Team
Never miss a chance to make a good impression.
Nothing if not persistent, your return policy’s sales and marketing team keep an eye out for opportunities to spark, build, and sustain positive relationships at all stages of the customer journey. They already know your customer from the initial purchase, and while they didn’t expect your customer to boomerang this way, they see the opportunity to keep the relationship intact.
As much as sales and marketing are focused on customer satisfaction, they are equally focused on saving the sale. Offer customers opportunities to stay engaged with your product without returning for a full refund. Exchanges provide you the opportunity to do both and keep your customer engaged with your brand rather than releasing them back out to the internet.
Return portals with robust exchange interfaces, such as Return Rabbit’s REX, make suggestions for other items in your catalog, even based on their reason for returning.
Even better are exchanges kept simple for the customer. Allow them to choose the new item right away, rather than waiting for the rejected item to be returned and processed before they can make their exchange. Keep this process as simple as you can. Your customer’s experience serves as sales (word of mouth) and marketing (continued engagement) for your shop.
The Accounting Team
Accounting is their name. Refund management is their game.
Just like office employees go to accounting for expense checks, your customers will ask your return policy’s accounting team for refunds. Make sure they fill out that refund request fully knowing what they’re on the hook for. Examples may be:
Original shipping – refunded or not?
Return shipping – who pays? Flat fee or variable?
Restocking fees – which items and how much?
Additionally, make sure customers know how and when they’ll receive their refund. Most shops refund to credit cards, but with wildly varying intervals. Make it clear how soon after receiving their package you’ll process their return. If you process refunds in a different manner, clearly outline how (check, PayPal, etc.).
The Logistics Team
They get your product back in one piece.
Without Logistics, your customers wouldn’t have your products in the first place – nor will you get their return back in one piece. It’s up to your logistics team to step up and represent in your return policy.
Customers should have a clear idea of every piece of the return shipping process.
Can they use the original box?
Do you have a preferred shipper?
If you provide a label, what specific instructions are there for attaching it and dropping it off with a shipper?
What specific shipping instructions are there for certain items, like shoes or electronics?
Hopefully, if Accounting came through, there wouldn't be any questions about shipping fees. Your customer arrived at Logistics with that information, so they can focus on this process.
Your return policy team – Office Manager, Legal, Sales & Marketing, Accounting, Logistics – have their work cut out for them. E-commerce is an increasingly competitive space, and your shop isn’t the only one intent on discovering and delighting new customers. Your advantage is understanding that the process doesn’t fall apart with product returns – it gives your hardest working team a chance to shine.
That’s where we come in. Start your free 14-day trial of Return Rabbit today or watch a demo of our revenue-focused platform.