Turn a Customer Product Return into a Win

By Enabliser Howard

When customers return stock, the service they receive can help build them into happy customers and generate more sales- or drive them away. Handled well, it reduces their risk and increases their confidence in dealing with you. This need not be a cost at all, but a source of competitive advantage.

Research by Newgistics Harris Interactive Returns Survey found, "Returns play a big role in customer retention: 92% will shop again if returns are convenient, 82% will not shop again if returns are inconvenient." And what's even more interesting is that 50% of the people who return items end up purchasing additional items."

As companies seek growth and market share, there has been increasing study of Returns Management.   What reduces risk for the consumer is a benefit for the supplier.

Managing Returns
Returns Management is defined in Wikipedia as “a system which manages returns of faulty products for businesses. There are various ways in which a returns management system can be implemented in an organization. It can be custom software developed in-house or third-party software.” Returns management includes processes for handling the return, and how it is dealt with. If faulty is it repaired, returned to supplier? Can it be sold again? If not faulty and wrong size or the customer changes their mind, is this welcomed?

In addition to the logistics of handling a return, there are issues of minimising returns – returns avoidance, such as with quality assurance procedures, and verifying the returns, that they are under warranty - gatekeeping.  To complement your policy and procedures, a good software system able to handle the returns process, as part of your accounting system keeps everything on the rails.

Using Software
A good returns management software system will help you trace your products from purchase or manufacture to despatch and back again – if they are returned. By reducing the risk for the customer, you drive customer loyalty and return sales.  With accurate data on your returns you will know the reasons for returns, be able to track trends and act decisively if trends show up. Your inventory costs will be lower, with faster claim processing, better knowledge, less dead stock and more accurate inventory reporting.  This has to be an advantage for you, and for your customer too.
 

Want to find out more about how to re-engineer your business processes, click here.

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