When you run your own business, it can be incredibly uplifting to see the sales you have made. Likewise, you may feel disheartened if you need to process a return. You may feel like your products were not good enough, and then have to manage the financial loss alongside this.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that not all returns will be down to you. A customer may have placed an incorrect order, found that an item doesn’t fit correctly, or simply that the item is surplus to requirements. Regarding your own accountability, you may be able to find ways to reduce the number of returns you need to process each year.
One concern that you may have could be due to being classed as having a high risk merchant account. This is usually a result of the number of returns and chargebacks that have already passed through your system. In response to this, you may want to consider asking these customers what was wrong with their order, as well as to gauge from others how you might be able to improve their customer experience. If a customer feels heard and validated, they may be more likely to shop with you again. Over time, any changes you implement could allow you to see fewer returns in the first place.
Changing the way that you accept returns might also benefit you. You could make it clear that you no longer accept returns, except where the item is damaged or unfit for purpose. This may need to be laid out on your website, within your store policies. When it comes to bespoke goods, this could also allow you to save money. Generally, if an item has been personalized, customized, or simply made to order, you may not be able to resell it afterward. By refusing returns on orders like these, customers may then need to ensure they have given the correct measurements or information. You may still need to hold yourself accountable for errors and damage on your end but, otherwise, this could see a lower level of returns.
The customer service that you provide can also help to reduce the number of returns your business sees. You may want to offer a telephone sales option, where the customer can discuss their needs with a trained advisor, which can make it more likely that they order exactly what they need. Having online contact forms can be helpful, however, the delay between the customer sending a message and getting a response might be off-putting. Likewise, should a customer struggle with a product, it can help them to be able to gain immediate advice on its usage, so they do not think they have received a faulty item. Replacing broken items promptly, rather than issuing a refund, can also be useful.
Working in the public sector may mean that, at times, people are not happy with their level of service. By looking for ways to improve, you may be able to keep customers satisfied, and returns and chargebacks to a minimum.