Revisit your Return Policy Before the Holiday Rush
Like the lethargy that comes with big meals, or the cringe you get from unwrapping yet another pair of socks, holiday returns are an unpleasant part of the holidays that are largely overshadowed by all the good that come along with them. for business owners, dealing with returns is something that is usually only as bad as you allow it to be. If you are unprepared to handle them, or have not explicitly stated a return policy that your customers can adhere to, the ensuing customer service issues that can occur have the potential to pile up to the point of costing you customer loyalty and vital time that you need to manage your business during your busy season.
Ensure that your return policy is clearly accessible to your customers. Your return policy is something that your customers should not have to search for, it should be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and the potential for backlash against your business that can occur when a customer feels like they are treated unfairly. Include it in obvious places, such as near checkout in a physical store, or with ordered items or linked within the product descriptions on an e-commerce site.
Decide where you must be firm and where you can be flexible. While you may not wish to see returns, being understanding is a quality that your customers are sure to appreciate, since the holidays are a time when everyone is about as busy as they have been all year. Couple that with the stress of travel and accommodating family and friends, and a little bit of extra leeway around returning an item can feel even more pronounced. Figure out what you can afford to extend either as a special promotion or on a case by case basis, and then ensure that your customers are aware of the extensions afforded to them and at what point they are no longer able to take advantage of them.
Make it easy to return items for in store credit. While it is sometimes the case that a customer just wants their money back, the easier you make it for them to return an item for in store credit, the better you can avoid losing the revenues of a sales you have already made. An offering of store credit may wind up not being what your customer is looking for, but in certain cases, the fact that it can be facilitated easily is enough to convince customers that they are bettor off simply exchanging for another item, especially if they see something that they like.
Photo Credit to Kate Ter Haar on Flickr