A distressed woman with a large pile of documents in her hand with shopping bags surrounding her on where she is seated

Policy: Remorse and Regret

Surviving the period of remorse following the season of goodwill is achievable through a good R&R policy (returns and refund policy). Getting this right for your business will minimise damaging your customer base and surviving the cold spell on your bottom line.

According to a 2013 study, at least 30% of all products are returned when ordered online. That is quite a frightful figure, especially for new or smaller businesses. It highlights just how much money companies lose due to returns. The postage and packaging along with the manpower to make that happen (even if you are a solopreneur). Factoring in the return cost and the logistics of arranging the returns, the delay taking receipt of it (should it be a physical item and preparing it for sale again.

If you believe that you get off lightly with a digital product or online service, think again. There are the fees for the processing house to refund. The manpower to update the backend of the recent changes. Oh, not forgetting high ticket items are usually small in number, by accepting one offer you could be turning down another.

The survey data was gathered before the surge of online shopping due to the pandemic or the mere complacency and convenience of clicking a few times and having the items delivered to your door. Returns can be a logistical nightmare however, with the right returns policy in place, it is possible to have an effective loss prevention in place.

A man and and woman seated looking into a large brown box with looks of shock and displeasure unsure of what the return and refund policy is.

Shopping Returns Can be a Pain

Customers want an easy experience when it comes to returns. The survey said that 92% of customers would buy again if the product return process is easy. This is either unreasonable or difficult if you have a procedure in place. Taking the time to think and work through the process will give you an indication of what needs to happen, when. Share that with the customer is going to reduce all the needless calls and emails which takes away from actually processing the return.

Stop the Regret of Offering What You Cannot Afford

Although the survey found that 79% of consumers want free return shipping, you need to ask yourself as a business can you afford to offer that service? You have the freedom to say no or compromise. In recent years many reputable, established businesses have reintroduced postage and/or return fees. Now one type of special offer is to get free shipping if you spend over a specified amount. There are plenty of options, it comes down to knowing your customer and offering what is sustainable to your business. Capturing this in your policy will give clarity and prevention of creeping doubts. The last thing you want is to have your customer feeling like they have been duped.

An R&R policy Can Reduce Impulse Purchases

The focus is often getting the customer through the funnel or on the journey and not entertaining the idea that sometimes people are just following the hype with no real intention of being a part of your community; the fear of missing out is real and can be an expensive lesson learned. Introducing the right charges and fees can be a way to combat this but you must be open and honest; the discovery of hidden charges will deter the chances as well as your ideal customer.

A distressed woman with a large pile of documents in her hand with shopping bags surrounding her on where she is seated

How to Combat Buyers’ Remorse in an Ethical Manner?

It can be a very frustrating situation for both the business owners and for customers, and it can significantly impact your business in terms of finances, as well as customer satisfaction. Negativity is a powerful and long-lasting emotion. You do not need to ask a customer to tell a friend, because as they say misery loves company and they will be singing like a bird about the injustice that they suffered from your business.

Part of human nature is that we change our minds. There is always a perfectly justifiable reason to the customer why they should be allowed to return what they no longer want. As a business, you sometimes have to play the role of the parent in the sweet shop and lay down the rules of what will be permitted and what is a firm no.

The Sales Process Continues Beyond the Sale

Whether you’re selling products or services, the most important thing is to deliver. Finding out what the customer wants and providing value through interaction. It is also best for you and your team to get familiar with the policy “in case of return” and share this information with the customer.

Many stores now offer an extended returns period for the festive period. The early birds are able to benefit from being organised, making the purchases without stressing at the last minute and having the additional peace of mind that it is possible to return the item should it not please the recipient on the big day.

Man looking off into the distance with the emergence of a smile on his face as he holds his mobile phone

Final Flutter

In any business, policies and procedures help streamline the process and make sure that certain things are done the same way, every time. That’s a good thing if you want to keep your costs low and establish a common frame of reference throughout your organisation. The Operational Hummingbird™ will work with you to capture the right balance without the bore.

For the month of January, you can book to have your refund, return or cancellation policy written or updated at a special price. If you have been working with a template or something that you have “borrowed” or copied and pasted from other businesses, let’s tailor a policy for you and your business.

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