Have you ever asked yourself what distinguishes ordinary and successful brands? You are right, brand and CX are key. However, great brands always keep on the back of their minds that a customer journey does not end at the check-out as 3/4 customers say that they would never buy again from a brand after a poor return experience.
Today's customers are more demanding than ever and expect a seamless return experience. Without an effective system for returns in place, customers become unhappy, resulting in brand degradation.
Common challenges of handling returns manually
As the name indicates, a manual returns process is handled mostly manually, without any automation. It usually starts with a pre-printed return paper form, a phone call or email from the customer asking to return a purchase and all the steps taken until the item is restocked and the customer gets an exchange or refund. Aside from being a time-wasting process, handling returns manually does not allow businesses to gather data on returns nor engage proactively with their customers.
Complex and time-wasting process
As mentioned before, it all starts with a phone call or an email. However, that is solely the tip of the iceberg. Handling returns manually involves a never-ending series of communications between the business and the client, plus tracking all the process stages manually.
It is as inefficient and time-consuming as it sounds, as the process lacks integration between the various components. For some retailers, it can take nearly two weeks to process a return. In addition, inefficient operations represent a massive blocker for growth.
Lack of sync between office and warehouse
Relying on the logistics of returns to an excel or google sheet document works sufficiently until it doesn't. With excel tables as the tool to manage and control all returns coming in and exchanges coming out, there is no sync between all parts of the business, information is lost, and time is wasted.
Lack of return data
Handling returns manually does not allow retailers to gather data on the returns. It is impossible to distinguish between customers returning their orders because they do not fit, do not meet their expectations or simply because they do not like it. Without gathering data on returns, it is almost impossible for retailers to adapt their offering according to customer needs and reduce the return rate.
When handling returns manually, businesses spend most of their time communicating back-and-forth with customers. Customers do not receive follow-up, nor live information on the return status and reach out on the brand's communication channels to complain and ask questions. Worried customers are never a good sign; retailers have to keep them happy.
Is your brand barely surviving with a manual returns process and you want to do something about it? Worry not; digital return management processes can support the growth of your business and make your customers happier than ever.
Perks of handling returns digitally
A digital return management process results from the automation and digitalisation of a return process. It allows businesses to become truly efficient by removing the most laborious steps in their return process.
Automate to save time
Automation makes handling returns simpler. Confirmation emails and shipping labels are automatically generated and sent; thereby, customers do not have to contact the brand via phone call or email to return a product.
On the brand's side, it frees up time by automating processes and syncing all parts of the company, store, office and even warehouse. This way, processes are faster, and each team can take the time to work on more complex problems. Ysé, a french lingerie brand, saves 60 hours per month since it started handling returns digitally with yayloh return management platform.
All-in-one place for returns
When using a digital returns process, all the information gathered throughout the return process is stored in the same place, so there is no risk of losing sight of essential pieces of information. Also, it boosts team performance by ensuring everyone is on the same page and that the office, store and the warehouse are synchronised.
Customers have the upper-hand
With a digital returns process, customers can start the return process whenever and wherever they want and be updated on return status along the way. They can gain access to a tracking page and receive SMS/email notifications to check on the status of their returns.
On the brand's side, a digital returns process opens the door to many ways to engage with the customers so that they don't lose sight of the brand, boosting brand experience and customer loyalty.
To better meet your customer's needs and expectations, it is vital to understand them. Through a digital returns process, customers engage with the brand in various stages and share their feedback on the returned products. Consequently, brands collect and gain access to relevant return information and analyse it to take the necessary actions.
Now that we have understood the problems and limitations of a manual returns process and learnt how a digital one could significantly impact a brand, it's time to see how to automate and digitise the process for a brand and its customers.
Digitalise the return process with returns management software
You might have heard about it or not, but, essentially, returns management software digitalises the return process for a brand and its customers by automating processes and offering customers a fully digital return journey. Brands with the necessary resources decide to build custom-developed returns management software, while smaller ones often save time and money with a SaaS returns management solution.
What is yayloh returns management software?
yayloh is a returns management software that automates brands' return flows and ensures customers keep coming back. It is a 100% digital plug & play solution that helps fast-growing DTC brands reduce returns, deliver a top-notch customer experience, boost profitability and increase operational efficiency.