Ah, Christmas season! An exciting time for millions of people around the world, even this year, and probably the most stressing time for retailers. Ecommerce has truly taken off this year as customers were forced to stay indoors and minimise social interactions. With mobility restrictions happening in various countries globally, it’s no surprise to learn that most Christmas shopping has been done on the dotcom.
Digitalising the shopping experience is crucial, but what happens when a customer wants to return a purchase?
If the word Christmas returns gives you a headache, you’re in the right place. At yayloh we want your year to end and start on the right foot, which is why we have crafted a list of tips to follow to prepare for Christmas returns.
1. Don’t assume that all returns are refunds
Do not jump into conclusion yet. In fact, when a customer returns a purchase there are three possible outcomes: refund, exchange or store credit.
The first possible outcome is a full refund which generally means that the customer is not happy with the purchase and would like their money back. Another outcome for returns is exchanging; sometimes customers aren’t happy with what they bought because it doesn’t quite fit them. In cases like this one, the best thing to do is offer an exchange; the customer feels supported and understood and you don’t lose a purchase and client. The third return outcome is store credit. You don’t want to pressure your clients, sometimes shopping takes time and a little bit of thinking. Let them think about what to get next with a store credit. This is a win-win situation: customers will place their new order themselves, offloading your customer service team plus they feel comforted and you increase loyalty.
Look at returns as a chance to improve your product, service and customer loyalty.
Regarding the chosen outcome, make sure to update your customers at every step of the return process. When communication flows, customers are happier, and even though they have to return something, they’re more likely to shop again.
2. Automate answers to common questions
We are so used to wanting things to be done at the snap of fingers that we expect answers to come the same way. You might not have the resources for a big customer service team, but automating communication could actually save a lot of your team’s time.
Chatbot, Instagram chat or Facebook messenger have become quite important communication channels in retail in the last few years. With most of our daily communication done through chat apps, customers expect a similar reaction from brands.
Quite a lot of customers, and especially the younger generations, are not used to picking up the phone to ask questions, at least not for urgent matters. The use of chat has increased in the last few years, therefore it’s important to count it as a communication and customer support channel.
Automatization starts with having FAQs on your website. Not only are they a huge help for customers looking for specific answers, but they are the main part of chatbots as well.
Studies say that around 40% of support messages could be automated. It’s worth spending some time setting up a chatbot, Facebook and Instagram messenger if at the end of the month you will save precious time for your team. Time that they can spend taking care of more important and urgent matters.
3. Make gift exchange easy
Mums keep buying their kids clothes even after they’ve left the nest and they rarely get the size right. To avoid the awkward conversation about telling mum that she got the wrong size again, make exchanging purchases easier.
Especially during the Christmas season, make sure that you add a gift receipt to all purchases so that it’s easy to return, refund or exchange. This way the return experience is smoother and faster, which is highly appreciated by the gift receiver.
4. Anticipate the right level of staff
Christmas return season is the busier of the year for retailers, therefore it’s important to not only be mentally ready but also have the right amount of people to make sure that you deliver the best service for your customers.
To make sure that you meet all ends and have everything under control it might be a good idea to get some extra hands at the warehouse and customer support team. These two groups are the most essential when it comes to the return season as one makes sure to collect and organise everything that arrives and leaves the premises. On the other end, the customer service team is essential when it comes to customers. With social interactions cut to the minimum, customers will likely avoid going to the store to return a purchase, which is why it’s important to have the right amount of personnel to take care of all the emails, calls and chat conversations from customers.
In the case that you still feel overboard, it might be a good idea to extend the return window until the end of January. With this, you cover your back a little longer and save a little bit of time.
Christmas is around the corner, which means that getting ready for the returns is a now or never situation. These four tips are easy and fast to implement to help you out in the busiest time of the year.
Post-purchase has become one of the most important puzzle pieces of the whole customer journey with a brand. That’s why it’s important to not only digitalise your store but also your return process.
yayloh is a post-purchase and returns management platform that will help you deliver the best customer experience, reduce returns and win customers for life.