While no online business relishes situations that require providing refunds, doing them right is vital for your ongoing success. It’s impossible to perfectly meet the expectations of every customer, and with reviews becoming an increasingly critical part of purchasing decisions, fast and easy refunds for customers can provide more benefits than the alternatives. It’s a way of keeping less-than-happy customers more satisfied, making bad reviews less likely, future purchases much more likely and reduces your risk of costly chargebacks.
The key to mastering the refund process is to face requests head on and make it as smooth as possible for your business and for your customers. Here are a few essentials for doing refunds the right way.
For starters, you need a return policy that protects your business but is also easily accessible and transparent to your customers. A whopping 68% of shoppers will check a company’s return policy before they make a purchase so it’s important to have one available to increase your initial sales.
Customers may be deterred from completing a purchase or irritated after completing one if your return policy is hard to find, overly wordy or lacking key information. Be sure to include what type of refunds you offer and any restrictions or additional costs that may have to be borne by the customer with regards to a refund.
It needs to be easy for your customers to access information on how to get a refund and to get a hold of someone that can actually process it. In addition to your website and checkout, also include refund information right on customer receipts. For the best outcomes, have a support team that can communicate with customers through their most preferred communication method as quickly as possible – whether it’s via phone, email or online chat.
If your company doesn’t have the internal capacity for refund inquires, there are options to outsource this to full service ecommerce companies that include this service as part of their payment processing solution.
While refunds aren’t ideal for your bottom line, they do provide opportunities. Most importantly, it reinforces that you stand behind your product, respect your customers and it can help you understand what didn’t work. Make sure that the reason for their refund is recorded and you regularly analyze that feedback to find opportunities for improvements.
Whether it’s a product that customers expected to perform differently, one that didn’t fit their needs or one that was delivered in error, every customer has a specific reason that they would like a refund. In this case, it’s best to make the experience as positive as possible and gather information for next time. The cost of not providing refunds well can be much more expensive than just giving the refund itself.
Negative reviews can deter future business and impact shopper’s perceptions of your entire business and its products. A total of 90% of consumers will look at online reviews before visiting a business’s site and making a purchase. Another 72% will take action only after reading a positive review, which makes providing a positive experience at every point in your customer’s journey, including refunds, essential. For more on getting good reviews for your business, click here,
It also prevents chargebacks which, in addition to the cost of the purchase price being refunded, is accompanied by fees ranging from $15 to $25 per occurrence. And if your chargeback rate gets too high for any particular payment method, you could lose your ability to accept online payments altogether.
Every business will have to face customers who don’t get the value they wanted from your product. The key lies in your approach to handling these situations and using their feedback as tools to improve your future product and service. Making sure that the refund experience is as positive as possible will give you the best chances for success going forward