Refund Reality: How to Turn Returns Into Opportunities

Feb 17, 2016 — Tashia Walters
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A great customer education and engagement strategy will help your business immeasurably. Alas, refunds are an inescapable reality in the retail world, especially after the holidays are over.

The thought of endless refunds in January and beyond can give any sales representative a healthy dose of aversion. The best way to combat refund-fatigue is to embrace it as an opportunity.

If sales occur online and customers end up in your stores to do a refund, ask your associates to use the following process:

  1.       Start an interesting conversation.

Use the commonality of the holiday season or another big event going on in the community to start a conversation with customers. A friendly, “How did the holidays treat you?” can open up a channel of conversation to find out why the item is being returned.

  1.       Be Authentic.

It is absolutely critical to have sales associates who love people and genuinely want to hear why their dissatisfied with their product. Customers who feel they are being treated like people rather than just a potential sale will appreciate the human experience.

  1.       Discover.

The authentic conversation sets the stage for the discovery of how the item failed to meet the customer’s needs.

  1.       Suggest Alternatives.

This is the ultimate win. Not only will customers leave your store feeling appreciated, they will have a new item that meets their needs (or will have ordered an alternative item, in the case of dropship)

If only a few customers engage in conversation (let’s face it – there will always be people who’d rather not chat), you will still find yourself ahead and, as a bonus, your sales representatives will feel connected with their customers. For some, this sense of connection is more important than how much they’re getting paid.

To help with the navigation of these conversations, ask your associates to keep in mind: customers won’t always remember what was said to them, but they will always remember how the store and the experience made them feel. 

Topics: Retail Operations, Customer Experience

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