How to give your customers a five-star returns experience: Your guide to customer-centric returns

In the retail world, returns often get sidelined compared to making sales. But smart businesses know that an excellent returns process is vital for building customer loyalty and brand reputation.

How to give your customers a five-star returns experience: Your guide to customer-centric returns

In the retail world, returns often get sidelined compared to making sales. But smart businesses know that an excellent returns process is vital for building customer loyalty and brand reputation. 

In fact, in an online retail world that’s becoming more saturated day by day, an effortless returns process can be the cherry on the cake that takes your customers from being occasional shoppers to your brand’s biggest advocates! 

Read on for our top tips on how to give your customers a return experience that keeps them coming back for more.

Why do customer-centric returns matter?

Returns have become part and parcel of the online retail world. No matter how incredible your products are, you’re always going to have some customers wanting to take certain products back. 

And whether it's product issues, incorrect sizing, or simply that they wanted to order a few options to choose from, customers these days expect a smooth and simple returns process. 

Neglecting this can lead to unhappy customers and harm your brand, with a staggering 57% of respondents in one survey saying they would turn their back on a retailer after a bad returns experience. 

However, a hassle-free return experience can turn unhappy customers into loyal fans, with another survey revealing that 96% of customers who have had a positive returns experience would shop with the same retailer again. Wow - those numbers don’t lie!

With this in mind, let’s look at how you can go about delivering the best possible return experience to your customers:

The five key elements of a five-star returns experience

1. Have a clear and simple return policy

Your return policy should be easy to find and understand. Make sure it's visible on your website and in-store. Include important details like your return timeframe, which items qualify for returns (and which don’t), the condition items must be in, and any return fees.

2. Offer an easy returns process

Simplify your return process by giving your customers a range of return options - like in-store, mail-in, or online returns - so they can choose a method which works best for their lifestyle. 

We’d also recommend offering prepaid return labels for mail returns and consider hosting a returns portal on your site for easy tracking.

Better yet, one of the best ways to make life easy for your customers is to offer them a seamless doorstep return experience. When you partner with ReturnQueen, your customers can schedule a convenient pickup on their phone in just a few clicks. No packaging, printing or post office trips required! Your customers will love you for it.

3. Have a responsive customer service team

Provide accessible customer support through phone, email, live chat, or social media. Train your team to handle returns professionally and promptly, and to always provide service - even to frustrated customers - with a smile. 

4. Prioritize speedy refunds

Issue refunds quickly after receiving returned items, as prolonged delays will upset your customers. Be transparent about refund timelines, and consider sending customers an email to let them know you’ve received their returns. 

5. Gather feedback for continuous improvement 

Use your returns to gather customer feedback and make your service and products even better each year. You could include a survey with your return packages to learn why items are being returned, and any areas for improvement. 

Then, continuously improve the way you interact with your customers based on their feedback. They’re your best source of information for unlocking business success!

Simplify your returns process with a doorstep pickup service

One of the best ways to ensure your customers always get a five-star returns experience is to outsource your returns to a leading online pickup return service like ReturnQueen. 

Our comprehensive returns management solution simplifies the entire experience, from easy doorstep pickups to professional sorting and repackaging. We’ve designed the entire process to be customer-centric, helping online retailers deliver winning return experiences while streamlining their own return management processes.

After your customers have scheduled their pickup via our app, our drivers will pick up and sort the items and send them to your distribution centers right away. Not only is the process affordable and hassle-free for you as the retailer, it will delight your customers for a number of reasons:

  • We take care of the packaging, printing and labeling for your customers - taking all of the effort out of the return process for them.
  • We keep your customers feeling updated and in the loop, by sending them text alerts and in-app updates every step of the way. 
  • We help you get your customers their refunds on time, with our drivers making sure all packages get back to you safely, securely and quickly. 

It’s the secret sauce to truly customer-centric, brand-boosting returns! 

Final thoughts

In a nutshell, providing a best-in-class returns experience is about more than just processing returns - it's about building relationships. Online retailers must prioritize transparency, efficiency, and customer satisfaction to turn returns into a positive aspect of the customer journey. 

When you invest in the right technology, training, and returns provider, you'll keep your customers happy and coming back for more!