The Product Returns Management Strategy implemented by a nationwide retailer makes a definitive statement about how they choose to run their organization. Your returns strategy not only impacts your customer experience management process -- but also employees on your sales floor all the way up to the your corporate office. Focusing on product returns management (by way of both volume and impact) without alienating end customers requires thoughtful planning, anticipation, strategy, and precise execution!
What causes product returns? Could be poor sales transactions, scheduling, delivery, service after-the-sale, or product quality. How about the end customer experience or their inability to operate the product? The reasons are numerous. But, the real question to ask yourself is “how much insight do we have and what do we do with that knowledge”?
How effective are your current Reverse Logistics Strategies? Find out by asking your CEO, CFO, VP of Sales, Heads of Design, Engineering, Packaging, Manual Design, Operations, and Call Center these two fundamental questions:
1) Who manages our Returns Reduction Program as part of your overall reverse logistics strategies? Who is the single person inside our company responsible for following and working on reducing our product returns from the design stage all the way through to return liquidation?
2) When one of our end customers takes one of our products home and has a “perceived” problem, what is the first thing we want that customer to do? What practices have we put into place that ensure this action will actually happen?
If you discover inconsistencies in the answers you receive (or perhaps an inability to get sufficient answers along with supporting data), then read on. The potential for increasing profits via reverse logistics is significant and attainable.
Originally published in Twice Magazine
You approach the service counter of a typical retailer, any retailer, armed only with a defective product and the extended service you purchased on it. You recall back one year ago when you purchased the product. The sales associate spun a glowing tale of being able to take care of you and your product for an additional three years beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. You were skeptical as it was explained to you about all the time, money and headaches that you would avoid if you bought their service contract. By the time they were done you were sold. You wanted the plan, you needed that plan. It was pricey, but the peace of mind it provided was well worth the investment. Besides, the sales associate was just so darn sincere.
Fast-forward one year. As you make the long walk to the customer service counter, it starts to resemble a scene right out of a Clint Eastwood western. You receive a steely look from the person working behind the customer service counter. You imagine yourself in the center of town on a lonely, empty street while tumbleweeds roll by.