One of the top reasons customers get upset is return, refund, or exchange policies. Get a simple two-step process for handling these situations.
- My daughter got a duvet as a gift for her dorm. She wanted to exchange it for a different color. We didn't have the receipt, but thought surely, we could just swap it out for another one. We got to the store, and their policy was that exchanges had to be for the exact same brand and price with no exceptions. The problem was the brand was sold out, so there was no option for us to exchange. Even worse, the store could only offer us a $30 refund, because without a receipt, items were only eligible for a refund at the lowest selling price. Online, the duvet showed as $150, but at that store, the item was on clearance. The policy seemed grossly unfair, and we weren't happy. One of the top reasons customers get upset is return policies. Returns and exchanges make things more difficult because customers making returns are more likely to be unhappy. So we need to have a strategy for handling these situations. Here is a simple two-step process. First, acknowledge the impact. When customers can't get exactly what they want with refunds or returns because of your policy, it's possible that some will become difficult. Reduce the chance of things escalating by acknowledging how the issue impacts the customer. You might say something like, I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. Or, we realize this isn't what you wanted to hear, but we may have options for you. In my example, the employee could have acknowledged the impact by saying something like, I know it's frustrating to not get the full refund, but we do have a couple of options for you. Acknowledging the impact is you conveying empathy, and this can help you create calm. Next, explain how the policy benefits the customer. An optometry office I work with can't refill contact lens prescriptions without an annual eye exam. Some patients whose eyes haven't changed get frustrated when they can't just renew their contacts over the phone. Here's how I help them explain how the policy benefits the customer. The FDA mandates our prescription process. We must see patients every 12 months before writing a prescription. This is to ensure the health of your eyes through regular examinations. Sometimes, you can't genuinely explain how the policy benefits the customer. In these cases, just explain why you have the policy in place. With our duvet experience, I can't think of a benefit to customers. So an explanation of why the policy is in place might be offered like this. When an item is discounted by sale or clearance, we refund the lowest sales price because we can't verify the actual paid amount. But if you're able to get the receipt, we'll honor the purchase price. Expect some customers to be upset with your refund policies, but using these two steps, you should be able to placate most customers.