One of the most important aspects of any business – and yet often one of the most overlooked – is communications. The ability of your team members and employees to communicate with each other, and your ability to communicate effectively with your customers, is critical to success in every step of your business. Nowhere is that truer than with returns.
The Journey of Returned Products
To highlight the importance of communication in the process of returned merchandise, think about the journey that goods take along the way.
- Products are shipped to a customer, and for some reason the customer needs to send it back
- The customer contacts the company to initiate the return
- Someone sends information (and maybe a shipping label) on how to return the item
- The customer sends it back to one of your locations
- Your team must identify what is wrong, whether the item can be resold, how to repair the item for a warranty (if applicable), or how to dispose of it
- Items that can be resold must be sent back to the forward logistics team
- Items that can be repaired must be sent to a warranty repairs team
- Items that must be disposed of or recycled have to be sent to the appropriate place
- The item must be sent back to the customer (in the case of a warranty repair) or a refund issued in the form of cash or store credit
At every juncture, there is essential communication that must occur, both between your team members and from the company to the customer. Missing even one small piece of communication can quickly turn this process into a revenue-draining event.
Improving Internal Communications
From the time a customer initiates a return, every member of your team that handles the return or repair process must be aware. Internal communications about the process help each person know when the product is arriving, what to do, and how long it will take. A centralized software program that helps manage the returns is much easier than a series of one-off emails sent between employees about upcoming returns, or a series of disparate systems that people have to manually update as the products move through the returns process.
In addition to the internal communications, it’s also critical to send regular updates and information to the customer who is waiting for a warranty repair, a refund, or a store credit. Without this, customers get frustrated and feel like they sent their product into a black hole, never to be seen again. Having a reverse logistics software program that can automate every step of customer communication takes a significant burden off your staff. Plus it ensures that nobody will ever miss a communication or forget to contact a customer.
If you don’t currently have a returns management software program, ReverseLogix can help. Our integrated system offers multiple modules that help you manage reverse logistics, warehousing, RMAs, ROBO, RTV, warranties, and more. Schedule a demo to see how much easier your returns management communications could be.