Nothing is certain in the world of product sales aside from taxes (in most cases) and returns. As you start to sell more, your rate of product returns will increase accordingly.
Some analysts estimate that nearly one third of all online purchases are returned, a statistic that is even higher for brick and mortar locations.
What does this mean for your business?
Product returns erode profit margins. It doesn’t matter if you are offering free returns or not, any time a customer returns something it will negatively impact your bottom line. While it may be true that you can turn these potentially negative experiences into positive sales opportunities, your ultimate goal should always be to stop the bleeding from the source. This means reducing your product return rate.
Here are 3 creative ways you can reduce your product return rate starting today.
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Customer service automation is the way of the future. That is not to say that customer service will be fully replaced by bots anytime soon. But augmenting your existing customer service process with some automation is not a bad idea. In fact, companies who have leveraged automation as part of their customer experience are seeing higher profits than those who do not.
Here are a few ways automation’s new role in customer service is proving successful:
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According to a 2016 State of Small Business Report, companies across a variety of industries plan to use customer retention to grow revenue in 2017. How will they retain more customers? Their flagship strategy involves improving the customer experience.
The reasoning behind this strategy is simple. Happy customers are often loyal customers. A positive customer experience leads to reductions in churn, increases in customer advocacy, and can even create a competitive advantage over those lacking great customer satisfaction.
Here are 5 ways to improve the customer experience and grow your revenue in 2017.
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We’ve all been there.
Sometimes, you have a bad customer service. It does not define your brand. But, it is a great learning opportunity. What went wrong? Could it have been avoided? How will you prevent the same mistake from happening again?
While positive customer service stories can help you define your model for exceptional customer service, the negative ones are just as important. Negative customer experiences shape the way your customer experience changes to address potential or existing roadblocks to customer service success.
Here are 3 great examples of large companies who have lost customers due to a lack of great customer service. We’ll also show you how to fix these issues before they happen to you (without having to spend a fortune!).
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In this digital age, we are faced with intense competition. The customer experience is often found to be a primary differentiator, regardless of industry, which is why great customer service is so fundamentally important to companies today. Research supports this, showing that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed positive customer experience.
When we fail to meet customer expectations, they are able to move on and purchase their goods and services from a competitor quite easily. Furthermore, companies that conduct business operations online – includes sales and returns – have a higher risk of losing customers due to a poor customer experience just because they are engaging with customers more. The more we engage with our customers, the more opportunity there is to fail from a customer service standpoint.
Here’s how to avoid a major customer service fail and keep from losing valuable customers.
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Is your customer service software really good enough for your company? Sure, it’s better than email alone, but does it actually give you a competitive advantage? The reality is, fixing customers’ defective products is arguably the most important part of customer service. But most leading CRM solutions don’t address it at all. In fact, most companies don’t have an effective way for their customer service personnel to interact with receiving, repair and shipping departments to resolve warranty service issues.
You may be responding to customers’ requests quickly. You may have lots of great people on your customer service team. But that won’t amount to a hill of beans if your customers can’t get their products replaced quickly when they fail. No matter how nice and helpful you are, people won’t buy from you again if you don’t step up and shine when they really need you. On the other hand, if you can excel in solving their problems quickly, customer loyalty will grow and they’ll be actually be more likely to buy from you again. It’s clear that the right RMA software is key.
Continue reading The top 3 reasons to upgrade your customer service software.
Any company that sells physical products faces many challenges. The most important phase of the entire product life cycle is after-sales service. This is where your company’s reputation is made or broken. Product failures and other issues that require services to be performed will always be a reality. But it’s how you handle these problems that will define you as a company. The key is to provide a painless, well-organized and transparent returns process where the customer is notified promptly with each status update. You also need to evaluate why your products are coming back with testing and reporting.
Continue reading Features for better service.
How many times have you purchased a product, only to have one of its cables break soon-after, making the product itself virtually useless? It’s infuriating: A product that requires a charger isn’t worth much without the charger cable. Products that connect via USB are worthless if the USB cable is broken. And this is the worst: Have you ever had a great pair of headphones that you really liked, and then one day the cable went kaput? I’ve had more than enough frustration with broken cables in my personal life; but it’s my experience in this area in my professional life that I’d like to tell you about here.
Continue reading Fix cable & accessory problems.
Customer service is becoming more top of mind for companies today. In fact, Zendesk recently reported that 40% of companies lose business to competitors due to poor customer service. In order to provide the best customer experience possible, companies have invested in more tools and software that facilitate positive brand interactions and empower customers. Some of these tools focus on customer relationship management or a full customer experience (like SupportSync), while others are more centered on specific functionalities such as live chat or social media communities. Here are 5 tools that can totally transform your customer service operation for little to no investment:
A customer portal is perfect for more self-sufficient customers because it gives them full control over their customer experience. Customers can log into the system to check the status of their order, view order history, search FAQ’s, request a refund/exchange, and more. It is a great investment because it reduces call volumes, helps customers quickly, and keeps your company organized.
Automated Emails While this is more of a tactic than a tool in dealing with customers, automated emails are a very powerful addition to customer service efforts. When your customers are informed, they’re happy. Simple emails that include order confirmations and tracking information make a big impact on customer satisfaction. Additionally, emails with subtle upsell suggestions and links to highly requested information can save time and increase profits. The key takeaway here is the more automation, the better!
Continue reading 5 Most Powerful Customer Service Tools for 2016
According to Gartner, product returns are on the rise, and the costs are often hidden making it difficult to address their true financial impact. You have to not only refund the customer but also pay to repack, restock, and resell the returned product(s). There is an upside to product returns that are managed correctly, however; customers who have a positive returns experience often make repeat purchases, and they are more likely to refer that retailer. That is why it is so important to identify return patterns, learn how to convert returns to future sales, and turn every RMA into a sales opportunity.
Continue reading How Product Returns Can Be the Difference between Profit & Loss