How you handle returns goes a long way toward defining how customers perceive your brand, and how loyal they will be. And nobody likes a return – it’s frustrating for the customer and costly for the merchant. So what are some of the key elements that make up a great returns experience? And what does it mean to be an overall customer experience leader?
In 2016, the Excellence in Customer Experience awards from Multichannel Merchant, unveiled at Operations Summit, recognized companies that delivered a great returns experience. Merchants were evaluated on how customer-friendly their returns experience was. This included looking at the ease of return, the cost to return merchandise and how quickly the customer was credited for the return.
In short the more generous the return policy and the easier the return, the better the customer experience.
The 2016 finalists in this category, determined based on data from Radial’s SmartHub unit, were Nordstrom, Lowe’s, Bonobos and Fossil.
And the winner is: Nordstrom.
WHY NORDSTROM WON: Nordstrom is famous for its generous return policy. For one, the returns window is unlimited. The customer can return anything, any time, for any reason. But it wasn’t just the policy that made Nordstrom the highest scoring merchant in this category; it was also its performance. Returns were made easy, with the returns slip right on the packing slip, and customer accounts were credited quickly – about 1.5 days on average.
IDEA TO STEAL: Fast and easy is the name of the game here. Even if you can’t have as generous a policy as Nordstrom, you can create customer loyalty by handling returns quickly, which includes crediting the return as fast as possible.