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ARTICLESManagement & Service

IS YOUR REFUND POLICY CUSTOMER FRIENDLY

I visited this huge warehouse sale and managed to pick up a portable CD player. Later, on checking the product I realized that the NTSC/PAL selection button was missing. I dreaded the thought of going back, explaining the situation and working out a solution. A repair would have been unacceptable. It also disturbed me, as the receipt clearly stated ‘No refund or exchange’. While the product itself did not cost the moon, the thought of working a refund, exchange or repair dampened the spirit of the purchase. Would this process involve any altercation? I felt like kicking myself for not checking the product then and there. I was getting apprehensive about the outcome.

Well, after work I went back armed with all possible arguments and justifications to get my way. But to my surprise the refund process turned out to be a breeze. To start, on explaining the situation they were not only understanding but apologetic as well about the whole thing. They checked if they had another packed piece for exchange. As luck would have it, that was the last piece. While we were pondering on alternatives the salesman himself suggested a refund. Though I would have loved an exchange I agreed to this for it solved my problems and seemed to be the best solution in my favor.

Through the entire course of the refund process there was not a glimmer of resistance or any kind of justification from the staff. There were no questions asked nor clarifications sought. As a matter of fact they were friendly enough to request me to come again. Though I came out empty handed I was satisfied with the outcome and most certainly did not feel short changed.

While such experiences should normally deter anyone from going back for the same product or the place, the manner in which my apprehension was laid to rest was not only most relieving but satisfactory enough for me to go back. Of course, now I would wise up to check the item before leaving the place.

Statistics show that 80 percent customers will buy from you again if you resolve the problem in their favor. 95 percent will buy again if you resolve the problem on the spot. Also a major percentage of dissatisfaction is caused due to faulty communication.

A good and friendly refund policy speaks a lot about the establishment, their products and their ethos in customer service and satisfaction.

DOUBLE STANDARDS
A friend’s wife was aghast when she overheard a heated argument about returning a school uniform by a customer. The shopkeeper who seemed nice turned defensive when the customer brought back the school uniform. Justifications soon led to altercations. Volume levels rose, tones definitely changed. In time, communication turned quarrel and ended with the shopkeeper getting abusive towards the customer. The customer who experienced such unimaginable service would definitely not repeat her business but my friend’s wife was equally put off by what she witnessed. She promised to take her school uniform requirements elsewhere.

How would you rate an establishment that is very sweet and promising during a sale but gets defensive with innumerable justifications while handling refunds? The hesitation with which he accepts his goods and parts with the refund directly determines the hesitation the customer will have in repeating his business. Refunds handled well is very commendable and is told to many a friends and family. But a refund handled badly is not only told to friends and family but to foes as well. The establishment is now branded with all possible names that the customer can think of, bringing down the image that it has been striving to build over time.

CONFIDENCE
A refund procedure conducted in an unflinching manner portrays the confidence an establishment has in their products. They know that things do not go wrong with their products. But if for some reason it has come back there is no reason to sweat or get defensive. Yes, an item could have turned defective in transit or it may be an improper fit, a design not as envisaged or just the fact that a customer has second thoughts after purchase. Whatever the reason if you truly treat him as a king you would service his refund as you would to a normal ‘customer’ and not as a ‘cuss-to-me’.

Every opportunity to render good service to a refunding customer is a second chance to reinforce confidence in your establishment and product. By accepting one refund you are ensuring he comes back again and again for more purchases, for now the customer is rest assured that the establishment will always be by his side should things go wrong. This helps increase sales and business.

It takes 10 times the effort and cost, to find new customers than to retain an existing customer. Don’t allow customers to pass by, all because you have been penny-wise pound-foolish.

Handling refunds is that sensitive and volatile area in any business where it takes ages to make a mark but minutes to malign it. The manner you handle refunds shows the confidence you have in your products and in your customers who in turn reciprocate with their loyalty to you and your products.

In the true sense of the word ‘if you REFUND the product this once and satisfy your customer, he will RE-FUND your business for time to come and satisfy you’. Now isn’t that fair enough?

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COMMENTS

Claire

I like this article. A friendly refund policy goes a long way in visiting and buying from a particular shop. If a place had strict refund policies you would think twice before purchasing.

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