Now that the 2016 holiday shopping season is over (except for spending gift cards), a vital question to consider from both the customer’s and retailer’s perspective is: What kind of return policy best serves my needs? For many consumers, the answer may be: an unlimited time frame to return a purchase. For many retailers, the answer may be: holding down costs as much as possible. In either case, the return policy is a key element of customer service.
These are some return practices disliked by consumers: [Note: Many good retailers do not follow these practices.]
- An overly short time period to make a return for a full refund.
- The amount of the refund for a gift item when the gift recipient does not have a receipt.
- A discounted refund merely for opening the product’s box.
- The time to process a refund for a return.
- Items excluded from refunds, such as computer software.
- The shipping fee to return a purchase made online.
As a prelude to a YouTube video about returns at L.L. Bean, Business Insider’s Sam Rega recently stated: “Here’s what makes L.L.Bean’s ‘100% satisfaction guarantee’ the best return policy of any retailer.”