No seller would want a customer to return a product, whether due to the buyer changing his mind, an improperly fulfilled order, or a defect.
However, returns are sometimes inevitable and handling them in a timely and systematic manner would prove immensely advantageous to keeping your operations running efficiently, and more importantly, ensuring customer satisfaction.
Creating a Return Merchandise Authorization Process
Also known as RMA, industry expert reverselogix.com notes that this involves specific steps to you should follow when a customer returns an item in exchange for a refund, repair, or replacement within the warranty period.
This means that you must efficiently verify returns in advance so that you could take the most appropriate action and ease the entire process.
In general, your RMA process must include gathering information, verifying return eligibility, the actual return of the item, issuing a replacement or credit, or disposal or repair of the returned item. Without a streamlined procedure, you will end up wasting unnecessary time and energy just to process returns.
But it is not adequate to get this process on paper; you should implement it, carry it out the most efficient way possible, and regularly tweak it for improvement. That said, look to the following best practices for effective RMA management:
- Designate a CSR or customer service representative that will process RMAs every single day.
- Create a simple process that enables efficient collaboration between quality, accounting, customer service, logistics, and engineering departments.
- Place returned items in a separate place until your engineering department could review them and make a report. Your engineering department must likewise be capable of identifying trends in quality complaints based on commonly returned items and determining if they could undergo repair, reuse, or recycling.
- Include reference numbers to all customer correspondences.
- Have your quality control and accounting departments inspect and approve returned items that exceed a certain amount before issuing credit or replacements.
- Invest in an automated RMA management system for efficiently and accurately capturing information and processing returns.
A well-oiled return merchandise authorization process would increase efficiency and mitigate risks, aside from setting expectations for return policies and warranty guidelines.