For many companies like yours, the very first item that should be on your “to do” list is adding a dedicated reverse logistics team.

Whether that team comes from within your organization or you find extra help from a company that specializes in returns management, the results can spell huge leaps for your customer service.

Why Reverse Logistics Matter to Customer Service

You want to provide your visitors with increasingly good customer service, but there’s only so much you can do if you continue to focus your efforts at your front end, where orders are processed, and ignore the back end, where they’re returned or corrected.

In a recent white paper by McKinsey & Company, online customers revealed that they continue to rank the returns process among the most important. That being said, these are just a few ways that good returns management can influence your customer service and your bottom line:

  1. Giving customers credit for their returns sooner. One of the most frustrating parts of returning an item to many shops is that it can take an impossibly long time to get credit for items that have never been worn or even opened.Often, customers return items that are simply the wrong color or size and want an immediate replacement, not to have to wait indefinitely to replace a gift or special purchase. A faster reverse logistics response means a faster credit and a much happier customer.
  2. Making customers feel like you’ll be available to fix their problems. Many online shoppers are wary of eCommerce stores that either don’t have clear returns policies or have terrible reputations for returns handling.It’s not as if they go into transactions assuming things will go badly, but sometimes a product arrives damaged and it’s no one’s fault. A strong commitment to reverse logistics as a part of your customer service effort goes a long way to repairing damaged customer attitudes and enticing new shoppers.
  3. Ensuring a smooth returns process. Returning a product through the mail is one of the most frustrating things ever. A shopper has to find a place to drop the parcel, possibly even having to arrange home pick-up if they’re a busy mom or have a disability that makes it hard to get in and out of the house on a whim.Once the package is on its way, that same customer is watching for updates breathlessly until the day it finally arrives at your building and you give the customer a credit. If you can create a hassle-free experience by doing things like including a free shipping label and allowing shoppers to return their items directly to one of your stores, you’ll decrease the hassle factor inherent to returns and create happier customers.

Reverse logistics and your customer service aren’t separate things, they should really be regarded as two sides of the same coin. After all, you want your customers to be happy whether they’re buying or they have the misfortune to need to return an item. Both can be accomplished with ease and grace, but you’ll need to focus hard on having those mechanisms in place now before it’s too crazy to add anything new to your system.