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Managing Returns for Customer Retention

The old adage goes, "A satisfied customer tells no one. A dissatisfied customer tells 10 of his friends." On the Net, a dissatisfied customer can tell thousands of other consumers about a bad shopping experience. And one of the worst problems with a disgruntled customer is dealing with his or her returns.

If you're selling goods on the Net, dealing with returns is one of the ugly facts of life. But it's not just the problem of handling product returns. The returns process itself can cost your e-business a bundle. This headache for you has created an opportunity for others—and a returns solution for your e-business. One that can help your e-business manage its returns easily and less expensively.

Returns are normally counted as part of the cost of doing business, but they should be viewed as a business-building opportunity. The Return Exchange offers a one-stop shop for a company's returns problem. It provides a plug-in that allows e-tailers to link its service to the Returns button for their web site. After clicking the Returns button, a customer fills out an online form and sends the form along with the merchandise to be returned to The Return Exchange's warehouse—not the merchant's. Upon receipt, the merchandise is inspected and prepared for one of three methods of disposal:

  • The product is returned for credit to the manufacturer.

  • The product is repackaged and put back into inventory.

  • The Return Exchange uses its product liquidation process, consisting of using online auction channels to sell returns directly to the consuming public.

It would pay to look into the services of such returns-management companies.

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