How your Returns Policy can win or lose you customers

How your Returns Policy can win or lose you customers

How good (or bad) is your returns policy?

Your returns policy may be the last contact a customer has with you. And the last contact with a customer is how they remember you. And you want them to remember you for all the right reasons. If a customer buys from you and then has to make a return, make this experience as easy and as streamlined as you possibly can.

The returns experience can dictate whether your customer will buy from you again in the future or not.

I was an avid fan of two separate companies. Over the years I must have spent thousands with them. But no more. And it was all down to their returns policy and the stress this caused.

Both companies went out of their way to make the process as long and arduous as possible. Both companies failed to refund monies owed for a whole 4 weeks!!!

The first company, when I queried when I would get my money refunded quite simply ignored me. So much to the point that I took to social media to call them out and ask why they wouldn’t answer my emails. Their response? They blocked me!!!!

This was like pouring fuel on the fire! I was livid! I wrote to their head office and reported them to trading standards. I got my money back and a pathetic email saying there were delays with refunds. Not good enough. Even though I love their clothes, I will never in a million years buy from them again.

The second company were almost as bad. After returning a rather expensive item, I didn’t get my refund. I phoned and was told they hadn’t received the parcel. Luckily for me, I had paid for the return to be tracked. When I informed them of this, they said I would have to prove it! I duly copied the tracking and sent it to them. They responded and admitted they had received the parcel but only on that day that I had phoned. I could prove this was not the case and pointed out the tracking clearly showed they had the parcel a week ago and at which point they became rather hostile.

It took another 2 weeks for my refund to come through and my emails asking what was happening were ignored. The sad thing is that they had other items I wanted to order but after this awful experience, again, I will never order from them again.

Why companies do this is beyond me. They need to take a leaf out of another companies book that takes a completely different look at the refund process.

This was a company that I had reason to return an item. Firstly, I had the refund within 48 hours! Secondly, they sent me a note to say it made them sad they hadn’t been able to provide me with something I wanted to keep this time around, but come back, order again and they would give me priority delivery for free as a thank you.

What a difference!

I instantly fell in love with this company. I wanted to do business with them again and buy from them. They made me feel valued and that they genuinely wanted my custom.

Why returns can be good for business

At every stage of the buying process, make the effort to impress your customers, not to leave them feeling cheated and uncared for.

No, of course, you don’t want returns coming back to you but it’s far better to allow customers to make returns in the easiest way possible. If they feel your returns process is too difficult, they may hang on to an item they don’t really want and guess what, this will stop them from buying from you again as research has shown.

However, if you make the returns process easy, customers will feel confident in the knowledge they can get their money back if they receive something they don’t love and are more likely to place larger orders because of this. And they are more likely to keep these items that they wouldn’t have otherwise ordered meaning increased sales for you.

So even though you may lose money on the initial purchase, you have a higher chance of recouping those costs in the future.

What does your return policy look like?

Take a hard look at your returns process from a customer point of view.

  • Does the customer have to pay for the return, or do you cover the cost of this? Yes, there will be a cost to you if you cover the return fee but it can create extra orders for you upfront. Many customers check out the returns policy before buying and won’t even place an order if they have to pay for the return.
  • How long does it take for you to refund the money to the customer? Don’t play delay tactics here. Make it clear how long it will take for the customer to get their money back. Make it as quick as you can to build trust and confidence.
  • Do you offer an exchange service for an alternative item? Look for an opportunity to encourage the customer to receive another item for their money rather than a monetary refund. If you don’t offer free returns, consider offering free shipping on exchanges.
  • What else do you do? If like most companies, I suspect nothing. How about using the example above to turn it into a pleasant experience for the customer and another sales opportunity for you?

Examples of a good and bad returns policy

Who wouldn’t feel confident ordering from Lakeland with an incredible 3-year guarantee!!

Lakeland logo
Lakeland returns policy

On the other hand, Next, even though technically Next give the required 28 days to return an item, they state you must inform them you wish to make a return within 14 days! Legally ok but sneaky perhaps? They also make a charge for a return.

Do you have any experiences of a return that is particularly good or bad? Share below in the comments.

Top 10 MLM Marketing Tips

Top 10 MLM Marketing Tips

MLM or network marketing can be both an incredibly difficult business to crack and an incredibly lucrative one if you crack it. The percentage of people who really do make it though is infinitely small, so you are going to have to be one tough cookie if you want to join that elusive group.

And most ladies that I know who enter this industry simply aren’t prepared for the long haul. Also, unfortunately, there are some incredibly bad practices out there that justify why it gets such a bad name.

These include, amongst many more …

• Setting up a Facebook group for your products and automatically adding people to it without their consent.
• Adding anyone and everyone, whether you know or them or not, as a friend on Facebook to add them to your group as per the point above or to then send them spammy private messages.
• Misleading prospects that you are doing way better than you are to deceptively lure them in as a consultant.
• Promising prospects it will be an easy way to make money from home and the results will be fast and the income huge. You and I both know this just isn’t the case.
• Going into numerous Facebook groups to just sell, sell, sell!!!! It’s yucky!! No one likes it. It is doing you far more harm than good.

At the end of the day, keep it honest, keep it simple, build relationships and be prepared to give it plenty of time

Take a look through my MLM marketing tips below and if you need more help, get in touch.

MLM Marketing Tips

1. Know your target market

Know your target market for who you want to become a team member and who you want to buy your products. These are quite possibly two different people to start with. Who are they, what are their interests and where do they hang out?

2. Understand needs

If you want to sign up team members, understand their needs and what drives them to want to make a change in their life. What problem do they have and how you can solve it?

3. Find out their why

When talking to them, find out their why. What do they want that network marketing could provide for them? Is this financial freedom, time freedom, being in control of having their own business or something else? Find out the driving force that will keep them committed for the long term.

4. Be honest

When recruiting, set realistic expectations. It will take longer to find consultants but the ones who know the truth about the length of time and dedication it takes to make it will stick around for much longer than those who get sugar-coated half-truths.

5. Understand your target market

To sell your products, as above, know your target market and what problem they want to solve. Get specific on the benefits your products provide.

6. Niche down

Become the expert on a particular product range rather than trying to sell all things to all people. If one of your products has helped someone you know cure their eczema, research this subject, know the product and its benefits as to how it helps alleviate the problem. Focus on this in your marketing. If someone says they look and feel 10 years
younger by using skincare products, again, research and focus on this one product range.

7. Focus on one thing at a time

If you try to promote too many products at once you will dilute your message and appeal to no one. (see point 6 above). Focus on products to appeal to your niche and promote to these people. By choosing one key product area, you can join groups that talk about the specific problem your product alleviates and become active in conversations.

8. Build relationships

DON’T try to sell immediately but build relationships so that people start to trust you and then over time you can introduce them to your products. (obviously, if someone is showing a strong interest in a product sell to them)

9. Get creative

Get creative with your marketing message. MLM posts all sound the same. Create something different to stand out from the crowd (within your company limitations)

10. Be consistent and persistent

Be patient and prepared to see this through for the long term. Success will be won through tenacity and perseverance. Create yourself a plan, write this down and stick to it! It will take time but the only way you will see results is to not give up.

Effective Christmas Promotions To Gain Extra Sales

Effective Christmas Promotions To Gain Extra Sales

Are you taking advantage of the Christmas shopping splurge? Especially those last-minute shoppers like me?

Whatever business you are in, think about how you can create interest in people buying what you have as a Christmas gift.  Ok, if you’re an HR expert, this may not be quite so easy but for most small business owners, if you get creative you can come up with something that can be given as a gift.

Here a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Gift vouchers

Easy to create and the perfect gift for any business to promote

Gift voucher

Free gift wrapping service

If you have a physical product, a free gift-wrapping service can be a godsend for those who hate grappling with the Sellotape and scissors.

Gift wrapping

Offer a gift with a purchase

Choose something you have that is of low value for you to provide but of great value to the recipient to entice them to buy.  This could be a sample of your product or a complimentary trial of your service.

Create a gift bundle

Pull together a number of your offering and package together to create a festive gift bundle.  Offer this at a special price that is lower than if all the products were purchased individually.

Gift bundle

Create a Christmas themed product or service

Do you have something that you create a festive theme for?  If you are an artist then it’s easy.  Create some specially designed Christmas cards or gift tags.  If you are in the service-based industry think about something along the lines of a ‘Christmas stress reducer massage’ or similar to say thank you to the person who has prepared the Christmas dinner.

Create a stocking filler

At this time of year, people are always looking for last-minute stocking fillers.  This could be one of your vouchers or a small or lower cost item.

Stocking fillers

Create a Christmas gift ideas page on your website.

So many people get stuck for ideas but have a price bracket in mind for what they want to spend.  Set up a separate page on your website for your products and services and pop them into different pricing brackets.

  • Gifts under £10.
  • Gifts under £50.
  • Gifts under £100 etc.

Make sure you explain the benefits of buying your offerings for the Christmas period.

So there are a few ideas to get you going.  Do you have any of your own?  Leave a comment below with a link and I might just share it for you on social media.

The Benefits Of An FAQ Page And How To Do It Right

The Benefits Of An FAQ Page And How To Do It Right

How an FAQ page can help get you more sales

Do you regularly get asked the same questions over and over again? Set up an FAQ page on your website with answers to the most frequently asked questions and then direct incoming inquiries to this. It will save you a lot of time and effort.

Questions will differ from business to business depending on what your customers or clients ask you.

If you have a brick and mortar shop it may that you need to give directions to your shop or let customers know where the nearest parking is and what it costs. If you have an online business it may be that you need to let clients know about your working hours, the best way to contact you and how to make a booking or cancel an appointment.

To help you get the most out of your FAQ page, use the three top tips below.

Priorise your Q&A’s

You could end up with quite a long list so may sure your prioritse your questions with the most common ones at the top.  If the list really is getting out of hand, think about putting questions into sections.  A section on location could give both the directions and parking information.  A ‘working together’ section could include questions on working hours, terms, and condition, booking, cancelling etc.

When you are giving the answers to the questions listed, make sure you reiterate key benefits to the reader rather than just cold, boring facts.  This FAQ section can be a great selling tool where you really overcome any objections a prospect has so make the most of it.

Keep answers short and sweet

Remember to keep your answers short, sweet and to the point.  You don’t want to go off on a ramble that leaves the poor reader more confused than when they started. Try and keep answers to just one or two sentences where possible.

Consider using video for answers that need more in-depth explanation. Again, keep it as short and sweet as possible but it can be easier to get a point across clearly in a video than trying to explain it in text.

Keep answers updated

Do make sure you diarise to keep your information updated on a regular basis.  You don’t want visitors rocking up to your shop if the nearest car park listed on your site has closed!  Yes, it happens!

It can also be a good idea to include a form at the bottom for readers to ask a question that is not listed and if you are sat at your laptop frequently, think about having a live chat box to answer questions in real time.

 

Do you have an FAQ page on your site already? How about sharing to give us all inspiration?  Pop the link in the comments box below.

 

 

How to stay inspired and motivated

How to stay inspired and motivated

Recently, I posted a challenge in my Facebook group and in my newsletter to find a hero.

The post went:

Who do you admire? Who would you love to be like? Go print off a picture of them and pin by your desk. When you are feeling out of sorts and de-motivated, take a look at their picture and ask yourself what they would do. Put yourself in their shoes and model yourself on their behaviour. They wouldn’t have got to where they did by not putting in the effort so think about the action they would take in your position and go do it.  This simple trick can really help you keep motivated when working from home.

And inevitably, after posting this, I was asked who my hero was and I am going to share that with you now.

Love her or loathe her, my hero is Victoria Beckham. I admire her for her complete determination to build a brand around herself and for winning awards for her work despite the immense criticism she is constantly under. No, she can’t sing, but that didn’t stop her finding something she was really good at with her clothes and perfume range.

I also believe she is the driving force behind her husband’s career and he wouldn’t have gone as far as he did without her. I have huge respect for her in the way she handled the news about her husband’s alleged affair. She conducted herself with dignity and held her head high even though she must have been torn apart inside. Her family means everything to her and she does everything she can to protect them.

Finally, I love her sense of humour. Yes, she looks serious all the time in photos and is criticised for this, but this is part of her branding and her career.  The critics just don’t realise this.  However, in interviews and on other occasions, she is regularly seen letting herself go and having fun at her own expense.

Here’s a pic of her on my vision board.Victoria Beckham

I know that when I am feeling sluggish and feel like just moping around in my lounge pants with no makeup, if I take a look at her picture, I instantly get a boost as I know for Victoria to be successful, she didn’t have such slovenly standards.  I soon get in the right frame of mind again.

This is such a simple trick that really does work.  So, tell me who is your hero?  Who inspires you? Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

 

 

Related post 10 top tips to stay motivated when working from home

Why you may be losing sales and what to do about it

Why you may be losing sales and what to do about it

Is this the missing link in your business?

One reason that may well be losing you clients is that your business is not working as well as you think it is.

When was the last time you checked all the links on your website or social media channels?  Have you actually tried to sign up to your own mailing list to make sure your system works?

Over the past week, I have come across no less than five separate businesses with broken links that the business owners were completely unaware of.  And one of them, I am embarrassed to say, was my own.

I set up a campaign and wondered why no one was signing up.  It was only after I doubled checked everything for the umpteenth time that I realised I had not refreshed my Mailchimp account inside my lead page and therefore all sign-ups were going to an old list with the same name but which was no longer in existence!  Excuse me a moment whilst I hang my head in shame.

Overlooking the obvious

And therein lies the problem.  Sometimes, we simply cannot see the wood for the trees.  We are so close to what we are doing and know how things should work, that we overlook the obvious.  So rather than rely on yourself to check things out, go ask someone wholly unrelated to your business to check your system for you.

I was talking with one of my clients this week who was concerned at the lack of sales.  We went and had a look at her website and everything looked wonderful.  On the front page was a quiz which promised an immediate e-voucher to visitors who completed it.  I took the quiz but nothing happened.  No voucher appeared.  The link at the other end was broken and I also did not appear in the mailing list.

Just stop and consider this for a moment.  Not only were my details not registered so I would never hear from this business, but if I were a genuine customer, I would feel a little cheated and lose trust in this company and possibly wonder if they could deliver on other promises.  Therefore, I would probably be unlikely to buy from them in the future.

Another website I visited left me completely frustrated because no less than three links were broken and just came up with 404 errors so I could not get to the information that was promised to me.

Once again, potential clients coming to this site would leave frustrated and with a poor view of the business.

Are you at a dead end?

And I have lost track of the number of social media posts that have links which when clicked upon go to dead pages or errors.  So frustrating!  And even worse when it is a link on the social media profile of a person or business.

So, go now and get somebody not connected with your business to go check out your website and to look at any social media links you have.  Ask them to find out how easy it was to follow links, did they end up where they expected to, or did they find the process frustrating.

If you haven’t done your checks recently you really could be losing untold numbers of clients.  If you have a WordPress website you can install a broken link checker that will flag up any broken links for you.  If you would like someone to check your website or social media page for broken links and customer experience, come on over to my Facebook group and put in a request.  Either I or one of the other fabulous ladies in the group will be more than happy to do a review for you.

Do it now for your own sanity.