How to Stop the Exploitation of Your Return/Cancellation Policy
As a small business, you understand your clients’ and customers’ financial restraints, and your consideration towards them is one of the many reasons people like doing business with you. However, there comes a point in time where people may take advantage of a relaxed return or cancellation policy, causing loss for your business. Not everyone takes advantage, but how can you reduce returns or cancellations across the board? Keep reading to find out.
Set Up a Policy
Regardless of the industry you work in, it’s crucial to have a policy in place. The first and probably most essential aspect is the time frame. If you offer services, consider how long you would need to book a new appointment in that time slot – 24 hours, two days, etc.? Once you have this figured out, start stating it every time you book an appointment and have it written in a contract. If someone isn’t going to make it to their appointment, they probably know this ahead of time and simply forgot to cancel. This policy encourages them to inform you ahead of time so that you don’t have to waste your time waiting for a client to show up. If you offer goods instead of services, consider instead the time frame in which the product is still viable or in-stock. Most stores offer a 30-day return policy, which is a great place to start unless you provide more niche or seasonal products.
Charge a Cancellation or Return Fee
You hate charging these fees just as much as you hate losing a client or customer, but at the end of the day, if everyone canceled or returned their products, you would have no steady source of income. A cancellation or return fee is an unfortunate but necessary way to prevent customers and clients from taking advantage of your customer service. If your services are offered on contract, consider a termination fee that is a small percentage of the total amount. If people are returning products, you could offer store credit instead of a fee to ensure that the money continues to be spent at your location.
Although you love your customers and clients and don’t want to ruin a good relationship, it’s important to set healthy boundaries with a return or cancellation policy. Just be sure to make everyone aware of your policy change and have it documented for future reference. Have any questions? Share them with us in the comments below.