There are ways to avert increasing product returns. For now let us accept there will be some product returns and the need of the hour is to manage the entire process more efficiently and effectively. There are standard and ingenious ways to improve product returns management. In here we shall take a few standard best practices and blend them with some smart ways to improve your product returns management strategy.
• Work on the pace of product returns management. It is easier said than done but still doable. A good way to start is to automate all decisions that do not necessarily require multilevel approval. Authorization can always take time, especially if there are multiple decisive personnel involved. You should go for automated workflows. Product returns management is not just about an aggrieved or disappointed customer and some failure in order fulfillment or the company going wrong somewhere in its supply chain, inventory management or all of these. Product returns management has to factor in the value of the item, the materials, the scope of repairs or recirculation and hence resale, the source of return, customer service, the clauses pertaining to returns or exchanges and potential retention of the consumer. Automated workflows, relevant labels, preapproved or preaddressed attachments and user profiles will simplify product returns management and thereby speed up the whole process.
• Product returns management would become more efficient and predictable if there is optimum visibility. Information is crucial and it should not remain inaccessible for those involved in the day-to-day systemic processes of managing returns. There should be online portals and tools to help assigned personnel to authenticate orders, returns, users and other relevant information. These portals should be integrated. The tools should be available to everyone involved in returns management. Carriers should work closely with the team, either captive or outsourced. There should be automated notifications. These will expedite the process of product returns management.
• Finally, product returns management should be an impeccably controlled process. Nothing can be left to chance or ambiguity. All processes must be in sync. All departments involved should have synergy. Challenges should be identified at a broader level and every specific issue should be addressed in the right context. Regulatory compliance, reconciliation, final disposition and quality assurance are unavoidable and hence there should be impeccable control and proactively assertive steps taken to ensure there are no unforeseen and untoward developments in any of these aspects.