Monday, April 8, 2019

Dropshipping - What should I Do If Wrong Item Was Sent to Customer?

In dropshipping, we cannot be 100% sure that the items are processed right.  There are instances when wrong items are sent to the customer possibly because of some reasons.  We want to know as a dropshipper, how can we handle if the wrong item was sent to the customer? We will talk about it more as we go along.

What should I do if the wrong items were sent to a customer?  As a dropshipper, you can either process a return, refund or a replacement.  First, a return policy has to be set forth when setting up your dropshipping store.  This will be your benchmark when you have cases when a wrong item was processed.

As a customer, there are times when you are not satisfied with the products that you ordered online.  When this happens, most likely the customer will contact the merchant and request for either a refund, return or replacement.  But with dropshipping, we process the items on behalf of our suppliers. The process would work the same, but instead of contacting the supplier, you will process the refund yourself.

First, let us talk about setting up a return policy for dropshipping.  This is important because this will protect you from customers getting a refund or return due to invalid reasons.  When I say “invalid” these are reasons that are not eligible for a refund, or returns. You can process are refund or return if the items fall on the following acceptable reasons.

Broken Items
The items that we deliver to our customer were ordered from other locations.  Hence it is inevitable at times that due to improper packaging or handling, the items will arrive at your customer as damaged or broken.  As a customer, it is your right to request a refund or return if the item was delivered damaged.

Defective Items
Earlier we defined items that fall under the category of “broken items”.  On the other hand, an item would be considered as defective if the item was delivered to the customer in good condition but is not functioning properly.  We can consider defective if the item has mechanical malfunctions, or the features were not working.

Does not match with the item description
In dropshipping, we are expected to process multiple orders.  At times, there may be an oversight causing the mismatch of descriptions posted on the store.  This could be a mismatch on the size, color, weight or dimensions. It could also be a feature that does not match with the description posted.  

The item never arrived
This does not need much of an explanation.  This only means that the item you order did not arrive as agreed on the order made.  If the item you order did not arrive at the customer, then definitely the customer may be eligible for a refund.  

As a dropshipper, how do you handle customer refunds and returns?

After we discussed the reasons for a refund or return, now we want to talk about how we a refund or return is being handled. We are all customers.  Definitely, one way or the other we may have been in a situation mentioned above. A key to handling the refund would be to take care of the refund as to how you want to be treated as a customer.  Let us discuss in detail how we can manage customer refunds or returns.

Create a Refund/ Return Policy
This goes first on the list.  As a retailer, this policy needs to be established along with setting up your store.  Why? Because a return policy will protect your business from invalid reasons for returns and refund.  While it is true that customers are always right, some customers may go overboard and abuse the policy.  If you have a refund policy in place, customers are guided accordingly. This works well two ways, customers and the business are both beneficial.

Ask Questions
It is the customers right to request for a refund.  To address this concern, the first thing you have to do is to ask questions.  This will save you and resolve the customer’s concern properly. By asking the customers politely, you will know what the customers want and gather necessary details for the request.  Remember that when you ask, you have to be polite, apologetic and use positive word choices. At the end of the day, we want to keep our customers satisfied.

Offer resolution
Based on the customer's responses to your questions, you can either process a refund or replacement.   You can negotiate with the customers and be creative in addressing the customer’s request. You can also offer compensation depending on how aggravated the customer was with the purchase.

What steps to take when handling customer returns:

Ask the customer to take a picture of the item.  Regardless of the reason for refund, always ask for proof.  Of course, if the customer said he did not get the product then no need to ask for a picture.

Open a dispute based on the information you gathered.  Ask for the order number, date purchased, and the amount.  This will help you narrow down the search for the item in dispute.  

Get the details of the dispute, if it falls on the acceptable reasons, then process a replacement or refund.  Just note that refunds should be done within 14 days when the order was received.

Related Questions:

What will you do with the items that were returned?  
  • If not defective or broken, you can send it to another customer buying the same product.  
  • You may use it as photo samples on your social media account and advertisements.
  • You can use it as a giveaway item to promote your products.
How much allowable time do you need for the refund/ return?
The normal time allowance for processing a refund is up to 14 days.  This is to provide customers ample time to receive the items and raise a request for a refund in case the items were found to be defective, broken or incorrectly processed.

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