Tuesday Morning CX Thoughts – Many Happy Returns

Make it right the first time 

It is not often that I have to return an item I’ve purchased. I like to call most of my purchases “intentional” in that my shopping trips have a specific purpose in mind. Unless it is something I know I can use for other purposes (2” x 4” lumber is my downfall), I have detailed specifications for items I purchase. It saves me a trip back to the store for a return, saves the effort of a clerk needing to process the return, and keeps the accounting books clean (in my business, refunds are a no-no).  

However, over the weekend, I goofed.  I had measured at least three times, researched intensely, and found the item that met the exact specifications as I understood them.  I was looking forward to seeing all my work come together as I picked up the bin that would fit perfectly in my project. I brought it home, went to place the bin in the designated spot, and….oops…it didn’t fit. Two small grips to help secure the lid at a half-inch each made it too big.

Should we make failure easy?

 Who is at fault? I measured correctly and researched extensively. The store, for their part, accepted the description from the manufacturer – certainly, they can’t research every product. The manufacturer detailed the specifications they felt were most important, no doubt based on their own market research.  

No one is at fault really, but that didn’t change the fact that I had to take another trip to the store to return the item. A process that usually involves long lines, a lot of questions, and frustration. At least that is how I remember it – it has been a while. Instead of what I expected, I had an easy experience, it took less than five minutes.  Simple, easy, and quick.

With my operations background, I completely understand the need to scrutinize returns, but the customer also wants an easy process.  

Are you listening?

Undoubtedly, this smooth operation was put together after listening to many customers and stakeholders. I have personally been involved in this retailer’s customer experience management program in the past, so I recall the discussion on whether we should shorten the survey by excluding questions about the Return Policy.  A return is usually just seen as another transaction by most involved (companies and customers), but it is actually a separate touchpoint in the customer journey

It may be seen as helpful to ask a question about this in a typical transactional survey, but those who are impacted by this journey should be responding to a customer experience survey specific to that touchpoint. Even the closed-loop customer feedback must cater to such differences and get appropriate feedback. Along with that and tools like our QuestionPro NPS+ where you can get quick insights on root cause where applicable.  It doesn’t mean that you need to have a measurement for every touchpoint in a journey, but it is important to know which ones should be measured – which are important to those who go through the process.  If you do that, your customers may have many happy returns.