In a perfect world, all of your products are delivered on time to each and every one of your beaming customers, in pristine condition, with all of their parts intact, and are exactly what they wanted. However, in the real world, sometimes products can be damaged in shipping or may not operate correctly and sometimes products may not fit your customer’s visions as they had hoped they would. According to a VendorSeek.com article, a recent Supply Chain Consortium survey found that in most cases, individual consumers and corporate buyers “blamed themselves when vendors asked about product returns.” Regardless of the reason, sometimes products need to be returned or exchanged. On both sides of this equation, returns and exchanges aren’t fun, taking valuable time away from your customer care and sales teams, often while frustrating your clientele.
Phase V third-party logistics return process is fully integrated into our turnkey system
At Phase V Fulfillment, we concentrate on each and every part of your product handling, from picking and packing, to shipping and delivery, to exchanges and returns. Our high-tech, easy to use turnkey solutions help speed up the processing of returns and exchanges as online shoppers connect to our system, integrated seamlessly with our vendor’s online shopping cart. We strive to keep our return and exchange process moving smoothly through all channels, whether returned by your customer or your retail outlet.
Customer Service Specialists are dedicated to processing return orders in a timely fashion
Starting with our 24/7 call center, Phase V guarantees a response to customers’ inquiries and questions within a 24-hour period. We understand that retailers and individual shoppers require flexibility when it comes to making changes to their orders at any point in the ordering and shipping process. Our customer service management team is committed to expediting returns and exchanges with efficiency and care.
Our outstanding customer communications help grow your brand and promote brand loyalty towards lasting customer relationships. Exceptional customer care starts with robust training and our customer representatives are thoroughly trained in your specific product guidelines, according to your brand. Adhering to your custom-tailored, reverse process flow and defective return specifications, we strive to protect products that can be resold.
Retailers also benefit from Phase V’s capacity to process large volume returns
We handle large volume returns from small companies, as well as big box stores. Phase V will provide accurate counts of items returned and confirm information with the client. Once the returned item has reached our facilities, it can take up to three days to process. When your products require refurbishment, Phase V uses an advanced returns processing protocol to execute the mutually agreed upon guidelines.
Outsourcing your fulfillment to Phase V gives you and your clients a 24/7 contact center for assistance with all your customer service needs. The call center will help you manage your entire return product replacement and refurbishment process.
Whether customers selected the wrong product or simply changed their minds, modern product fulfillment managers recognize the challenges of doing business in a buyers’ market. Shoppers and corporate buyers both demand the flexibility to make changes to orders, at any stage of the order fulfillment process. Success under these conditions requires a commitment to handle returned goods with the same care as original orders.
Applying Direct Fulfillment Processes to Returns Management
Most retailers and manufacturers track return rates to help manage their product lines more effectively. For instance, a low-cost product with a high rate of return might be scrapped altogether from a company’s offering. On the other hand, a critical product with high production costs and high margins may require changes to manufacturing, logistics, and packaging. Traditionally, order fulfillment centers provide limited returns management services that include reason code tracking and postage due processing.
Successful retailers and manufacturers have leveraged the power of product fulfillment principles to improve their margins. Retailers often aggregate returned merchandise, forwarding pallets of unwanted product to manufacturers in exchange for replacement product or for invoice credit. Manufacturers must find ways to process these inbound returns while maintaining compliance with international shipping and accounting standards. Unpacking customer-shipped boxes and verifying product integrity requires a different skill set than picking and packing live orders. Increasingly, both kinds of companies rely on third-party fulfillment companies or facilities that specialize in processing returns.
Integrating Product Rework into Fulfillment Center Operations
Retailers have also discovered another way to turn effective order fulfillment operations into a profit center. Americans love bargains, especially during weak economic times. Therefore, expert fulfillment services facilities offer product rework services to corporate customers. Rework professionals restore returned products back to sellable condition. Some fulfillment companies operate centralized facilities where skilled technicians perform these tasks for multiple clients, reducing the cost of reworking product.
In most cases, original retail packaging is replaced with alternative boxes that serve as efficient storage and shipment cases. Electronic devices can be rebuilt, if necessary, and recertified by skilled professionals. This product can be sold again to customers as “refurbished,” “reconditioned,” or “returned” at a significant discount. The cost of rework services performed at fulfillment centers can be included in the markup on these items. Online “outlet” or “clearance” stores allow manufacturers to reach customers directly, without causing brand damage. Manufacturers can even rework large quantities of product for larger aftermarket clients, such as discount stores or overseas resellers.
Maintaining customer loyalty while maximizing profits requires an open-minded approach to managing returns. Even though attempts to reduce returns will net some small gains for companies, brainstorming effective returns management solutions preserves more margin in the long run. Partnering with fulfillment centers that excel at handling returned product is an increasingly important step toward success for any company that sells finished goods.
Contact Phase V Fulfillment to discuss ways we can make the returns process more efficient for your brand.