All items returned for alleged defects in quality must be carefully examined to determine both the cause of the problem and a customer-pleasing remedy. For starters, be sure to offer customers a quick and easy process for explaining the problem. The key to benefiting from this process is fully understanding the reason(s) for the return and then taking the appropriate steps to address it from the perspective of both your customer and your company's internal processes.

Assign a Tracking Number to Each Complaint
Assign a unique tracking number to each complaint. Associate the tracking number with the original customer order number so that you can easily access the full history of the order in question. You don't want to lose the complaint (and by extension, the customer) in the shuffle. If the complaint results in a return, make sure the relevant return information (item ID, date of return, and reason for return) is added to the customer file. By tracking quality issues, you can determine complaint trends and their causes more readily.

Determine Quality vs. Cost of Issue Remediation
If complaint resolution increases your cost per item, adjust prices as necessary. Remember that every quality-related problem carries its own price tag. The first cost is lost sales from bad word of mouth; and dissatisfied e-commerce customers can sour many potential customers with the click of a mouse. You may offer the lowest-priced widget on the market, but that's not saying much if it has a 20% return rate.

Fix the Issue Promptly
Prompt and courteous handling of customer complaints will go a long way toward repairing customers' faith in your business and desire to continue to work with your company. Give your customer service representatives the power to fix problems themselves.

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