One of the most upsetting events that customers encounter is inconsistent policies especially toward returns. If you are a chain and have multiple locations, this can be created by different managers having different policies. This can also be created in a single store if all managers and the supervisors are not on the same page.
Here are some suggestions to improve this situation:
1. If you are a chain make sure that all your stores follow the same policy. Put the policy in writing and make sure all the management follows the policy.
2. If you are a single store make sure all the people in the store that make return decisions are on the same page. Write down the policy and ensure that all employees are trained properly on the why, what where of the policies.
3. While you do want to protect yourself against fraudulent returns, make sure that your return policies are not so stringent that you are sending customers to your competitors.
4. Go to all of your competitors and find out what there return policy is. Go even further and buy products from the store and see of they follow their policies. See how they react to the returns and if they try "save the sale".
5. Make returns seamless whether the customers has purchased in your bricks and mortar store or purchased on line. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than to buy something on line and not being able to return in the local store or worse, the store telling the customer there is nothing we can do or there a separate operation.
6. Many customers think that if they go "over the heads" of regular employees management will do what they want. Once again you must have a policy in place that not only allows the customer to fell as though they are being treated right, and gives the employee the knowledge that management is behind them. Once again the best way to make this happen is have a customer friendly return policy.
Once again, one of the biggest frustrations customers have with stores is inconsistent policies. Work as a team to build workable policies that will work for the company but also work for the customer.