Have you ever purchased a product online and tried to return the product in one of the brick and mortar stores? For many customers this can be a very frustrating thing which leads to negative feelings about the company.
The trouble with many companies is that they have not integrated their websites and stores into one system that allows seamless returns. One of the major office supply stores still uses a DOS based system for their internet/phone/special order sales which is totally incompatible with their in-store registers. So when a customer wishes to do a return, it becomes a long draw out process that not only taxes the patience of the customer but the employees as well.
An integrated system is needed that allows the employees to do a return from an internet sale as easily as they could do any other return.
Also, your website should carry more items that you do not carry in the store. An employee should be able to place an order for the customer in an easy fashion that not takes up tons of valuable time.
Here are some suggestions to improve your service:
1. Have an integrated system that makes orders easy to place in store for items that are not carried in the store.
2. Insure that the returns are seamless whether the customer purchased the items in the store, through a special order, or on the internet.
3. Insure that all employees are trained to use the all the system's functions.
4. Do not make the customers and employees feel that you are two separate companies competing against each other. Customer should feel comfortable doing business in the store or on the website including sales and returns. Policies should be in place to make it seamless for the customer. Employees should not have worry about how the products where purchased, only that they can quickly and easy take care of the customer.
In today's competitive marketplace, you have to make using your systems easy for the customers or the employees. Once the customer feels that your services are too difficult to use, they will find some else who will do things better and make things simple.