A Queue for Many Happy Returns

A Queue for Many Happy Returns

Last updated: January 22, 2015Perry Kuklin

It's that time of year again, when everyone's favorite well-meaning in-law, grandmother, or uncle gives a gift that wasn't exactly on the wish list. We love them, but unfortunately that gift must be returned! The thankful-but-reluctant recipients of your customers’ gifts will head to your store, perhaps a bit guilt-ridden, to conduct their returns. This is a great opportunity for you, as a business, to convert these guests into happy new customers. But it won’t be possible if the return process is long winded and frustrating. Here are a few ideas that will help improve the return process and leave you with a happy guest, and maybe even a new customer.

1. Dedicate a queue (or queues) for returns.

The first step to satisfying guests who are returning items to your store is to help them feel welcome. Dedicating a service queue for returns can not only give these guests the feeling that you care about their transaction, but it also keeps your purchase lines free and clear for other customers.

2. Clearly label the path.

Start from the moment a guest enters your store. Make it easy for them to find the returns department and help them navigate through the store to their destination. Directional signage is an easy way to accomplish this task. At the head of the queue place stanchions with post-top signage to designate where the line forms.

3. Monetize the return queue.

Consider merchandising the queue to include must-have items or impulse buys. This way you can get the customer thinking about what they could spend their return credit on or better yet, turn a return into an exchange or up-sell on the spot.

4. Get them started.

If you have a long queue, dedicate a representative to walk the queue, making sure guests have the required items to complete a return, answering any questions about their returns, suggesting items for exchange, and ultimately speeding the process up once the guest reaches the register.

5. Offer positive reinforcement.

Let these potential new customers know that you care about their needs and that their time is important. Convey through signage that displays estimated wait times or simply acknowledges their time is important as they enter your return department queue. Holiday returns are stressful enough as it is. With the addition of an organized return queue to your business and a few simple prompts to reassure the guest that you care about them and their time, you will be well on your way to converting guests into customers.

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