You’ve just had a decent sized order come in through your website. You wrap it, package it and are just about to log it in for collection by the courier, when you get an email saying the customer wants to cancel. What you do next, is all dependent on the systems you have in place.
Let’s be honest. Order cancellations suck. You had the money, then poof, it’s gone. And you never even had a chance to spend it!
So how can you reduce your order cancellations and keep that money in your cash register?
Before you can do anything, you need to have your terms and conditions in place. Make it super clear how the ordering process works. What is an acceptable reason for cancelling? Is simply finding it somewhere cheaper acceptable? I ask you, should YOU be responsible for someone not doing their due diligence? Price matching, now that’s a conversation for a whole new episode.
You need to spell out, clearly, what happens through each step of the ordering process, so that your customer can be held accountable. If you find you have a high number of cancellations, then have a pop up at checkout that confirms the customer has read the process and agrees to abide by the terms. Put the system in place once, and it’s done.
The onus is then put on the customer to abide by the terms and conditions.
So apart from processes, how else can you reduce cancellations of orders?
Enforce a restocking/cancellation fee.
Make sure you check with your local Fair Trading department to see what you are legally obligated to accept, but if you have no restrictions. Put a $20 or $30 cancellation fee in place. Make the dollar amount a deterrent, based on your average order value. If your average order is $400 or $500, you make want to increase that cancellation amount to $50.
You have to remember, that this is your cash flow, and you may end up having to discount stock in order to clear it out, if it doesn’t sell once the order is cancelled.
Require payment up front for any product that isn’t in stock.
If you have to order something in from a supplier that you wouldn’t ordinarily order, or, if you do an additional order outside of your regular monthly order to get stock in for a customer, make sure that your systems are in place to require full payment upfront, with no change of mind refunds or exchanges.
Put a time frame on it.
Work out your average order processing time, and ensure your terms and conditions reflect your systems, so that if you are going to accept cancellations, they must be received over the phone within a set number of hours or days. That number should reflect how long it will take your staff to make any changes before the order goes to picking and packing. If you pick and pack immediately, don’t allow cancellations.
Outsource the emails
The easiest way to take the pain and emotion out of order cancellations, is to outsource or delegate your emails. Whether it’s by another staff member, or a virtual assistant, once you have your process in place, hand this task over to someone else.
Here are a few phrases you can use for customers that want to cancel orders.
“Our ordering and dispatch service is super efficient and your order is already in processing at the warehouse”
“Our staff are super efficient today and the order has already been logged for dispatch and awaiting pick up from the courier, so can’t be cancelled”
Remember, if a customer wants to cancel their order simply because the found it somewhere cheaper, they aren’t a loyal customer, they’re a price conscious customer, and will only buy from when you discount to the price they want to pay.
The customer you want, I like to call them your ‘A-team’ customers, they aren’t that worried about price. They love what you sell, how you sell it and why you sell it. They’re on-board with your brand. Those people are going to be less hard work and will return, so concentrate on them, by providing a complete customer experience.
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