Second, put your most technically astute customer care representatives—and potentially augmented by technical personnel from other organizations such as product design and manufacturing—on the product returns cases. Around the holiday season, establish a returns specialist team to manage the technical support phones and arrange for calls to be routed to them to help save sales.
Third, for complex products with exceptionally high return rates, consider subsidizing additional retailer customization, set-up and service offerings. These include installations, data transfers and configuration. Our research, as well as experience with retailers, has shown that for complicated products, additional customization, set-up, and installation services severely reduce the likelihood of returns. The business case has to be developed to find the right balance. But consider paying all or a portion of the cost of those services to be provided by retailers for your products.
Fourth, for your highest return-volume products, help your retailers provide clear, factual and concise selling messages to customers. You should operate under the premise that customers do not purchase products intending to return them. A return is an inconvenience and intrusion on their limited personal time. Do whatever possible to ensure retailer sales personnel provide clear messages to potential buyers about the use and features of your products so that customers fully understand what they’re getting in the box and how to enjoy it.