Reverse Logistics includes many different topics, however, Iíve got a great story on returns, repairs and customer service: My sister recently called me about an issue she had with a retailer and manufacturer. She had bought her 10 year-old an electric scooter for his birthday back in June. He rode it one time, then the second time it suddenly just stopped working. Because it was still so new, she still had the box to the product.† On the box it said if a return was needed to contact the Manufacturer NOT the Retailer. So she did.
She contacted the manufacturer, and after several tries, she finally got someone to do some troubleshooting with her, none of which worked. They told her they would call her back to find a resolution. Weeks went by, and she reached out again. After another troubleshoot, they realized a part had gone bad and needed to be replaced.† At this time, they told her they would send her the replacement part, and she would need to take the inside of the unit apart, to replace the broken piece.
She did not feel comfortable doing this herself. There were some electrical pieces connected, so she told them she would feel better if they would make the repair themselves. She was told that was not an option, and that she would have to make the†repair herself, or return the item to the store. She even asked for them to just send her a whole new unit, and they said that also was not an option.
At this point, so much time had passed, that it was past the time frame of the storeís return policy. She decided to see if the Retailer could help since the Manufacturer couldnít. After several chats at the customer service counter, and finally a manager, she was told they would return the product for store credit, which she agreed with since she could do other shopping at the store.††
Unfortunately, this is an all too common practice in the returns/repair world with companies who havenít quite figured out their Reverse Logistics best practices. And itís unfortunate. She decided to never buy a product from that manufacturer again, and will never contact a manufacturer as opposed to a retailer again when it came to a similar situation. But the several phone calls and emails did not make her feel like a valuable customer, and she only got more and more frustrated.††
At RLA we encourage our Members to find Best Practices to avoid situations like this. Customer Loyalty is a big factor to avoiding loss, and it shouldnít be ignored. In this edition youíll find additional stories on Customer Loyalty - and be sure to check out our committee meetings and our events page for our RLA Conf & Expo in Vegas when topics like this will be discussed.
RL Magazine Editor