In business, we like to focus on the positive, such as growing sales, boosting revenue, and keeping customers happy. But what happens when something goes wrong? You need to have a plan in place for when a product doesn’t live up to expectations and your customers are upset at not getting what they paid for.

Having a quick, responsive return process will go a long way toward repairing the damage done in a customer’s relationship with your company that comes from a faulty product.

A Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) is the most important tool in your arsenal to ensure a smooth return process. You can use RMAs to:

  • Receive returned items
  • Replace products
  • Repair products
  • Send substitute items to customers
  • Refund purchase amounts

If RMAs seem a little intimidating, don’t worry. It’s actually pretty easy to navigate the return process with the help of RMAs, so returns aren’t a maze anymore. Let’s turn the corner and walk through the steps, one by one.

The RMA Process

  1. Create an RMA
  2. Decide if it’s a credit return, replacement, substitution or repair
  3. Create a credit return sales order

There are three different ways this can go for the next three steps:

Credit Return

4a. If it’s a credit return, receive the returned item from the customer

5a. Mark the RMA as resolved

6a. Refund the customer’s payment, and the RMA is fulfilled

Replacement, Substitution, or Repair with Cross Shipping

4b. If it’s a replacement, substitution, or repair, immediately cross ship an item to the customer

5b. Receive the returned item from the customer

6b. Mark the RMA as resolved, and it is fulfilled

Replacement, Substitution, or Repair Without Cross Shipping

4c. If it’s a replacement, substitution, or repair, wait until you receive the returned item from the customer

5c. Mark the RMA as resolved

6c. Ship an item to the customer, and the RMA is fulfilled

Amazing

Returns don’t have to be a huge problem if you have a solid RMA process. RMAs are tools you can keep coming back to in order to speed up returns and ensure customers get what they want as fast as possible.

I think you’ll find that, rather than being a maze to navigate, RMAs are amazing at keeping your customers happy and saving your precious time.

Many thanks to Robert Lockard for sharing his insights.