Imagine you’re eating your breakfast in the morning. You’re looking over your social media to see if anything new happened while you were sleeping. Suddenly you see a post about your business and how a customer had a hard time returning a product that was damaged.

You look at the comments and find this isn’t the first time your company has had reverse logistics issues. Now you need to go to work and find out if your business has returns management problems, a systems issue, or another completely different issue. Could outsourcing to reverse logistics experts be the answer to your problems?

Negative customer reviews on social media aren’t the only red flags that you have reverse logistics problems. In fact, there are many key indicators you might need to rethink your returns strategy. A simple and painless customer return experience is as important as the purchasing experience and contributes to customer loyalty.  Here are the nine signs that it’s time for your business to outsource those expensive and complex reverse logistics.

1. High Error Rates

It may be time to reevaluate how your business runs if your employees are having to correct errors often. No one is perfect, but high error rates in shipping, receiving, and stock counts are a major red flag that something is wrong with your strategy. This is often a sign of employees juggling too much or too quickly. In these cases, you might want to consider automating certain processes or hiring extra help.

The last thing you want is a rushed employee telling a customer the wrong thing while explaining the return policy or misplacing a returned item that could have been resold.

unhappy customer

2. Unhappy Customers

The biggest sign that something is wrong with any part of your business is unhappy customers. In the case of reverse logistics, this might mean lost customers because they can’t find your return policy. It might mean certain employees aren’t able to handle returns properly.

No matter what’s causing this issue, unhappy customers are the one thing you really don’t want for your business. It’s always best to get to the bottom of this issue quickly so customers stay happy and become recurring revenue drivers.

return management

3. Returns Management Problems

This one can be slightly harder to identify. The best way to tell if this is an issue is if employees point fingers at each other when something goes wrong. The main problem here is usually that employees simply haven’t been given clear instructions on who’s supposed to be doing which jobs.

If your managers and staff don’t know who is doing what, then you have a returns management issue.

Returns management problems can stem from problems in communication between employees or with customers. In many cases, one employee thinks another responded to an email or processed returned merchandise. Consistent breakdowns in communication can lead to major headaches and lost revenue.

4. High Employee Turnover Rates

High employee turnover can lead to a vicious cycle for your business. Every time an employee quits you need to slow down your processes to train a new person. 

In the case of returns, this can mean delayed responses to customers looking to make returns. It can also mean that information and even items get lost completely. It’s the perfect storm for something important to be forgotten. 

So, if you’re struggling with turnover, it might be time to find a partner who can help you navigate returns logistics.

customer question

5. Many Customers Asking Questions

Your employees often have duties to attend to other than answering phones or emails. If your team members spend a bulk of their days answering customer questions, then you should look into what information your customers have readily available on your website. You should also look into how it’s presented. Can you create new content for your website that more clearly explains how returns work? A quick explainer video, graphic or visual representation of the workflow is perfect for conveying information effectively.

 In the case of returns, most customers will make a decision to buy based on a company’s return policy. If that information isn’t clearly visible on your website, then customers either have to call and ask about it or move on entirely. Neither is good for the efficiency of your business. Read more about how you can use Returns Management to drive customer loyalty and improve customer experience.

6. Reverse Logistics Issues

It’s an odd thing when a return package gets lost on its way to you once or twice a year. It’s a bad thing when this happens once or twice a week. 

This can be the result of various issues. The first is that the courier you use is simply unreliable. It could also be that your address is wrong or incomplete on most of the packages. Whatever the case, this is a problem you want to identify and resolve quickly.

7. Frustrated Employees

This is a simple case of examining the general atmosphere of your business. Your employees’ attitudes will often reflect how well your business is doing from the inside out. If your employees are happy, in many cases this means your customers are happy too.

For reverse logistics, this means that your employees aren’t ripping their hair out trying to figure out why a refund hasn’t been credited to an account. They spend less time worrying about where a lost package is and more time managing your business.

And if your employees are happy, then there’s a lower chance of high turnover rates for your business. If this sounds like your business, you may want to look into what you can do to fix the problem.

8. Slow Process

If your returns process moves slowly, it means one of a few things:

  • The first is that your employees are taking too long double-checking their work before moving on to their next task.
  • The next is that your employees are needing to wait for managers to make decisions that they could be making themselves.
  • Or you have insufficient or incorrect information in your returns management system that is contributing to the delays.

In a returns department, this means packages sitting on shelves waiting to be processed for weeks. It means customer emails aren’t getting answered in a timely fashion. And worst of all it means lost customers and revenue. Streamlining your process is a must if you want to maintain your margins and reach your growth goals.

9. Repetitive Process

A repetitive process means bored employees. It means employees get used to a certain rhythm and don’t always pay attention to the task that they’re working on. This can be as simple as requiring employees to enter the same information in multiple places. Redundancy will threaten attention to detail, and when you’re trying to run a successful returns policy, detail is everything.

When people are making returns, this might mean an employee accidentally issues a monetary refund when a replacement item has already been shipped to the customer. It might mean putting returned items in the wrong place.

Automation helps to solve this problem. If a task is repetitive, then chances are it can be automated so your employees can get to work on more important tasks.

Outsource Returns Management Problems Today

If you believe that your business could benefit from outsourcing expensive reverse logistics issues, then you need a trusted and expert partner.  G2 Reverse Logistics helps businesses with returns management problems every day. We handle the hard parts of returns so you can repair and refurbish your business’s reputation.

Our ‘business rules’ based engine allows you to sit back and focus on customer satisfaction rather than worry about if packages are coming in or not. So what are you waiting for? Check us out and see if outsourcing your reverse logistics issues and returns management issues can help your brand and customer experience. For a detailed guide on how to choose a Returns Management provider that can add to your bottom line, read our whitepaper.


Written By:

VP Business Development

Tom Lee has spent his career helping clients build and implement supply chain technology solutions instrumental to driving business strategy and results. His work spans a multitude of roles and industries, and his client experience includes international clients in Fortune 100 companies with a concentration in 3PL, Pharmaceutical, Health Science, and High Tech. He has been able to use his engineering and business backgrounds to deliver technology solutions instrumental to client strategies, at the same time fostering a growth model within his own organizations. Tom’s primary responsibilities at G2 Reverse Logistics are business development and growth strategies.  Prior to joining G2, Tom was co-founder and president of DMLogic which was a supply chain technology company, with a focus on warehouse management systems.  There Tom was able to oversee the creation of a Dutch subsidiary and also guide DMLogic through an acquisition by Körber Supply Chain.