What does your business do when a customer or client orders a product or service and then for some reason, cancels or changes their order? How does this affect your bottom-line? Cancellations and order changes can sometimes disrupt your business or create additional expenses. Most businesses want to keep their customers and clients happy. To do so, you need to give your customer the tools to make a wise purchasing decision; to commit to doing business with your company.
For starters, you should be clear about your terms up-front. Do not be so eager to make a sale that you neglect to mention any additional costs or penalties a customer may face if there are changes. Detail your refund or return policy verbally and in writing. Before asking a customer to sign on the dotted line, ask if they understand all the terms.
Misunderstandings can be avoided if you have a written agreement, such as a contract, purchase order or signed proposal. But do not depend on the client to read the fine print - make sure you clearly point out the penalties for changes or cancellations. If you do not ask your customers for a signed agreement, then send them an email or letter confirming the terms of your oral agreement. If the purchase was a special deal or limited time offer, be sure you explain that to the customer and let them know, in writing, when the offer expires. That will prove helpful if the customer demand the same price months later.
If you are in a business where customers are likely to make changes for an order, be sure to devise a clear policy relating to those changes. Your policy should state what types of changes will incur a charge and which will be free. That should make it easier to both accommodate and to charge the customer when they make changes outside the policy.
Be careful not to set the wrong precedent. Do not let your eagerness to develop an ongoing account allow you to set patterns that are unreasonable to prospective customers or that will prove difficult to break. Train staff members on company return, refund and other policies to make certain they are adhered to with new and existing customers.