When you get that dreaded email that says, “I don’t like this, please refund my money…” what do you do?
Most marketers make the refund and forget about it.
But what you might not realize is that a refund request can be the perfect opportunity to create a customer for life, if you handle it correctly.
Remember, your objective is to save the customer, not necessarily to save the sale. If you can do both, then that’s terrific.
And your goal is to fix the problem, not the blame. That is, don’t blame your customer or yourself. These things happen for a myriad of reasons. And you want people to speak positively about your products, not ‘win’ arguments.
Here’s what you need to be able to say, regardless of who is ‘at fault:’
You’re sorry it wasn’t a good fit
You want to do what you can to help, because that’s what you’re there for – to help the customer
There are two variations of communications to send out to customers seeking a refund, based on whether or not they are eligible for a refund according to your refund policy.
Throughout the process, keep in mind that your customer is likely in ‘fight or flight’ mode.
Think back to when you wanted a refund and you’ll understand the feeling: You’re ready to fight to get that refund if you have to.
But nothing defuses that fight or flight response faster than…
“I’m sorry. How can I help?”
Now then, let’s say you’ve received a refund request, and you’ve determined your customer is eligible for a refund based on your policy and the timeframe of when they ordered.
Here are the key points to keep in mind to keep your customer:
You’re going to acknowledge that they are eligible for a refund. Until you say this, your customer isn’t going to hear anything else you say. So lead with this, and they’ll relax enough to read the rest of your email or listen to you if you’re on the phone.
You’re going to reinforce their desired result. Your customer bought your product for a reason – likely a problem they need solved. They still have the problem, and they still need a solution.
You’re going to offer an alternative solution. You’re now teaming up with the customer to find an effective solution to their problem. You’ve gone from being adversaries to working side by side as partners to fix their problem.
Lastly, you’re going to set a timer for an automatic refund. This emphasizes that you are sincere about that refund, and that you are more interested in helping them find a solution than holding on to their money.
Here’s an email template you can use. Be sure to thoroughly modify it to fit your situation:
Hi [First Name], I’m really sorry to hear that [product name] wasn’t a fit for you.
Don’t worry, you are well within our refund period [or you have x days left in our refund period] and I’ll be happy to process that for you.
But first, I want you to know that I care about my customers and I want to be certain you’re not only happy, but that I help you reach your [business / personal] goals.
So no matter what, I’m going to take care of you.
[First name], I’m guessing you purchased [product name] because you wanted to [solve ‘x’ problem or get ‘y’ result].
And since you are requesting a refund, you probably still need a solution to that problem, right?
So with your permission I’d like to suggest something a little different.
As I said, it’s my job to help you reach YOUR goals, and I think we can both agree that a refund isn’t going to do that (no worries, if you don’t like what I’m about to suggest, I’ll still refund your money ASAP, just please hear me out first.)
Instead of a refund, I’d like to offer you one of our other courses that I think will help you [insert goal here].
Here is a list of products that might be a better fit for you.
List products with descriptions – if prices are larger than what the customer paid, list the prices, too.
Remember [first name], I promised to take care of you and I mean it. So please reply with any questions you might have, or take a day to think it over. Either way, I am here for you.
If I don’t hear back from you by [date, time] I will issue you a full refund instead.
And if you want to talk, please call me and I can activate one of the above courses for you right now, or issue you a refund, your choice.
You can reach me at [phone number].
Talk to you soon.
Now let’s say you’ve received a refund request, but you’ve determined your customer is not eligible for a refund based on your policy and the timeframe of when they ordered.
Here’s the email you might send:
Hi [First Name], I’m truly sorry to hear that [product name] wasn’t a fit for you.
Unfortunately, you are beyond our [XX day] refund period which means I can’t issue you a refund today.
BUT I still want to help you and I think I may have a solution.
I’m guessing that you purchased [product name] because you needed to [achieve ‘x’ goal or solve ‘y’ problem].
Is that a fair assumption? … and you likely still need a solution to that problem, correct?
Since I am unable to issue you a refund, I’d like to “exchange” [product name] for one of our other courses that might be a better solution for you.
Here are a list of options for you to choose from: [Enter product names, descriptions and prices]
Please let me know which of these trainings you’d like to have and I’ll get you access as quickly as possible.
If you’re not sure which one you would like, please feel free to reply with any questions or take a day or so to think it over.
Either way, I’m here if you need me.
And if you would like to talk, you can give me a call and I can activate your new course right now.
You can reach me at [phone number].
Talk to you soon.
Again, be sure to modify these completely to suit your needs.
You’ll find that by taking this extra step, disgruntled customers become happy customers – and sometimes even become your strongest advocates.