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How To Best Prevent & Manage Guest Refunds

Over the last few years, online sales have been on the increase. That’s great news for our business! But an increase in online sales also means an increase in refunds.

Our friends over at Adyen, an omnichannel payment processor, recently reported that online purchases are three times more likely to be returned than those made in-store!

Sounds high, right?

And when you think about the impact a wave of returns, refunds, and chargebacks has on your business, it can feel massive.

So what’s a venue operator to do? In a perfect world, we’d prevent the need to ever issue refunds to guests. Every guest would arrive and leave satisfied with their experience. But we know that can’t always happen.

So to help you navigate what’s ahead – we’re breaking down what you can do to prevent refunds and how to best handle them when they occur without feeling crippled by the volume of manual work refunds often create.

 

How to prevent refunds from happening

Think about the last time you made a purchase and were not entirely satisfied with the service or product. What action did you take?

Like many consumers you probably contacted the merchant to discuss where the experience fell short of your expectations – and were either offerred or requested a refund.

Putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer is a great way to easily identify areas you can improve on when it comes to recovering from service failures. Now, what we’re about to recommend next may seem a bit controversial, but it’s backed by a University of Texas study. Here are two simple ways that you can actually lower the volume of refunds you have to process in the first place.

Extend your returns policy

When guests only have a small window (say 7 or 10 days) to return a product or cancel a booking, they have a sense of urgency to immediately take action or face the financial consequences.

By extending your returns policy to 14 or 30 days, you may find that the longer guests have to request a refund, the less likely they may be to do so.

Accurately describe your offering

There are many reasons why guests may need to cancel a booking and request a refund – from changing plans and circumstances to a sick child to simply changing their minds about how they want to spend their free time and money.

Another common reason you may find yourself in a position where you need to offer a refund to a guest is if the description of your venue or attraction online or elsewhere does not match the in-venue experience.

One easy way to do this is to ensure that all your business listing information is accurate, including website URL, hours of operation, and address.

Next, you’ll want to ensure that you provide prospective guests with as much information about your product offering as possible, alongside hi-res images, videos, and authentic past guest reviews.

 

How to efficiently process and manage refunds at scale

Traditional methods of approving, processing, and managing refunds are often resource-intensive. Each refund can take up to 8-10 minutes!

That means processing refunds take you and your staff away from higher-value opportunities to grow your business and delight your guests. But it’s not just you who must wait for a refund to be processed; it’s your guests too! Most payment processors also require cards to be present to issue a refund at the point of sale (POS). How frustrating is that?!

And then, after you’ve processed a refund, you likely are stuck managing multiple gateways. All up, processing refunds has traditionally been inefficient. And when you’re doing it at scale, every second counts!

 

What are integrated refunds?

Integrated refunds allow a venue to refund the required transaction using the same platform that was used to generate the purchase in the first place. It’s a single source of refunds! So operators no longer need to manage ROLLER Refunds and Payment Gateway Refunds.

How’s that for a straightforward refund?!

 

How do integrated refunds work?

As a ROLLER customer, you can refund an online transaction received from an integrated partner such as ROLLER Payments, Adyen or Worldpay directly to the cardholder's account in just a few simple steps.

  • In the Refund payment pop-up modal (see step 5 above) select Credit Card from the refund method dropdown list
  • Under Refund via gateway (Adyen/Worldpay) select the transaction $XX.XX (ref) as shown below:
    refund_gateway.png
  • Confirm the refund amount and click Refund

This action will issue the refund to the card that was used to process the original transaction. For more information, refer to Refund Adyen and WorldPay credit card payments in VM.

 

Key benefits of integrated refunds

The best refund a business can hope for is a well-managed one. Here’s how integrated payments help you run your business and serve your guests with ease:

Save time and streamline venue operations

Rather than waiting roughly 10 minutes to process each and every refund manually (whether a bulk or ad hoc request), integrated refunds can be completed in as little as 10 seconds.

How? When you’re able to quickly pull up historical transactions and make refunds to a guest’s original form of payment easily, you don’t have to sort through multiple systems or paperwork to get what you need to know about the original transaction.

Think about the other high-priority tasks you and your team can tackle with this newfound time on your hands.

Increase accuracy and security of refunds processed

One of the most significant risks of manual data entry is human error – and with each transaction you process without integrated refunds, you introduce the risk of a mistake happening when it comes to a customer account number or refund amount.

Integrated refunds allow all transactions to be recorded and searchable within your venue management system. That’s the kind of accuracy your business needs to operate efficiently. And beyond being efficient and accurate, integrated refunds are more secure. After all, your guests trust you to keep their information safe.

Still not convinced? Integrated refunds are also a great way to help prevent fraudulent transactions as payment and cardholder data is encrypted and stored securely.

Provide a great guest experience

You should deliver the same standard of service for a return as you would a purchase. When you reframe the way you think about returns, you’ll see them as an opportunity to strengthen relationships with high-spending, often repeat guests.

You reap the rewards when you provide guests with transparent options for returns and quick, secure, and reliable service in processing a refund.

 

Every business has to process refunds

But that doesn’t mean doing so needs to be a painful process. Given the scale at which online purchases are growing, it’s reasonable to assume that you’ll have to refund substantially more than you would have under other conditions if you’re not already.

A great way to deal with refunds when they do happen is to utilize a single payment platform. It’ll help alleviate constraints around reconciling, executing, and even disputing refunds.

Ready to learn more? Get in touch, and we’ll tell you how ROLLER Payments can supercharge your business.