How Hedley & Bennett embraced the importance of automated returns with Loop

By embracing automated returns, Hedley & Bennett now empowers customers to self-service returns and exchanges.


Previous returns solution

How much time does your customer support team spend dealing with returns?

You may have dozens of agents dealing with customers across support channels including email, chat, and phone. Many of their support tickets are related to one thing: product returns.

What if you could drastically reduce the volume of support tickets related to returns, and empower your customers to manage the return process through an automated workflow? You could reduce your ticket resolution time, scale your customer support team, and provide better customer satisfaction.

Even better: What if you could transform a significant number of those customer returns into exchanges, resulting in a 40% exchange rate and increasing your retained revenue?

For both of these use cases, an automated returns solution like Loop is an ideal fit.

One of our longtime customers, Hedley & Bennett, shared some insights on what it’s like working with Loop to automate their returns process. Here’s a look at their story.

A pandemic-era pivot

Hedley & Bennett is a ten-year old company that prides itself on selling the best quality and styles in aprons for home or professional chefs. 

Hedley & Bennett has used Loop to support its returns management process since before Steven Feczko, senior director of operations, came on board two years ago. Feczko was already familiar with Loop, as his previous company had used the software as well, and he’d found it a great solution for managing and streamlining the customer returns process.

When COVID-19 hit, they pivoted their model to focus on manufacturing high-quality face masks to meet the national shortage. “We ramped up from zero to about 10,000 or 20,000 orders within a few days,” says Feczko. The company needed to scale all of its operations quickly to meet huge customer demand.

Whether their customers need face masks or aprons, the company focuses on providing high-quality products and services—and that’s no exception when it comes to customer returns.

Why self-service returns are important

One of the key metrics that Feczko tracks is the volume of support tickets related to returns. “Keeping that number to a minimum to keep that type of request off of our CX team is incredibly important to us” he says.

Because customers are able to complete the returns and exchange process through an intuitive, self-service portal, most of them are able to complete the action with no customer support interaction. But that doesn’t mean that Hedley & Bennett misses out on important data. Since customers are asked to fill out a multiple choice questionnaire about why they’re returning or exchanging a product, the company is still able to get detailed insights that help them understand what went wrong and how they can satisfy their customers. 

Most of their customers are able to complete their return or exchange without involving customer support, so the CX team is able to prioritize more complicated cases that require in-depth support, providing quicker response times and a better user experience. Customers are able to instantly resolve their issue by completing their return or exchanging it for a new item of their choice directly through the Loop platform. That results in higher customer satisfaction across the board. 

What makes an intuitive customer return

So how do you create an intuitive experience for your customers when it comes to returns and exchanges?

Make it as easy as possible for the customer to complete their desired action, whether that’s a return or an exchange.

One element of Loop’s self-service portal that Feczko loves is the ability to self-service even when the customer has incomplete information. “Maybe it was a gift, or they don’t have the order number. The ability to navigate and self-service there is really great, and it keeps most tickets from ever getting submitted through our CX team,” he says.

“Loop’s ability to make things easy is the number one thing that our customers and our team both appreciate.”

Loop also enables customers to identify next steps based on their response to why they are returning an item (too big, too small, wrong style, etc.). As they choose a multiple choice answer, they’ll receive suggestions based on their response. For example, if a clothing item was too large, Loop can pull from your real-time inventory to suggest the same product in the next size down. Customers can also take advantage of the option to exchange an item for any other product in your inventory, without needing to first process a return. 

Loop’s not just easy for customers to use, but it’s simple for the customer support team to navigate too. 

“My measure of how well the system is working is if I’m not getting constantly pulled into it, because it’s good on its own,” says Feckzo. “I spend a lot less time, thankfully, than I could in the actual system itself. Our customer team takes care of most of the issues that come up.”

“I’m looking for a solution that works for our customers on a daily basis. And when it’s not working, the issue gets resolved quickly. That’s the gold standard for a system like this from an executive’s perspective. Loop checks that box with flying colors.”

Optimizing for retained revenue

With Loop, it’s just as easy for customers to process an exchange as it is to return an item. And in fact, Loop incentivizes the exchange process, offering customers a bonus credit to apply towards an exchange if they’re otherwise planning on getting a refund.

The ease of processing an exchange helps Loop customers retain more revenue: 40% of Loop customers exchange products rather than returning them.

And that metric is more important than the individual transaction—it represents the continuation of a customer relationship that might otherwise end with a refund. By encouraging customers to exchange products rather than request refunds, you’re able to facilitate an ongoing customer relationship that will result in more long-term, recurring revenue.

After all, customer acquisition costs about five times more than the cost of retaining an existing customer, and increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase your brand’s profits anywhere from 25% to 95%. By advocating for product exchanges over returns, you can preserve the value of each customer relationship, which will result in more lifetime revenue and customer referrals.

A best-in-class customer experience

Building a high-quality customer experience through every stage of the buying cycle is what will keep customers coming back again and again.

That doesn’t only apply to initial sales, but the post-purchase experience as well—including returns and exchanges.

By prioritizing a customer experience that empowers customers to easily process their own returns and exchanges through a self-service platform like Loop, they’ll feel more confident in making purchases with your brand in the first place, leading to more customer retention and a higher spend volume per customer.

Moving to an automated returns solution can, as in Hedley & Bennett’s case, help to improve the customer experience while also improving the employee experience for your customer support team. 

Rather than manually processing returns and asking customers questions about why they’re returning their orders, your team can spend their time prioritizing specialized support tickets that will elevate your customers’ experience with your brand. 

Enhancing team productivity, improving the customer experience, and retaining more revenue – these are just a few of the benefits you’ll see from implementing an automated returns management solution like Loop.

With the power of the Whiplash and Loop partnership, it’s never been easier for brands to optimize their reverse logistics. Loop allows you to optimize your returns workflow to incentivize exchanges, while an experienced ecommerce fulfillment provider like Whiplash can expedite return processing.

Putting both solutions in place at once helps you retain better control and efficiency in your reverse logistics process while providing a best-in-class customer experience that will help to retain long-term relationships with your customers.

Merchants can unite the front end and back end of their return experience by investing in an automated returns solution like Loop.

If you’d like to see the difference for yourself, get in touch with our team.