During the holiday season, many people took advantage of the ease of online shopping but now they are discovering the downside: trying to do returns. The process is complicated by the lack of paperwork, packaging, or receipts which leave in-store clerks helpless to return products they do not physically stock.

Walmart has ventured into third-party selling (as Amazon has long done) which is great for them on the revenue side but has caused untold delays in their stores. I had the misfortune of waiting behind several people trying to return an online order from a third-party and they were told they needed to have it boxed and ready to ship before the clerk could process it. There were miscommunications. Clerks didn’t know how to print shipping labels. For everyone involved, it was a nightmare.

The crux of the issue is that great ideas at the corporate level never got translated into effective training and implementation at the front-line level. The clerks at customer service were not equipped to effectively handle all the minute logistical details of what is essentially an entirely new business and everyone in-store has to pay the price.

If you create a process or system change in your organization, follow the path of implementation all the way through to the end. It’s not just getting the order there that matters, but how you handle getting it back.

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