How to Lower Your Refunds

Chris McNeeney shares his insight on the best way to lower your refunds. Read on for his tools and tips.

I’ve been selling on ClickBank for approximately 5 years, across a myriad of niches. These are the best ways I’ve learned how to lower refunds on ClickBank.

Work through this checklist and you are sure to slash the number of refunds and chargebacks you run into, hopefully with minimal effort.

Ask yourself, “How easy is it for my customer to get their order?”

Sounds simple but by far the most common reason I’ve come across for a customer refunding is that they cannot get access to their order. This is either because they never received an email containing their login info (either it went into the spam filter or perhaps your download delivery system failed), their browser crashed mid-order, or they did manage to access the download page but some technical issue stopped them from actually accessing the product. If you look at your refund reasons then you will very probably see that the vast majority of frustrated customers are frustrated not because they got the product and didn’t like it, but that they didn’t get the product, period. In a world of instant gratification you may find that not everyone takes action when they’ve digested your content – but the vast majority will at least try to download it. And if they can’t, they will refund. Sounds simple but this is definitely the first thing to look at. A customer who doesn’t get access to a product will almost always refund.

Approach your customers as if they are complete newbies

If you’re selling your own ebook on CB, then chances are you have a high degree of specialized knowledge about your field. In other words, you’re an expert. And when you’re an expert its tempting to think that the value you deliver is by giving people information which is advanced, brand new etc – information they can never find anywhere else. Indeed, your sales copy is probably positioned in line with this kind of thing.

But when it comes to the product side of things, being overly technical can do you more bad than good. I’ve found in almost every niche I’ve sold in that most customers (and often most of the best ones) are complete beginners – not intermediate or advanced users. So you’ll do better to teach them from the bottom up. I’ve found that refund reasons of “this is too complicated for me” outweigh refunds because “this isn’t advanced enough for me” by ratio of ten to one.

The conclusion? Treat your customer like they have absolutely no experience in the area. Start from the basics and explain everything in depth. Use simple images, diagrams and as many videos as you can. Write and talk like you would to a complete novice. Make everything idiot-proof as possible. By all means mix some more advanced stuff in there too (later on and ring-fenced from the beginner-focused stuff ideally). But if you approach your customers as if they are complete newbies you will actually lower refunds. And the more visual (video and step-by-step diagrams) you can explain everything, the better. Oh and one final point – if your product requires any technical plugins (Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime etc, give them very prominent and clear links to download whatever they need).

Is your sales letter too “blind”?

One instant way to lower refunds is by making it much clearer to the customer what they will get and how it will be delivered. If you keep it “blind” and don’t tell them what the product is about, then you will very likely generate more sales, but you’ll “catch a lot of people in the net” who really shouldn’t be buying your product. Of course this is a trade-off between generating sales and minimizing refunds, but if you find your refund creeping up, try and make your sales letter more specific.

One way to still get the sale but not suffer the refund is by talking about the experience the customer will have once they’ve ordered your product. For example…
“Once you order, you’ll be instantly be redirected to our download page. Just enter your name and email, then you’ll be presented with our full and complete e-course. Since our method is firmly based around getting free SEO traffic, we’ll present you with a series of beginner’s videos to explain the basics. If you already know the ropes, you can skip past these and head straight to the core method itself – which is presented in a series of videos and to-the-point PDF ebooks.”

A simple paragraph like this will prepare the customer for what happens after their order – and will make it all less “blind” and lower refunds.

If all else fails, go physical

One very underused trick is to create a physical version of your product. If it’s software, put it on a CD or DVD. If its an ebook, make it printed. Offering your product in physical form can lower refunds by up to 30% – and that’s even if customers don’t need to return it to get a refund.

The reason is simple. When a customer buys a physical product, it instantly has more perceived value than one that’s purely digital. Customers love physically holding something in their hand, and they are more likely to consume your product if its physical as opposed to just sitting somewhere on their desktop. Remember also that when a customer fires up their computer, they have a million and one distractions. But if you get a physical product in their hands, you have their undivided attention. One additional bonus of this is that it means you have their physical address, allowing you to send newsletters or even presents (such as cookies) – with their permission of course. This builds your relationship with the customer, separates you from others in your niche (who are surely not doing this) and will definitely lower refunds.

Respond to customers instantly (even if it’s automated)

This is another simple trick I’ve picked up along the way. Very often, customers go into panic mode if they can’t get their download, or need to solve a fundamental problem right away. A typical scenario goes like this: they buy an ebook, and can’t get instant access as promised. They email support and hear nothing back. They panic and either refund or chargeback. A simple solution is to setup a detailed autoresponder that explains exactly how your support ticket works – with open times, and expected response times (aim for under 24 hours). So any customer email to support will get an automated, instant autoresponder email back.

This kind of thing will stop customers going into a panic and cut a few percentage points of your current refund levels. Likewise, try to give a prominent link to a customer FAQ with your top 10 most common support questions (and answers). This will give many customers an answer without them having to wait to hear from you, which in turn will lower your support volume and lower refunds.

Review your customer support tickets at least once per month

This is really the one thing that you should be doing more than anything else – you need to be “in the trenches” with your customers. It’s tempting to outsource your customer support, and I’m not going to argue the pluses and minuses to this approach. But if you do decide to do this, you need to keep a very close eye on what your support team are up to. At the very least, try to read through as many tickets as you can and compile a list of the most common complaints and refund reasons. Some will be long-term changes that take time to implement, but many will be tiny little changes you can make almost instantly. It definitely pays to stay in touch with your customer – if you want to lower your refunds, they’re the first person to ask.

So there you have it – my top tips for lowering refunds. Many of these are common sense but ask yourself “are you doing them?” If not, then start right away. Not feeling motivated enough? Well, ask yourself how much extra money you would make with 10%, 20% or even 50% fewer refunds. Hopefully thinking of this number will get you to take action and make it happen.