Refunds… not a very fun part of creating and launching an online program but a topic that’s super important to talk about. They’re an inevitable part of building your online program and as much as we might like to bury our heads in the sand, it’s smart to have a process in place (preferably before the situation occurs). And if you’re reading this while you’re still “in the situation” and wondering what to do… don’t worry. It’s all learning! This blog post will give you some valuable tips on how to move forward and deal with refunds in the future.
How to deal with refunds for your program
It’s all a part of the process
Before I give you my best tips on how to deal with refunds, I just want you to know…
It’s all a part of the process!
In my first few rounds I had zero refunds but as my enrolment numbers increased I started to get refund requests.
At first this was hard to take but then my coach advised me that a refund rate of at least 5% is considered normal. I’ve had slightly higher and slightly lower but this statistic overall holds up.
The reason you don’t always get them initially is because your numbers just aren’t high enough. For example 5% of 15 people is less than 1 person refunding.
My experience has been that most people don’t see regular refund requests until they are enrolling 30 or more people each round.
So ultimately, as your programs grows so will the refunds!
Have a refund policy in place
In order to deal with refunds of your online programs, I always suggest that you have a clearly articulated guarantee and refund policy in place. This assures that participants of your programs know what the procedure is (should they want a refund) and it gives you some guidance on what to do when a refund request comes through.
I highly recommend you do some research around consumer laws and refund policies in your country. In Australia, you are not obliged to provide a refund for change of mind but you must refund if you are found to have not delivered as specified or you have been misleading as to what your e-Course will deliver.
Example of my own refund policy for e-Course Launch Formula:
I don’t offer change of mind refunds and people must participate in the forum and complete the first module before requesting a refund. I also include an admin fee to cover me for the gift that I post out and initial administration fees. My refund period is 21 days and includes access to up to the first four modules (a third of the course).
I make this policy clear on the sales page, have it visible on the purchase page and include it in the email after purchase.
Not allowing change of mind refunds, requiring people to participate before requesting a refund and communicating my policy multiple times resulted in a drop from 7% refunds to 3% refunds.
Here are some questions to get you thinking about your refund policy:
Will you offer a refund apart from as required by law?
Will you refund for change of mind?
What is your refund period?
Will you charge an admin fee for refunds?
How do your participants request a refund?
Responding and processing the refund
Responding to refund requests can be quite emotional and your first is always hard. I highly suggest getting a virtual assistant or team member to do this for you as they can respond with less emotion, keep you out of the exchange and protect you from the negative energy.
The process in my business is that I don’t see the refund request – as often people use emotional or abusive language and I am very emotionally attached to my work. Instead one of my staff will give me a summary of the facts of the request, whether it is within our refund terms and all emotional language is removed. We then make a decision and my staff process the refund.
If you don’t have the support of your team member then take your time and refer back to your refund policy for the best way to proceed. If you don’t have a refund policy and have been hit with a refund request then have a look at your options and feel into which option feels best in the current situation.
Learn from it
Refund requests (no matter how difficult!) are great learning experiences and it’s important to pull out some insights.
Maybe you are attracting the wrong ideal participant?
Or perhaps you are not articulating what they get (or don’t get) on your sales page?
The point here is that this feedback is important, and you do need to take a step back once you get over the hurt of the refund request to assess what you should do (if anything) as a result.Remember we cannot please everyone – it just is not possible. Click To Tweet
Refunds are never easy but are an inevitable part of our business growth!