Refunds – it’s often one of the most difficult issues to navigate in your business. Should you offer refunds? Should you have a no-refund policy?
What if someone comes and steals all your stuff and then asks for a refund? It’s sad, but true. It happens!
I’ve seen many refund policies, and there are pros and cons to all of them. So let’s get started.
No refunds. This is the most strict policy. It protects you as a coach or as a course creator. No one can buy from you, download all your stuff, and then ask for their money back. This policy is used most frequently when all content is available at purchase and can be downloaded and kept for a later date. If this is your refund policy, you need to be CRYSTAL clear on that throughout your sales process. It needs to be in your terms and conditions. It needs to be on the bottom of your order form. And in an ideal world, it needs to also have a checkbox on your order form that they check that they understand this at purchase. You may STILL have some issues with people requesting refunds, but if you have been crystal clear with your policy, your refund rate should be very minimal. The one thing that you need to consider with a strict no refund policy – often times people will NOT buy your product or service if they know that there is a no refund policy. So just be aware that a no refund policy typically means less sales.
Refunds once you’ve done the work.
This is a very interesting refund policy. As course creators, we know that a big part of why people refund is because they buy a course that they know they really need. They get busy, and don’t have the time for the course. Then they decide that since they don’t have time for the course, they should just request a refund. Because we know this is a common occurrence for clients, many course creators create a refund policy that says, “You can have a refund after you show me that you went through the material, did the work, and it didn’t work for you.” (This typically comes with a 30, 60, or 90 day deadline to complete the work.) I love this type of refund. It helps the customer, by providing a refund. It addresses for the course creator the most common reason for refunds. And it brings the two together. It can be as simple as “Our refund policy is super simple. We accept all refunds within 60 days. All you have to do is go through the course, do the work, and show us your results. If you are unhappy with the course, you can get a full refund.” Again, you want to make sure that whatever your refund policy is, that it is crystal clear – on the order form, on the sales page, on your terms and conditions – and ideally on a check box that they check saying that they read and understand the terms and conditions.
No questions asked refunds
This is the most liberal refund policy. Some course creators choose this because they know that if they have provided a good product, that typically less than 5% of customers ask for a refund. (All bets are off if your product is bad!) With this type of refund, you want to be clear about what the time frame is on your refund. Surprisingly, most course creators report that with a 60-90 day refund policy, that they have LESS refunds than with a 30 day refund policy. Why? Because if someone knows they only have 30 days, they quickly start worrying about their deadline. If they have 60-90 days, they know they have time to get into the material.
I know refunds are not our favorite part of the business! I know it’s tough to make a decision which one is right for you.
For me, the general rule of thumb is, do you offer all the content upfront in a downloadable format or do you parse out the content and house most of it in a portal that clients need to maintain access to in order to access your program? If they need to maintain access to your portal to maintain access to your content, then you can typically feel more comfortable offering a more liberal refund policy.