What is an RMA?

RMA stands for returned materials authorization, a term for an identifier or system used by manufacturers to manage product returns and control how returns can be done. It’s also sometimes known as returned merchandise authorization. RMA refers to the alphanumeric identifier that’s applied to a product after a company representative approves the RMA process, but it also refers to the entire system of returning products or reporting products that have issues. It is similar to a tracking number, and both companies and customers can view the product’s progress using an RMA.

How RMS is used

Typically, companies want a chance to make things right before the return is finalized. RMA plays a role in that. For example, some technology companies may require that a client wait for an RMA while a representative or IT professional examines the device or software and tries to fix it. An RMA system is not solely for returns; it’s also a customer service process, intended to minimize revenue loss and customer dissatisfaction.

RMA also allows companies to control the return process to avoid losing money. If an item is clearly already used or damaged or doesn’t have the proper packaging, receipt, or proof of pay, a company can refuse to accept its return. An RMA system with clearly laid-out instructions helps companies save money and not fall prey to scams themselves.

An RMA system that has good online forms or methods for reporting problems or dissatisfaction also helps businesses optimize their sales and marketing efforts. If initiating a return includes an online survey that asks questions like, “why weren’t you happy with this product,” or allows customers to upload a picture of a faulty item, businesses can gather and use that data. If a consistent number of customers express the same issue with the same product, a business can apply that information by fixing the issue or supplying a different product instead. They’ll then save time and money.

A good RMA management software might have forms that customers can fill out and keep track of all transactions, returns, and issues. Some RMA software is also cloud-based.

 

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Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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