An angry customer might tell a few people about a bad experience, but the ripple effect usually didn’t go too far…Not anymore. Today people rant. And they rant very effectively. Social media has enabled a dissatisfied customer to broadcast a complaint to a wide audience. You can try to rebut the criticism. Or, you can try to avoid it in the first place by offering an excellent customer experience.
We’re glad you asked!
Poorly trained staff: The staff you have taking and filling orders has to get it right. Every time. If you don’t have excellent inventory records and controls, if you don’t have a highly automated and accurate order receipt system, human error is sure to contribute to problems. If you have high personnel turnover or significant seasonality in your business, training new employees exaggerates this problem. A good OMS and WMS will make training new employees a breeze. Customers tell us that the time required to train new employees has gone down from weeks to about an hour.
Arguing with customers: The customer is always right. We all know that, but it’s hard to remember. If our company is struggling to be profitable, it’s harder still to remember. If our customer service staff is putting out fires all day long, every day, it’s easy for them to become intransigent with customers who may be a bit unreasonable. On the other hand, if the customer service department spends most of its day upselling and answering calls from happy customers, it’s easy to be generous when dealing with problems that really are of the customer’s making. A good OMS and WMS will reduce errors that you caused. It will enable you to be more profitable and sell more. Like the Nordstrom department store chain, you can cheerfully offer refunds and exchanges if your profit margins are high and your product delivery is perfect. In that situation, the cost of offering a generous return policy is acceptable, in comparison to the benefit of the high level of customer allegiance resulting from offering a consistently excellent user experience.
Being inaccessible to customers:“We are experiencing an unusually high call volume. Calls are answered in the order in which they are received. There are 271 customers ahead of you. Your wait time is anticipated to be 47 minutes. This call is not being recorded. Your outraged screams will not be heard…” We’ve all been there. We don’t want to put our customers there. A good OMS and WMS system will ensure that you have fewer complaint calls, because orders will be filled promptly and accurately. Fewer complaint calls means shorter wait times for customers and a leaner customer service staff.
Inflexible policy: A company that makes a lot of mistakes often maintains an inflexible policy on returns and exchanges. They have to in order to stay in business. We all anticipate our profitability on the assumption that we will sell a certain amount of products at a predictable gross margin and our administrative costs will be a manageable percentage of the gross. Returns and a large customer service staff eat into those predicted margins leaving the company with little alternative but to be inflexible about questionable returns and exchanges. A company that makes very few mistakes can accommodate every customer, even when the customer really doesn’t deserve the accommodation. When that happens, the social media buzz is highly complementary and positive. You can’t have too many friends, and one is one too many enemies.
Failure to keep a promise: Any promise. We’ve said enough above about customer service personnel. As we’ve already observed, customer service personnel never have to break a promise if everything they hear from customers is positive. But, you make many other promises to your customers. You promise that their order will be accurately and promptly delivered. You promise that they will be billed correctly. You promise that the shipping charges will be logically related to the size and value of the product being shipped. Excellent OMS and WMS systems will ensure that you keep those promises every time, on every shipment. You will process orders accurately and you will provide timely advice to customers at every stage of the process. You will know your inventory and you will be able to ship everything that is in your catalog. Lousy customer records:“Please give me your address and order number.”“I just gave it to the last person I spoke to, and I already typed it in on the computer screen…”“I’m sorry sir, but I don’t have those records on my system.” This dialog could be repeated about the shipping address, the credit card information, the item being ordered, or any number of other critical bits of information.An excellent OMS will solve this problem.With complete integration with the CRM and the WMS, the information will be collected accurately once and disseminated to every other system in use. The need to put a customer on hold while a customer service representative investigates shipping status will be a thing of the past.All the information that everyone needs—from the front office to the shipping department—will be available instantly and will be updated automatically.
Giving the customer the runaround—transferring to other people or departments:“Thank you for calling the Customer Care Department. For your inquiry, I’ll have to transfer you to the Shipping Department. The hold time for that department is 20 minutes…” By integrating the information from all of your systems, every contact person in your company can have access to every bit of critical information necessary to provide an excellent user experience. An excellent system will ensure ease of data entry and extraction and will minimize training time for system use.All of these advantages equate to a better user experience, higher sales, and increased profit.
Canned responses: A company that receives many complaints needs an army of customer service personnel.That means many junior, poorly trained customer service representatives.A common management strategy to control these new and poorly trained staffers is to require that they provide responses from a strictly controlled list of “possible responses.” A company that receives very few complaints doesn’t need so many customer service reps. Having an experienced customer service department populated by people with the authority and autonomy to make intelligent concessions where appropriate can dramatically enhance your customer’s user experience. It’s a simple equation: make fewer errors and you can spend more time fixing the few errors that will be made, in a manner that enhances customer loyalty, rather than eroding it. An effective and efficient OMS and WMS will enable that to happen.
Not listening to customers: Our customers will tell us what they like about our business and, more importantly, what they don’t like.Sometimes they tell us with words. Sometimes they tell us by not coming back. An excellent OMS will provide a global view of orders from all sources. If one marketplace is showing different results (either from the other marketplaces, or from its historical performance) it is imperative to have a dashboard that can bring that information to your attention at light speed. If you receive verbal feedback from customers, that must be looped back into your CRM and used to improve your OMS. A really effective OMS will be easy to modify and adapt to your business model.Information is currency. Don’t waste it.
Not making the extra effort—please, thank you, and going the extra mile: A highly effective OMS and WMS will reduce errors and give you fewer problems to address, with fewer personnel. It cannot be overstated that the environment of an overworked and frazzled customer service department will be reflected in their customer interface. If you make fewer errors, your customer complaints will be dramatically reduced and your customer service department will spend more time as customer advocates, helping to enhance their user experience, instead of trying to manage an overwhelming flow of customer complaints. Your OMS and WMS are not simply tools to process orders and manage your warehouse. They are tools to help you offer the optimal user experience to your customers. They will help you increase sales and earn higher profits.
We can help.