It has been proven that an exceptional customer service experience can create stronger brand loyalty. Statistics show that 96% of customers say they remain loyalty to a brand based on the quality of customer service. Meanwhile, about 73% of companies report that providing above-average customer service has led to increased profits.
Providing a smooth order fulfillment process could help eliminate many of the complaints that consumers voice about a company. By understanding what your customers desire and taking the necessary steps to provide a better experience, your patrons are more likely to return time and again.
Even with the rise in online shopping, consumers still expect to have their opinions and concerns heard by the company. Offering a personalized interaction with a client creates a positive, lasting impression — even if the first one-on-one contact is to resolve a complaint. You want customers to know that you understand what they want and will work tirelessly to provide exceptional service. Investing in customer relationship management (CRM) systems could help you connect with customers and provide a more pleasant experience.
Responsive Order Fulfillment
Order fulfillment should be a smooth process from the moment the sales rep enters the order into the database to the instant the order is packaged and placed on the delivery truck. Anticipating consumer demands requires evaluating the sales history to determine peak order periods and ensuring that the warehouse has enough merchandise in stock. When fluctuations in demand occur, you don’t want to deal with inaccurate inventory numbers, unreliable inputted data and back orders — and neither do your customers.
To improve this area of your operations, evaluate your current processes to detect where problems lie, whether it is slow pick-and-pack work or delays with incoming merchandise. Auditing your procedures and implementing automated warehouse management solutions could improve efficiency, mitigate redundancies and reduce some of the workload for your sales reps, warehouse managers and delivery drivers.
Improve Shipping Costs
Most customers tend to change their brand loyalty if they can save money on shipping costs. Yet many companies do not (or cannot) take the financial burden in order to offer free shipping. Instead, look for areas in your transportation and logistics operations where you could implement cost savings and reduce waste.
There may be several ways to lower transportation expenses. You may find discounts by using 3rd-party order fulfillment providers, or consider moving products closer to your main customer base to reduce fuel costs.
Order Accuracy and Product Return Efficiency
Shipping a wrong order should not be an “unfortunate but acceptable” circumstance when running a business. Every late or incorrect order could lead to an unhappy customer and lost revenue. Eliminating the gaps in your pick-and-pack processes helps ensure that each order that leaves your warehouse or distribution center will be correct and delivered in the best condition possible.
If a customer does receive a wrong order, they want return policies to be clear, concise and hassle-free. Do not hide the fine print where clients might miss it. Define what items are eligible for a refund and how a buyer can return the product. Also, provide details on how long it may take to process refunds or account credits.
Order fulfillment changes continually based on technology and consumer desires. Having a versatile process that can efficiently scale on demand can allow you to please customers and boost brand loyalty.
Author bio: Beau Christian is Director of Marketing at WSI, a leading third-party logistics provider that specializes in fulfillment, chemical warehousing, transloading, transportation and more. Having the 17th-largest 3PL network in the United States, spanning more than 15 million square feet, WSI delivers tailored end-to-end supply chain solutions to customers who seek to increase efficiency, shorten lead times, deliver more reliable performance and minimize costs.