You've decided to outsource your order fulfillment to save money, increase efficiency, reduce overhead, etc. That's great! However, it doesn't mean you should turn over all control for your customer service. You still need to make sure your customers are receiving what they ordered, when they ordered it, and in a condition you're happy with. Here are some tips for maintaining customer satisfaction with outsourced order fulfillment.
If there is a delay in shipping, inventory restocking, packing, or any other element of the process, relay that information to your customers. Of course, if the delay is not going to impact the final delivery time, there may not be a need to raise concern. On the other hand, if inclement weather is going to delay delivery by a few days, your customers need to know about that.
The goal here is to be as proactive as possible. Maintaining communication with your clients will boost their satisfaction. Even if the package arrives late, they will appreciate the advanced warning. It's much easier to do damage control with open communication than it is to fix the matter after they've been disappointed. Think about what you would expect as a customer and extend that courtesy to your clients.
There's nothing worse than being a frustrated customer that has no one to complain to. Make sure there is support staff on hand to address issues when they occur. This may be a service that you get with your outsourced order fulfillment. If so, ask them when they have support staff on hand. Do those hours line up with your customers' schedules? Is there actually a person available during those hours? Call and see for yourself. Once again, you have to put yourself in the mindset of a customer and see what their experience is like.
In this case, let's say your outsourced order fulfillment handles all the customer service for your online orders. You start getting an influx of phone calls, emails and negative online reviews that say your customer service is unsatisfactory. Take this information to heart. What are they complaining about most? Call times? Shipping delays? Receiving the wrong product? Determine the most common issues, and then talk to your order fulfillment provider about how to solve them.
If you handle some elements of customer service in-house, see if the customers are complaining about those issues. For instance, you might handle all returns in your office, while the order fulfillment company handles the original shipments. If customers are complaining about not receiving return labels or the return process taking too long, see what you can fix on your end. Communicate changes with your order fulfillment company so they can make any adjustments they need to as well.
If your order fulfillment company is not sending you regular customer satisfaction reports, request them. This is data you should be receiving at least once a month, but as often as once a day. These are your customers. You have a right to know what's going on with them. Establish a clean, open line of communication with the order fulfillment provider, and you'll be able to take care of your customers for years to come.
Contact Overflo at 1-800-626-0616 to learn more about the order fulfillment solutions available for your business.
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