How Poor Processes are Hampering E-commerce Brands?
In an effort to gain new customers, many e-commerce companies ignore the critical area called customer service.Rupal Agarwal
Remember that you have already invested money, time and effort to gain a customer, it is far cheaper to keep this customer than to go after a new one.
Customer service gets a bad rep, because of poorly designed systems. Problems start cropping up when your customer care executive does not know which procedure to follow when a customer asks for a refund, replacement or how to help the customer in claiming warranty.
It’s a vicious cycle, the help desk/customer care team does not know what to do in a particular situation, they delay the response, which leads to frustration on the customer’s end. Your customer goes and vents out his anger on social media and the thing with negative news is, that it spreads like wildfire!
All these issues can be avoided by hiring an e-commerce business consultant who will design SOPs (Standard operating procedures), where each help desk representative knows what to do in a situation in clear terms. Creating an SOP (standard operating procedure) will help you in bringing uniformity in customer service.
Your retail consultants(YRC-a reputed e-commerce consultant in India) is one such expert in designing Sops. They solved the problem of customer dissatisfaction for one of their e-retail clients. Mr Nikhil Agarwal(COO) says, “Being pioneers in e-commerce consulting services we suspected that the problem lied not in the product but in the process. On data analysis, we found out that, 6 out of 10 complaints received during last year were regarding customer service and not regarding the products. We streamlined the customer service process by preparing a standard procedure which was to be followed in each situation (i.e refund processing, warranty claims, wrong product received, returns, etc.). We also helped the brand in designing data sets for a chatbot which will help the customer service team in resolving common issues quickly”.
Result:- Customer complaints have reduced by 40% today with a further anticipated reduction of 60% once the chatbot is functional.
Apart from customer service, Inventory and order management are two most crucial areas which are not given their due importance in e-commerce companies.
A good e-commerce warehouse management system (WMS) is essential to ensure that your business does not face the problem of overstocking and understocking. You do not want a situation where it’s festive season and you are out of stock on your most profitable product!. Similarly an overstock situation will lead to unnecessary blockage of funds in this extra stock. Funds which you could have utilised elsewhere.
Order management is another area of concern for many e-commerce ventures. A good order management system for e-commerce companies should take into effect, factors such as timely delivery of product and fast replacement of defective goods. In e-commerce these two are the main factors deciding how customers will view your brand. This will help in avoiding those bad reviews and lead to good levels of customer satisfaction. Remember, your product and service are interlinked, even if your product is good, a bad service experience will spoil the reputation of your brand.
Good order and inventory management systems will help you in creating a good brand image for your brand if you are going for Omnichannel e-commerce.
Mr Agarwal adds on this issue “When an online fashion brand was facing out-of-stock situations frequently, we knew the problem lied with their inventory management system. Client was unable to get real-time data regarding the status of his inventory.
We designed a procurement tool in SOPs which helped the client in anticipating the stock requirement 3 months in advance. PO’s were placed to suppliers at the right time (considering manufacturing & logistics lead time) and it led to a 75% reduction in the occurrence of out-of-stock situations, thus resulting in positive cash flows”.
Hence it is essential to look at both e-commerce inventory & order management system and Customer service holistically and ensure that your systems are sorted out in order to stay on top of the e-commerce game.