You’ve made a sale! Congratulations. That feeling never gets old, does it?
But by now you know it isn’t the end of the story. Because after you’ve completed a sale, fulfillment begins. And what a process it is: From updating inventory to managing shipments, the fulfillment process is made up of a complex web of pieces and parts.
Communication plays an important role in making sure that the process goes right. And when things go wrong? Communication becomes even more crucial to keeping your customers happy.
But it’s not just enough to have the right message. It also needs to be seen.
4 ways fulfillment can go sideways for your customers.
The fulfillment process is a complicated one, and if we were to list every possible thing that could go wrong, you’d be reading this blog for days.
But let’s at least touch on a few common problems you’ve probably faced — issues that are particularly aggravating for customers when communication is lacking.
1. Your customer ordered a product that isn’t in stock.
Sometimes your online inventory doesn’t match up with what you actually have on hand. Your customer will either receive an impartial order, or they may receive nothing at all. Either way, if you don’t communicate what’s going on, you’ll end up with an angry and frustrated customer.
2. Your customer’s order can’t be delivered.
Maybe your customer’s finger slipped, and they typed in the wrong address. Maybe the delivery person can’t get past a front gate. Whatever the issue, when an order can’t be delivered, you’ve now got a logistical problem you need to work out with your customer —one which requires good communication to solve.
3. Your customer has to hunt down tracking updates.
Speaking of delivery, customers love to track shipments. Unfortunately, if you’re not proactively updating your customer, you’re leaving them to hunt through emails, plug in a tracking number, and see if there’s been any movement.
4. Your customer forgot what they ordered.
We all get a little carried away with online shopping sometimes. But if your customer forgets about an order they placed (or doesn’t recognize a renewal charge), it could lead to a chargeback when they see a “surprise” on their bill. Avoid this problem by communicating confirmation of the order and sending updates as the order is fulfilled and shipped out.
None of these examples are especially rare. But solving them requires not just good communication, but the right type of communication. After all, what good does it do to email a customer about an out-of-stock item, if they never see what you wrote?
If you want to keep your customers happy, you need to make sure that you’re being proactive and that your messages actually get through.
Save time (and money) by adding SMS to your fulfillment process.
If you want to create a great customer experience during fulfillment, SMS is the ideal channel.
As an example, let’s consider the case of an undeliverable package. The standard options would be to send an email or make a phone call.
But are either of these especially effective?
We know emails aren’t — not when it comes to time-sensitive messages, anyway. They’re more likely to be overlooked or put off (if not deleted altogether or caught in spam.)
A phone call might be a bit more direct, but only if your customer answers. It’s just as likely you’ll kick off a fresh game of phone tag with a frustrated customer who just wants to get what they ordered. Or you might catch them — just as they’re sitting down for dinner.
Either way, the sheer amount of time taken by your staff to communicate these shipping delays is adding up. Wouldn’t that time be better spent if you could stay focused on your business priorities?
Why SMS is a smart fulfillment automation approach.
SMS is a great way to streamline your fulfillment communications through one, easy-to-automate platform.
For business-as-usual orders, SMS provides a reliable channel that captures customer attention and can share order updates, tracking details, and other important information without any headaches. During the fulfillment process, you can easily automate messages to keep your customer regularly updated on orders and shipping.
TOP TIP: You’ll get the most seamless user experience if you look for an SMS platform that integrates really well with the system you’re already using. For instance, MessageMedia integrates with leading e-commerce, marketing, and ERP platforms, so our clients can easily add automated text messaging into the workflows they already have or are building. Visit our Integrations Marketplace.
And if something does go wrong, SMS gives you a way to communicate quickly and directly with customers while allowing them to respond when it’s easiest for them.
Because you’re never just chasing down one customer, right? If you’re like most businesses, you have a whole backlog of orders that are undeliverable, partially filled, or incorrect.
While that is simply a part of the business, wouldn’t you like a tool that helps you move through that backlog more quickly?
SMS makes it easier for you to get the answers you need, send out updates your customers will actually read, and correct errors as they arise. While fulfillment can be a complex and challenging process, you can always count on SMS to deliver.