I have a commerce confession. As a shopper, I hate doing returns. Hate, hate, hate them. It gives me anxiety, and I avoid it; I procrastinate doing them. I’d almost rather eat the cost of the item than deal with the return.
Case in point: a recent experience I had (the brand involved shall remain nameless). After deciding to return an item, I emailed the company to request a prepaid return label. When the label failed to materialize in my inbox, I retried, and waited, and retried again (yes, I typed my email correctly!). Frustrated, I went to the website to chat with customer support, but there was no chat. So I finally resigned myself to call the customer service telephone number — and deal with a human — only to be stuck on hold for 35 minutes. When I finally got a person on the phone, I was transferred between three different departments, each of whom I had to repeat my details and situation to. Ultimately, they weren’t even able to help me.
Did I mention I hate returns?
It’s practically the year 2020. This is the exact opposite of what order fulfillment and customer service should be in this era. Thankfully, technology is transforming the ordering and fulfillment experience by seamlessly connecting and automating the entire order process, from shopping and shipping to delivery and returns. These technologies ensure that merchants will come through for their customers when it matters most: the moment a customer swaps their money for the promise of a product delivered on time, intact, and on their terms. And if it’s not, returns are hassle-free.
It’s no secret that today, what differentiates one brand from another is the shopping experience. In fact, 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services.
When it comes to order management, shoppers want complete transparency and the tools to control their experience and engagement with your brand. This can include a number of functions:
Updating a shipping address
Checking order status
Canceling an order
Choosing a shipping carrier and payment method
Initiating self-service returns
Next-generation order management systems like Salesforce Order Management put the customer at the center of everything, empowering them to take control of their experience and lays the foundation for exceptional shopping experiences that drive customer loyalty.
There are critical moments in the shopping journey that can either annoy or amaze your customers, and these moments help determine whether they have a great experience or a poor one. Here are a few ways to ensure that those moments amaze your shoppers:
Consumers want choices, and they want to be in control of those choices. From one-hour delivery in metro areas to weekend delivery, in-store pickup, and split shipments, your customers expect options that align with their lifestyle, and they expect these options to be displayed clearly on the product and checkout pages. The same goes for returns. Customers need to be able to print out their own shipping labels, track their return online, and, if you have physical stores, return items to the store.
Your customers should be able to check order status and receive updates on their own terms, including text and email updates, and should be able to change shipping details. Returns, too, should be self-service, including printing out return labels and choosing how and where to return an item. Live chats are going mainstream, giving consumers a quick way to reach customer service (including bots) to answer basic questions. If a service request requires escalation to a live person, the customer service rep should have a real-time, unified view of all that customer’s activity.
Few things are more annoying to consumers than having to give the same information to different people within your organization. Next-generation order management systems connect commerce and service to give brands a real-time, unified view of each customer. A commerce transaction, for example, is automatically made visible to customer service reps who can deliver fast, personalized, and more informed service. Reps can even place orders on behalf of customers, add coupons, and more.
All of these incremental experiences add up to the greatest moment of value exchange between a brand and a consumer. Everything that a brand does in the customer lifecycle — awareness, consideration, conversion, and more — leads to this moment. Integrated order management systems drive operational excellence by orchestrating the entire supply chain.
Order management today is not just about processing orders. It’s about integrating all of the customer-facing systems that impact the post-purchase experience (ERP, CRM, service, and commerce, for example) and making that available and accessible to all stakeholders in a single unified platform.
Operations and processes happen behind the scenes, but the impact on your customers’ experience — and how they engage with you — is very much front and center.
World-class order management is a linchpin in delivering a better customer experience, and is what helps people decide between myriad buying options. Technologies and processes that reduce friction, empower your employees, and maximize speed and efficiency will ensure that my recent experience is an outlier.
Learn more about Salesforce Order Management.