How to Improve Customer Satisfaction – Perfect Order ExecutionRavi SundarRajan
In this time of severe competition, cost of gaining a new customer is very high. Imagine the cost of losing a customer. It is sky high. But companies lose customers every day as an imperfect order execution leads to losing the customer.
What causes an imperfect order execution. Inadequate communication is one of the major cause in imperfect order execution. A customer order is to be treated like a living entity and is to be taken care of every step till it is completed and closed to customer’s satisfaction.
Consider the below communications that happen at every step of the order execution.
When an Order is received from customer it is to be acknowledged. It is to ensure that the supplying company has received the order, entered the data in its system and it is in progress This acknowledgement should be system generated so that it assures the customer that the supplying company has a system in place and the order is captured in the system. Online ordering is growing at a rapid pace as the customer is able to see the order in the system of the seller and is able to view its progress.
Estimated Delivery Date
For each order received, customer must be informed of the firm/estimated delivery date. If the supplier company has a planning system in place, the estimated delivery date should be calculated by the system and communicated to the customer. If there are any changes to this estimated delivery date, it should be informed to customer as soon as the date changes as this will avoid any surprises to customer.
It is important that customer is reassured periodically that their order is in progress. This is all the more very important when the delivery time is in weeks and the deliverable is complex. These milestones could be phases in the process for example it could be Design completed, Assembly completed, Inspection in progress, Ready to ship etc. These milestones updates should be system generated to improve customer confidence.
Advanced Shipment Notification (ASN)
Let the customers know that their material is on their way. They may need to make preparations to receive the material or equipment like preparing the installation area etc. It is better that they are aware of the accurate delivery date and if possible delivery time. With advanced production concepts like Just In Time(JIT) , Kanban companies need to know the precise time they can expect to get the material. Hence providing electronic information on the expected delivery date is very important. Also if this communication in industry standard formats like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), it makes it easier to load the data into customer’s system.
Shipment Tracking Updates
The responsibility of the supplying company does not end when the order leaves their docks. They need to track the shipment till it reaches customer. Most of the carriers today offer automatic shipment tracking facility. Supplier’s system need to track this shipment and monitor for any delays. If there are going to be delays, customer need to be informed of the delay. One step further, if supplier can mitigate the delay by expedited shipment, it will increase customer satisfaction.
After receipt of the material, if the customer communicates any quality or quantity issues, supplier need to acknowledge to customer , receipt of the reported issues and what are the corrective actions they are taking on their side.
Avoid paper invoices and send electronic invoices. Today most of the systems are able to import electronic data. Using industry standard formats like EDI will improve the speed of processing at customers end and reduce their work load leading to customer satisfaction.
Publish your Performance Metrics
Let the customers know how good you had been in meeting their delivery requirements. Compute metrics of how many times you have delivered in time, how flexible you had been in meeting expedited delivery requests , delivery changes etc. Developing system capabilities to compute these metrics helps to improve customer satisfaction.
Communication is the key to customer satisfaction in order execution. TPSynergy.com(www.tpsynergy.com) supply chain solution has all the above features to automate the vital communication to customers.