Optimising order management
How clear is the lead to cash process in your business?
It is widely accepted that customer retention is far easier than acquisition. The order management process is key to all organisations that sell a product, be it hardware, software or services.
One of the common symptoms of a poorly defined order management process is poor customer service. Customer Service and customer satisfaction are inherently related. Consequently, poor order management processes can have a real impact on your customer satisfaction and your overall lead to cash process.
As consumers we’ve all been in a situation where there’s been a mistake related to an online order. We are quick to blame individual staff at the retailer. More often than not human error is not to blame (as much as we’d like to think it is!). These problems are actually quite common but rarely seen by customers. They are usually caused by a deep rooted business issue within the order management operation. Broadly speaking, there are two types of order management issues; those caused upstream of the order management process, and those caused directly within it. Examples are provided below;
- Different products are sold in isolation by different teams
- The data captured is re-keyed and often inconsistent with each other
- The order management team having to reconcile accounts and clean up data at the point of processing orders in order to maintain the customer impression of an integrated, efficient order process
- Order Management Specialists (OMS) do not prioritise their accounts (as per formal process) as they never had to do this previously
- Instead, OMSs use custom dashboards to manage their accounts. Often end up providing courtesy calls to one-time clients that aren’t expecting that level of customer service
- OMSs do not consistently provide high priority clients with a courtesy call at each key order milestone as per standard service agreement
- Customer service team get increased number of calls from high priority clients chasing orders which are in progress
What Causes Customer Service Problems?
Inadequate Data Model
Today’s society dictates that consumers can purchase from almost anywhere. An obstacle businesses face is managing a data model sophisticated enough to control multiple orders. A lack of access to data, or poor quality data, can be a catalyst for a deficient order management system. It’s important to understand that poor quality data doesn’t necessarily have to originate within the order management process. It may have been created within upstream, but be impacting your ability to process orders.
If your order management approach differs between all your products it can be problematic. Issues such as unexplained delays and disassociated orders from the same customer are common. In an age where markets are fiercely competitive, and customer expectations are higher than ever, these can easily lose you a customer to a competitor.
Smart Tips Approach
To help you improve your customer service maturity, and therefore your customer retention rate, we’ll take a look at a number of different aspects of your business. Our analysis approach isn’t limited to your order management business area, we look at all business units alongside one another to understand the interactions and outcomes, and how these affect your overall Lead to Cash (L2C) effectiveness.
Aspect 1: Organisation Vision
The underlying vision and strategy of the organisation and the order fulfilment principles. We need to know what your strategic goals are. We can then identify the gap between reality and the ideal, and create a prioritised backlog of pain points, addressing these based on placing the ones with the biggest impact on the customer experience first.
Aspect 2: Customer Profiles
Your customers and clients will have different needs and expectations of your organisation so trying to create a process that pleases all of them at once will invariably end up pleasing none. We’ll profile your customers and client groups so you can create appropriate customer service strategies for each. For example, having dedicated Account Managers can be appropriate for your biggest spending clients, but not for everyone.
Aspect 3: Customer Issues and Causes
Uncover your key customer service pain points and opportunities through research and direct questioning with customers. We’ll then take a holistic approach (using our business modelling tool) to determine the underlying root cause of these issues.
Aspect 4: Stakeholder Processes
Your employees can become just as frustrated with impaired customer service processes as your clients do. By talking to the stakeholders in the order management process teams we can understand their problems and difficulties with any software and the processes. This helps us understand the informal processes being performed as well as the documented ones. Informal steps can be both a symptom and a cause of customer service issues but either way, they are essential to know.
Aspect 5: Data Quality
The quality of your data is key to your success. We look at quality and utilisation. Making sure the right data is available to the right people at the right time is critical – high quality data is useless if it can’t be accessed when needed.
What’s In It for You?
By improving the structure and processes in your customer service activities you are better placed to foster a culture loyalty. Happier customers stay longer and spend more, making them even more valuable to your organisation. Furthermore, customers who receive great service, where you can anticipate their needs before they realise them themselves, are more likely to recommend you to their peers, giving you another opportunity for increasing your business.
We not only help you resolve current issues by identifying and tackling root cause rather than just symptoms, we provide the tools you need to maintain this agile approach and prevent further issues escalating. Our approach is enterprise wide, increasing cooperation between sales, marketing, order management and all the other functions in the organisation. Results are recognised from the start with high impact issues addressed early and outcomes continually analysed to keep projects and improvements on track and in line with organisational objectives