A recent trade publication that made the point that although price will always be important in a customer’s purchasing decision, “outstanding service” is the number one reason that customers do business with a company. Providing superior service is always the goal not just to satisfy customers but to delight them. But how do ecommerce fulfillment companies do this? It is always hard to explain because it starts with having the right attitude. All associates with a fulfillment company, no matter what their role, should recognize the shared role they all play in delighting customers. It is not one person or one task that creates delight for customers is the collection of everyone performing their individual task to the highest level that creates a delighted customer.
One way to support a culture of delighting customers is to provide every associate with real time information to show how the fulfillment company is performing compared to the service level commitments that have been given to customers. All of this metric information exists within the various software systems that are used to run and manage the fulfillment operations but it usually requires someone’s time and effort to run a report and disseminate the information. In the fast paced world of fulfillment where tens of thousands of orders are processed per day, it is not always possible to find the time to pull this information and circulate it to the proper individuals. Many of the more sophisticated fulfillment companies are implementing programs that will actively display real time information on customer level process flow within the operations on monitors throughout the warehouse. This allows every associate to instantly know where the workflow stands and if any bottle necks exist. By providing this real time information to associates who already possess a culture of delighting customers, it allows associates to be pro-active in anticipating issues that may arise, as they inevitably do, and ensure that all of our service level commitments are met or surpassed while delighting the customer.
By Mark DeFabis
President/CFO @ Integrated Distribution Services, Inc.