When it comes to customer experience, a lot of importance is placed on relationships with end customers. But the customer experience begins long before they place an order or receive a product. And if that customer experience (or CX) is a negative one, then a high-quality product or service may not make up for it.
Your business’ supply chain, therefore, has a major part to play in enhancing CX. Customers want their interactions with you to be seamless and transparent. They don’t want to be kept in the dark about how their order is progressing. Should their order be delayed, keeping them up to speed and in the know matters.
Rather than being secondary to marketing in CX, supply chain management can identify customer needs and have the power to improve CX in numerous different ways. If your business promises a great order experience, but your supply chain processes aren’t quite living up to that word, then it’s vital that they do.
Here, we’ll look at how business software can improve your supply chain management, and offer clear, accurate business data which can then positively impact your overall customer experience management.
- What is Customer Experience?
- Why the Supply Chain is Important to Customer Experience
- Enhancing Customer Experience Through Business Software
We can define CX as the interactions and experiences a customer has with your business throughout the entire customer journey, from the moment they first get in touch to the point they become a loyal customer – and beyond. The more positive experiences someone has, the more likely they are to do repeat business with you.
But isn’t that just the same as customer service? Not quite. Customer service is one part of the whole customer experience. While it’s obviously a crucial aspect of a business’ operations, it’s no longer the central focus. Friendly, helpful interactions over the phone or in person add up to strong customer service, but things like early delivery and rewards for loyalty are what create a great customer experience.
There’s more to the supply chain than it simply being a pre-purchase journey. It might seem like the supply chain is a ‘behind-the-scenes’ process that customers aren’t privy to. But the customer has emotional and physical needs, and the supply chain has a large hand in meeting these.
Things like product availability, delivery times and service quality matter to customers more than ever, especially since logistics require large amounts of customer interactions. By making each stage of the supply chain visible and accountable to your customers, it becomes far easier to deliver stronger CX. Simply put, strong supply chain management puts you in a better position to meet your customers’ expectations.
Let’s take a look at how supply chain management can do just that…
For customers, instant interaction is essential. They don’t want to wait for emails or be kept on hold over the phone. With CX’s importance gaining ground, those involved with the supply chain – including customers – expect interactions to be conducted in real time too.
With the right software, it’s possible to collect and analyse customer feedback at every step of the process, from initial contact all the way up to receiving or returning your product. By placing CX at the centre of your supply chain in conjunction with supply chain software, you can create total supply chain visibility that’s integrated with data from customers at multiple touchpoints, all from a multitude of sources.
Through the combination of insights from orders, points of service and social media, your business can adapt quickly and deliver a service that’s tailored to these needs, without disruption or compromise to scale.
A recent Statista survey found that, in 2019, 12% of respondents failed to have their items delivered to them. Along with the other reasons they frequently encounter (damage during delivery, late arrivals, parcels being left in insecure locations), customers can easily lose confidence in a business as a result of lacklustre shipping processes.
It might seem like a product is “out of the business’ hands” after it’s shipped, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With mobile technologies, it’s possible to deliver end-to-end traceability at all stages of shipment.
With such devices and platforms, your employees can scan everything from container numbers to package serial numbers using optical character recognition, as well as barcodes and digital copies of bills. When this data is uploaded, customers can instantly access the information, allowing them to track their packages in real time.
Improving Inventory Management
Closely tied to supply chain management, inventory management is another excellent means of improving your CX. Not only can it reduce time-consuming processes, but it also lowers costs by reducing inventory levels to the correct amounts. This cuts down on both carrying costs and reduces the amount of money being poured into slow-moving products.
So, how does this improve your CX? As well as freeing up your employees so they can deal with more challenging inventory management tasks, inventory management software itself can also keep track of your orders and shipments. When a customer needs to know where their order is, pulling out key information becomes far easier with a digital system to hand.
Keeping your customers on your side is vital. For more insights and information to help improve their experience with you, read our in-depth articles here:
- 8 Essential Tips for Customer Retention
- A Guide to Managing Customer Expectations in Times of Uncertainty
Whatever industry you operate in, an optimised customer experience can set you apart from the competition. Designed to elevate your business and grow with you, Intact iQ can help your supply chain management function seamlessly and successfully. For more information head to our homepage or get in touch with us today