Fulfilling online orders
Automated order processing
Processing a customer's order is the first stage of fulfilment for online sales.
How your business handles orders has a major impact on customer service. It affects initial interest and repeat business. A responsive, automated order-fulfilment process plays a key part in customer satisfaction.
Improving how you handle orders
You need to know how well your business handles orders before you can improve. You should evaluate how orders are processed by doing the following:
- Find the connections between sales, planning, purchasing, etc. Flow charts and activity diagrams can help you map out your processes and highlight the links. There are simple tools available to help you do this.
- Consider linking your systems to those of your customers if you sell to other businesses. Find out what systems they use and work out if yours are compatible.
- Ask staff for their input - they may be able to help you identify problems and solutions.
- Encourage customers to give you feedback on how their orders were handled.
Automating your internal systems can help speed up your order processing. It can make things more efficient. It brings together all departments that handle the order, from website or sales reps to warehouse staff. You can:
Consider using enterprise resource planning software. This can tie in your website with other parts of your business, such as planning, manufacturing and distribution. Decide whether an off-the-shelf package will be enough. It may be worth investing in a system tailored to your particular industry and supply chain. Cheap, easy-to-implement basic order and stock management software is also available. This might suit some smaller businesses.
- Connect your suppliers and customers to the system. Integrate your system with your website, then customer orders that arrive in your system can be transformed into orders to your suppliers. This is so that they can benefit from faster, accurate order information. Invoices can be sent and processed automatically.
Automating your internal systems may speed up order processing, but remember that some customers may still prefer personal interaction to maintain the customer service experience.