Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is it 1 or 29?

By: Karen Saum

Mistakes happen. We are all human and this will be a fact forever. Just how we count mistakes needs to be considered as we embrace and charge on with the focus on customer experience based metrics and model.

One little warehouse error, when counted as 1 in the olden days pre-customer experience, could, and should be viewed much differently now.  For instance, a customer orders a quantity of two of one item. Despite a box being clearly marked as QTY 8, in a hurry, during busy season a temp picker picks two boxes full of the item to ship to the customer.  Unfortunately, being busy season, the packer doesn't notice the picking error thus the customer receives 16 of the item, not 2. 

Honesty is the best policy, thus Mr. Customer calls the company to inform them of the error. A pre-paid return shipment is arranged. Since this is a hot selling item, 14 other customers who thought they would receive the item immediately, since it was originally in stock, were forced to back order status. 

Upon receiving the return of the over-pick, inventory was adjusted before back orders were filled. Since this business sells purely on-line, the items sell out to 14 other customers before the original 14 customers who were in line first were assigned the inventory justly due to them. This forces those 14 new customers into back order status until inventory is received by the manufacturer.

So, despite being one human warehouse mistake, 29 customer experiences were negatively impacted. Not to mention the addition costs to the company incurred by paying more in postage to ship the original much bigger package to the first customer, also the return shipping costs to get back the merchandise, the additional cost of personnel in customer care, receiving, returns and warehouse to make things right.

Customer experience requires a totally different mentality all the way around in an organization. So, do you count this as 1 or 29? Just some food for thought to ponder as we proceed on the Customer Experience Initiative.

For over 25 years, Karen has been involved in the Sales or Customer Service fields supporting either Telecommunications or the Retail Industries.  Most recently, she has held various positions for an on-line retailer and played many roles within the rapidly growing company.  This has afforded her the privilege to understand better the different roles within the business world and use this information to enhance the Sales and Customer Care department.

A specialist in Relationship Sales and the Benedictine Rule of Customer Care, Karen is an advocate for her customers and understands the importance of positive Customer Experience in a profitable and successful business. Follow Karen on twitter @chgotochlt

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