It is not enough to provide great products at great prices, you absolutely must provide a great customer experience to remain competitive. Whether you realize it or not, your fulfillment is an extension of your customers’ experience and should be treated with attention to detail. If you’re looking to improve customer satisfaction, first ask yourself– How do my fulfillment operations measure up?
Whether you pick, pack and ship your own orders with a small in-house team or outsource fulfillment and shipping to a trusted third party, here are the metrics you should stay on top of:
1. Receiving Speed & Accuracy
Accurate orders with quick turnaround times begin with fast and accurate inventory receiving. The quicker inventory is received and stored for picking, the sooner it is available for sale. It is also important to note that receiving inventory incorrectly, such as mislabeled SKUs and incorrect counts, causes problems early in the fulfillment process.
2. Inventory Accuracy
How closely does your recorded inventory count reflect your physical inventory? If your inventory accuracy is not 100%, you should be looking for ways to improve it or for a fulfillment partner who can. Discrepancies in inventory counts can lead to back orders– a customer places an order for an item showing as “in-stock” only to find it is not available for picking.
3. Order Processing Speed
As the demand of 2-day shipping becomes the norm, for retailers that means same-day order processing. Missing cut-off times for carrier pickups can add an extra day for delivery. You may not have direct control over shipping times (i.e. delays on behalf of the carrier), but you do have control over how quickly an order is processed and ready for delivery.
4. Order Tracking Availability
Customers want to know expected delivery dates and shipment updates. A customer eagerly awaiting a shipment can be put at ease by having visibility into shipping status. The ability to provide order tracking as soon as possible, followed by timely updates, is an important component of fulfillment that increases customer satisfaction.
5. Order Accuracy
The most critical metric of successful order fulfillment is delivering the right amount of the right item, each and every time. Incorrect orders affect the likelihood of a repeat purchase and the cost of issuing a return is a huge profit drainer. With a staggering 23% of returns due to incorrect items, 100% order accuracy should always be the focus.
6. Returns Efficiency
Successful fulfillment includes successful returns. A well-executed return can create a loyal customer, while a poor customer returns experience can cost you repeat business. A return due to an incorrect shipment is your second chance to prove yourself to a customer, don’t let the customer down! Returns should be easy and quick for your customers to initiate and for your employees to process.
Order fulfillment is a critical component of customer satisfaction that should not be neglected. Routine evaluation of fulfillment metrics can prevent issues and avoid delays for customer delivery. Continuously improving each aspect of fulfillment creates a positive customer experience and promotes repeat purchases.