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How innovate warehouse services will positively retain customers’ loyalty

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Picture this. A new order arrives at your warehouse. Another order for delivery.  An order from the customer services department goes to the sales department and from there to the warehouse manager. The warehouse manager assigns someone to proceed with the order. From the area zone and the shelf, to the pack station, then to the loading area and ultimately to the customer’s doorstep (be it retailer, wholesaler or the final consumer). Such operations as simple or as frequent as they are, have a critical impact on the company’s buying and selling experience but most importantly they have a significant impact on your customers’ anticipated service, which will eventually lead to their delight and ultimately to their loyalty.
As a result, even the operation within the warehousing environment should be viewed as an indispensable function of extended customer services. Here are four essential tips of how improved warehouse services could assist warehouse personnel in their endeavour of achieving better customer services and contributing to their company’s optimised performance.

1. Be courteous and provide information regarding the order.

The warehouse manager or the storekeeper can follow up and provide necessary information on customer’s order. This simple measure could be accomplished by sending an e-mail or by making a phone call or by sending SMS, supported by a little “Thank you for your order” note. “Mr James your order has been dispatched; you should expect delivery at your store within the next 30 mins”. It certainly goes out of the ordinary approach and for sure, “Mr James” will be pleased to receive such personalised service. This gesture will add tremendous value to your customer or distributor’s relation with the company and most likely it would not cost you anything.

2. Make your delivery order appeared as an added value or a reward to your customer.

Some warehouse departments may feel that they have accomplished their aim, since the customer has already made the purchase. Yes, but not enough … nowadays. Go the extra mile. Go ahead and delight your customer. Thank your customer by including a discount coupon for his next order, or include your latest catalogue or your promotional flier/leaflet, which will enable him/her to get a clearer insight of your product portfolio. You may entice him/her to give you another order sooner than later…

3. Offer appropriate and easy ways for customers’ feedback.

Always provide plain and simple ways for your customers to contact you for their feedback and seek continuously for their suggestions. Put in place various easy and convenient contact ways (i.e. social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or e-mail, phone calls, SMS) to ensure that your customers can remain in contact with you at all times. Aim for highest customers’ satisfaction in your dealings with them. Introduce monthly or bi-monthly customers’ surveys, which will provide you with the required feedback and most importantly with ways and means to improve your services in dealing with them. You may consider a token reward for those customers who frequently participate in your surveys. Spare no effort to delight them, or they will move their business elsewhere…

4. Make any product returns a vital point for feedback and further action.

Product returns is an important part of the warehousing process in dealing with customers. It is not something that warehouse personnel would look forward to it, but it is a very important part of the business. Use this point to gather vital information which will help you to prevent future product returns. Ask your customers to give you as clearly as possible all reasons for the product(s) they return and aim to improve further your ways by learning from such.

Key point:

In our today’s business environment to ensure that each and every customer remains “Delighted” for as long as possible, it would not only require efforts from the Sales department’s operating area, but it should engulf and be a focus point for the total business operation.
Therefore, along with other departments, the Warehouse operation and its service to customers could and should be an added value element in the endeavour of delighting customers and ensuring their so much desired loyalty.

Written by Petros N. Zenieris owner of “The Business Criterion” Consulting & Training Office.
A management consultant & trainer with over 24 years accumulated experience from S. E. Asia & W. Africa.
petros@thebusinesscriterion.com – www.thebusinesscriterion.com

The Business Criterion

Petros Zenieris
Mr. Zenieris’s professional career covers a period of over 24 years accumulated management experience from Europe, (Greece & the U.K.), West Africa (Ghana & Nigeria) & S. E. Asia (China, Singapore & Malaysia) during which he served in various marketing & management capacities on a number of MNCs. Mr. Zenieris received his tertiary education in his native country Greece and in the U.K. He has also attended numerous related seminars & business courses conducted in Greece, in Nigeria (Lagos Business School) as well as in Singapore, which enabled him to advance his professional horizon. Upon his return and settlement in Singapore (along with his family) in December 2009, Mr. Zenieris became a member of the following institutions: a. Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). b. Africa Business Group (AfBG), which operates under the auspices of Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and provides services to its members for their business development in the Sub-Saharan African Region. c. Singapore Management University (SMU) – IIE Entrepreneurs’ Corner; monthly business meetings for assisting and mentoring young entrepreneurs in their endeavour of setting up their own business activities. d. Institute for Adult Learning (IAL).

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