Over the last several months, we’ve had several conversations with manufacturers who have told us that their primary means of receiving orders from their customers is via EDI or FAX/email. Furthermore, because of their desire to provide superb customer services to their customers, that was not going to change in the near future. They reasoned that if that was their customers’ preferred way to interact with them, who were they to tell them otherwise? They certainly were not going to ask their customers to retype their orders into an eCommerce website!
That usually sent me into my prerecorded message of:
“well…that can’t be true of ALL of your customers! They’re ordering from Amazon at home in record numbers, don’t you think they come to work with heightened eCommerce expectations?”
I was so tired of hearing this “customers don’t want to use the web” storyline that I blogged about it almost one year ago to the day.
Then I got educated about the real value of Order Status.
<First a little background.>
Last year we spent a lot of time helping Blount, Inc. bring their customers on board to our service. I described our first Go Live with them at the end of last April when they brought their US Distributors onto our service. No one really knew how successful that was going to be because no order entry was going to be conducted in this phase (the ultimate strategy was to bring Europe onto the service with Order Entry). The vast majority of Blount’s US Distributors conduct business with Blount via EDI, so this was going to be our first “Order Status” only implementation.
A few weeks after the official launch we knew we had struck a positive chord. Anecdotal data was coming in regularly. Customers were emailing in their praise. Customer Service Reps were reporting that they were becoming more efficient and Sales Reps were confirming that their meetings with customers were extremely positive.
It wasn’t until last week, when I was preparing for a presentation with our newest business partner, Esker, that I bothered to dig into the Google Analytics data to see what the quantitative results were.
<End of background.>
The following Google Analytics snapshot is of production data for the four month period between June 1 and October 31 of 2009. During that time, there were close to 150 users registered on the website who collectively logged in almost 3700 times. None of them had Order Entry privileges.
We have configured Google Analytics to track four different Goals for each of our clients. These Goals are direct measures for efficiencies gained in the Customer Support organization. Basically, if a customer is performing the action on the web, than by definition that means that a Customer Service Rep isn’t. These Goals are:
- Place Order – placed a confirmed order
- Status Check – researched an existing sales order (delivery status, link to carrier website)
- Document Download – downloaded a reprint of a document (order confirmation, bill of lading, invoice)
- eInvoice – researched an invoice
When we define these Goals, we provide Google with a time/dollar estimate of the savings realized whenever a website visitor accomplishes one of these goals. Google Analytics does all of the hard work of monitoring our website, aggregating the data and providing us a simple reporting interface.
Here is what Google Analytics is telling us:
- There were indeed zero orders placed via our website during this period of time.
- Almost 2400 Goals were achieved with Status Checking the most popular use of the website.
- Almost two thirds of every visit to the website registered one of these business Goals.
- The cost savings realized were close to $18K over this four month period ($4500 per month). And that’s from supporting only 150 users.
Those are impressive results and I am now a believer!
We basically have a website doing the job of one full time Customer Service representative who was doing nothing but giving out routine information about when orders could be expected, why invoices weren’t making sense and sending out reprints of documents. That Customer Service representative can now be redeployed to focus on more revenue generating tasks.
EDI and FAX orders are now my friends.
Order Status anyone?