Responding To Customer Inquiries During Supply Chain Disruption

How do you handle disruption in your supply chain?

With COVID-19 driving financial markets into high volatility, manufacturers are experiencing significant supply chain disruption. As Harvard Business Review reports, US manufacturers who depend on Chinese suppliers likely won’t experience the fullness of disruption until mid-March, when their extra inventory is depleted and the 30-day delay of reduced ocean shipping from China hits US ports.

These supply chain issues will lead to reduced revenue and increased profitability pressure on manufacturers around the world. Until supply chain issues can be resolved, these manufacturers will have to increase their levels of communication with customers.

There are two ways to do that.

1. Human-to-Human (Customer Service staff must adapt to spike in inquiries)

For many manufacturers, this is the default model, whether the supply chain is running smoothly or experiencing disruption. Human-to-human interaction is the only way these companies can handle an explosion of customer service inquiries.

That’s a problem. Customer Service departments generally aren’t staffed with a lot of margin. Under the human-to-human model, there are only 2 ways to handle the massive increase in order inquiries which supply chain disruption causes:

  • Temporarily hire more CSRs (Customer Service Representatives)
  • Have your existing staff work overtime

Since services costs scale up alongside volume, the Human-to-Human model isn’t the most efficient way to handle an explosion of inquiries. That’s particularly true if you’re temporarily hiring more CSRs. In fact, expanding the Customer Service department presents all kinds of friction points:

  • Hiring
  • Training
  • Expanding office capacity

This is why the Human-to-Human model isn’t the best way to handle an increase in post-order inquiries.

Luckily, there is another way.

2. Human-to-Machine (Give customers a self-service order status portal)

As supply chain disruption increases, customer demands for communication increase, too. A self-service post-order care portal is the most efficient way to handle this communication.

That’s the thinking behind Corevist Order Tracking. Rather than depending on human interaction to answer every routine inquiry, our solution empowers your customers to get routine post-order updates through a self-service portal.

, Responding To Customer Inquiries During Supply Chain Disruption

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See Corevist Order Tracking in action. Full order & invoice history, direct from SAP.

 

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Since our solution is integrated to SAP ERP, your customers get live, real-time data for every routine post-order question they may have:

  • Order status for all orders, whether they were placed by phone, fax, email, EDI, or eCommerce.
  • Shipment notifications, status, & tracking numbers for all orders.
  • View and reprint order confirmation PDFs, straight from SAP.
  • View open items, invoices, & order documents, straight from SAP.
  • Download their entire order history in CSV format.
  • Review their payment terms with you.
  • View their real-time credit status (plus month-end statement).

The Takeaway: Future-proof your post-order care process

Whether your supply chain is humming along or experiencing disruption, a post-order status portal like Corevist Order Tracking gives your customers the information they need in a self-service interface. This reduces your cost of post-order care, creates greater customer satisfaction, and future-proofs your business for supply chain disruption.

Moving forward: FREE case study

Want to see self-service post-order care in real life? Download this case study on Blount International. You’ll learn how this manufacturer of forestry & agricultural equipment transitioned to a self-service portal for customer service, then expanded the platform to full B2B eCommerce with multiple global storefronts.

Learn more

FREE Case study: Blount International

Learn how multiple departments came together as Blount International launched ecommerce.
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About Author

, Responding To Customer Inquiries During Supply Chain Disruption

George Anderson

George serves as Digital Marketing Manager. A blogger and journalist with a passion for B2B ecommerce, he has written for the Magento blog, Digitalcommerce360, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, ERPgenie, and others.