Supply Chain Challenges: Set Expectations Before It’s Too Late

October 15, 2021


Excellent customer service is a competitive advantage. According to various industry surveys, 60% of customers stop doing business with a brand after one poor service experience. And, 67% of this churn is preventable if the customer's problem is resolved during their first interaction.

Supply Chain Challenges, Last Mile Delivery Delays & Fewer Workers

This holiday season will likely test customer service departments across all industries due to many businesses facing lower inventory levels than planned because of delays across supply chains. In addition, last-mile delivery delays are anticipated. Package delivery demand is forecasted to exceed capacity by about 5 million pieces per day, UPS CEO Carol Tomé said during the company's Q2 earnings call in July.

Another concern impacting customer service is that many businesses have posted “Now Hiring” signs as workers opt to leave jobs in search of better benefits or to start their own businesses.

Lower inventory availability, limited last-mile capacity available and fewer workers will strain businesses as they manage the back-end with the front-end of the business.

According to consulting firm, McKinsey, “predictive customer insight is the future.”

However, we suggest that the future is now.

Now is the time for businesses to be proactive instead of reacting to incidents that have already occurred. The key is to understand and analyze a host of data including the customer, its supply chain and the market situation and proactively communicate with customers.

Set expectations.

  • Is the inventory or item ordered delayed? Tell the customer and provide a revised estimated time of arrival.
  • Is the sweater that a customer ordered online no longer available? Alert customers on the website, i.e., limited number available, out of stock etc. along with alternative suggestions.
  • Did the customer have a poor experience online or in-store? Investigate, own it and make it right.

A great example of setting expectations is from Nordstrom. The retailer recently sent an email to customers about the upcoming holiday season along with recommendations on navigating the challenges.  The email was shared on social media by a number of people applauding the message.

Supply Chain Challenges

Of course, it’s not just on retailers and similar businesses to set such expectations. Supply chain providers and carriers need to do so as well. Communications is important particularly in today’s environment which has been impacted by non-stop disruptions over the past few years.


ABOUT SPEND MANAGEMENT EXPERTS

Spend Management Experts has united with Transportation Insight to become North America’s #1 provider of small parcel management and optimization services.  Our team of best-in-class analysts employs cost modeling techniques to help clients optimize their supply chain spend, reducing costs by 20% or more.  Our approach is non-invasive to daily supply chain operations as we employ unparalleled market intelligence and proprietary cost modeling technology, targeting hidden costs and identifying savings opportunities. After establishing the success criteria, SME leverages proven project plans, data warehousing, and milestone documents to ensure an optimized and implementable solution. We build strong business cases based on your data to negotiate better terms, pricing, and service for our clients. We deliver your competitive edge.

Connect with Spend Management Experts on TwitterLinkedIn, and the Spend Management Experts blog.

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Supply Chain Challenges: Set Expectations Before It’s Too Late

October 15, 2021


Excellent customer service is a competitive advantage. According to various industry surveys, 60% of customers stop doing business with a brand after one poor service experience. And, 67% of this churn is preventable if the customer's problem is resolved during their first interaction.

Supply Chain Challenges, Last Mile Delivery Delays & Fewer Workers

This holiday season will likely test customer service departments across all industries due to many businesses facing lower inventory levels than planned because of delays across supply chains. In addition, last-mile delivery delays are anticipated. Package delivery demand is forecasted to exceed capacity by about 5 million pieces per day, UPS CEO Carol Tomé said during the company's Q2 earnings call in July. Another concern impacting customer service is that many businesses have posted “Now Hiring” signs as workers opt to leave jobs in search of better benefits or to start their own businesses. Lower inventory availability, limited last-mile capacity available and fewer workers will strain businesses as they manage the back-end with the front-end of the business. According to consulting firm, McKinsey, “predictive customer insight is the future.”

However, we suggest that the future is now.

Now is the time for businesses to be proactive instead of reacting to incidents that have already occurred. The key is to understand and analyze a host of data including the customer, its supply chain and the market situation and proactively communicate with customers. Set expectations.
  • Is the inventory or item ordered delayed? Tell the customer and provide a revised estimated time of arrival.
  • Is the sweater that a customer ordered online no longer available? Alert customers on the website, i.e., limited number available, out of stock etc. along with alternative suggestions.
  • Did the customer have a poor experience online or in-store? Investigate, own it and make it right.
A great example of setting expectations is from Nordstrom. The retailer recently sent an email to customers about the upcoming holiday season along with recommendations on navigating the challenges.  The email was shared on social media by a number of people applauding the message. Supply Chain Challenges Of course, it’s not just on retailers and similar businesses to set such expectations. Supply chain providers and carriers need to do so as well. Communications is important particularly in today’s environment which has been impacted by non-stop disruptions over the past few years.

ABOUT SPEND MANAGEMENT EXPERTS

Spend Management Experts has united with Transportation Insight to become North America’s #1 provider of small parcel management and optimization services.  Our team of best-in-class analysts employs cost modeling techniques to help clients optimize their supply chain spend, reducing costs by 20% or more.  Our approach is non-invasive to daily supply chain operations as we employ unparalleled market intelligence and proprietary cost modeling technology, targeting hidden costs and identifying savings opportunities. After establishing the success criteria, SME leverages proven project plans, data warehousing, and milestone documents to ensure an optimized and implementable solution. We build strong business cases based on your data to negotiate better terms, pricing, and service for our clients. We deliver your competitive edge. Connect with Spend Management Experts on TwitterLinkedIn, and the Spend Management Experts blog.

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