Why a better “back of house” means better customer service
The efficiency with which you can respond to the demands of your customers – and ensure the timely delivery of products – relies heavily on having suitable back of house systems and processes.
Without the right technology in place, delays can occur, orders can be missed, and deliveries can end up in the wrong destination. This can result in potentially big issues for customers and a less than ideal service experience.
Conversely, efficiencies in your supply chain, warehousing, finance and distribution operations can significantly enhance and evolve the customer experience.
At Sable37, we believe there are four key ways in which a robust back of house system can help you to deliver a super customer experience:
1. Improved inventory monitoring/management
For a customer, the only thing that’s more frustrating than finding an item is out of stock is finding that the retailer has no idea when it will be replenished. Unless you have suitable technology in place, there’s no way for you to quickly provide a customer with the information they need.
With a solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, however, your entire sales team can access crucial information on every element of your supply chain, anywhere, at any time, and from any device. This means you can very quickly determine where stock is located around the clock. You can also determine how long it will take for a product to be delivered to your warehouse, or directly to a customer’s address, and provide this information to customers with confidence.
By using technology to take control of your supply chain, can also greatly reduce the time you spend shipping, receiving, tracking and compiling order data overall – which means you have more time to focus on your customers’ needs.
2. Greater customer self-service
Today, customers expect to have far more control over the entire sales process. They want to know where a product comes from, and if they are buying online, exactly when it will arrive.
With a powerful back of house solution, you can provide your end customers with the means to continually track the status of their orders. You can also potentially provide customers with current stock inventory details via your website to enhance the overall sales process.
IKEA Australia, for instance, provides very detailed live updates regarding product availability at certain stores. This means customers don’t need to travel to the store if an item they are looking for is unavailable, and also reduces the burden on the store’s call centre.
3. Rapid identification and resolution of issues
When you’re managing a complex supply chain, issues are sometimes unavoidable. Stock can go missing at sea, items can be confused in the warehouse, and orders can be misplaced. These scenarios can, of course, have a major impact on the overall customer experience.
With a robust back of house solution, however, you can far more effectively monitor and control your supply chain – meaning you can quickly determine if an issue is occurring (or is about to occur) and take proactive steps to resolve it before it impacts end delivery. By incorporating RFID tags, for instance, you’ll never lose track of your stock – from the moment it leaves the manufacturer, to the moment it arrives in your warehouse. Similarly, through implementing remote device monitoring, you can quickly determine if there is an issue with any of your equipment that is likely to cause delays – and rectify the issue before it impacts your customers.
4. Automated administration and processes
Managing a retail business and a busy supply chain takes considerable time and effort. And the more time you spend managing the administrative aspects of your supply chain, the less time you have to focus on improving your customer experience.
Manually submitting orders, cross-checking inventory, processing invoices and chasing up suppliers can be extremely time consuming – particularly if you’re managing multiple suppliers and distribution networks. If you’re managing everything manually, there’s also a reasonable chance items will be overlooked and errors made from time to time.
By automating many of the time-consuming steps in the supply and delivery of products, however, you can streamline your entire supply chain, reduce the likelihood of error and gain greater insight into your ordering systems. You can, for instance, set up automated ordering processes, through which a particular item will be re-ordered whenever stock is running below a certain level. You can also automate your invoicing and streamline your payment reconciliation, saving you precious time and money.
How Beaumont Tiles improved its customer service by streamlining its back of house
Beaumont Tiles’ previous retail management system was nearing the end of its life, and the company set out to find a replacement. They wanted a solution that could manage the full spectrum of their retail and distribution operation. After evaluating several major ERP and retail management systems, Sable37 helped Beaumont Tiles select a Microsoft Dynamics for Retail solution.
In the past, Beaumont Tiles’ employees were required to manually input data and wait long periods of time to download reports and bank statements. Their previous system lacked the flexibility to automate simple processes such as emailing invoices or integrating freight forwarding information into the system. This meant many hours of labour simply to sync up reports and complete simple tasks.
Microsoft Dynamics for Retail enables Beaumont Tiles to streamline its finance, budgeting and warehousing system. IT also enables the company to embrace emerging technologies that enhance the in-store experience for both customers and sales people.
As a result, Beaumont Tiles has replaced labour intensive, manual processes with a more unified approach to doing business.
Find out more
You can read the full Beaumont Tiles case study here.