Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the most impact.
In the B2B world, business relationships begin at a personal level, and that’s understandable as we all know; people buy from people. But once the relationship has been established, the focus quickly turns to operations, that is; ordering, fulfillment and delivery.
With an increasingly “on-demand” world available to us in our personal lives, our expectations have lifted in our business lives as a result. Prompt and successful fulfillment of orders is a given, but it’s no longer enough to simply receive an email with a reference number, and then just wait. Regular progress and status updates is the new normal. Anything less seems antiquated. And while there may be trading terms with SLAs in place, nothing beats knowing exactly where something is at, without having to ask.
Example: Automatic status updates from ServiceNow
And why not? The bad old days meant that a customer, the requester of things, would constantly have to “pull” information themselves. That is, having to a call into a service desk, or pestering an account manager in order to get updates on an order. And the poor person sourcing these answers wasn’t likely to be any better informed; often relying on querying other teams, looking up systems or calling external suppliers for updates.
When we automate a process, we stay in sync with every step of a transaction. “Soup to nuts” if you will. This allows us to provide detailed statuses at all times based on the various steps and triggers which happen along the way. Through various integrations, we can automatically get statuses from downstream systems, but we can accept updates pushed to us as well which means there’s no excuses to letting someone know where exactly their order is at.
So if you want to answer your customers’ questions before they ask – the best way to do that is to give them absolute clarity as to where their order is at all times. It not only reassures them that everything is under control – it alleviates any stress on their behalf of having to guess if delivery will be on time. It also makes your processes look super professional and efficient… which they may already be… but your customer does not know what they cannot see!