The Importance of Inventory Management in Customer Support

Dustin Caudell
Mon, Sep 14, 2015
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Customer care agents need inventory data to answer questions and concerns.

A customer's interaction with a retailer isn't always over after the sale. The business is in charge of making sure the consumer receives the merchandise he or she paid for in a timely fashion. When items are received on time and in optimal condition, it encourages future purchases.

Companies establish customer care centers to nurture ongoing relationships with consumers. Employees answer questions and deal with concerns to keep customers content and motivate further sales. Customer care agents need information to handle the many issues consumers might have. Visibility of inventory management activities provides call centers and online support employees with the data they need for success.

Integrated Customer Support
Should customer support be a priority? Forbes explained how some companies only focus on customer care centers after issues reach executives. These businesses don't invest time and resources in their customer support departments, they just expect the employees to solve problems as they come up and move on.

Customer care centers can be an integral part of a company. They are the direct line between a retailer and the people who buy and use the products. The information that comes out of customer engagements provides companies with insight into performance. Recurring issues indicate which processes have to change and constant praise demonstrates success in sales tactics or product lines. The data collected by customer care agents must be part of a business's infrastructure.

A company operating with a single data platform also provides a care center with the information it needs to answer every possible question a customer may pose.

Inventory Visibility Provides Care Agents With Answers
If a customer shops online, delivery dates are part of the transaction. Econsultancy conducted a multichannel retail survey that found 50 percent of shoppers would abandon an online transaction if it didn't offer the delivery options they wanted.

E-commerce retailers need to provide their customers with their preferred delivery schedule, what's more, they must keep their promises. Online customers prefer constant communication. They want up-to-date news on delivery statuses, if they don't hear anything, they'll contact the company themselves. Speed is essential in the modern market. When a customer makes contact, he or she wants employees to have answers as soon as they respond.

Customer care agents who work with the same database as warehouse management employees can see every move a piece of inventory makes. They can inform customers on product preparation, shipping or delays. If there are problems, customer service employees must be proactive and contact the customer with a solution before they have time to get upset.

Designing a Warehouse Management System With the Customer in Mind
Integrated information is beneficial for customer care and warehouse operations. Demand Media suggested there were many activities that needed both warehouse and care center involvement such as returns.

Employees must prepare multichannel orders with very specific details, a central database gives every company representative insight into customer needs. Customer information can inform daily inventory management procedures. In an article for Cascade Business News, A grocery store warehouse manager explained how customer demand changed the way he ran inventory. He said he once put too much emphasis on keeping a lean warehouse and found many customers upset with lack of available products. By putting customers first, he improved sales and overall finances.

Warehouse workers can ensure the accuracy of inventory counts with automated data collection strategies. If workers update counts in real-time, care agents can tell customers exactly what stocks are available. Mobile data collection devices provide convenient solutions for shipping and receiving procedures. A company can decide if mobile data collection would be beneficial for its customer care strategies by reading the RFgen white paper "8 Signs You Need an Automated Data Collection Solution."

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