With a soft economy, many retailers are trying to significantly reduce returns in order to boost profits. Some companies are putting more restrictions and conditions on returns. Frankly, I think this will cause further erosion of sales. Who wants to buy a product that can’t be returned, or that carries so many conditions for return?
Q: We would like to achieve world-class results in our operation, but our efforts seem consistently to fall short of our expectations. Can you suggest ways that, as a manager, I could improve the level of teamwork in our operation?
A: The solution could be as simple as improving the level of managerial effectiveness. If you review the following eleven questions as honestly as possible, you may discover that you have only tapped the surface of your capability to achieve world-class results.
Maybe your business is not located in a hurricane zone or tornado alley but they aren't the only natural disasters that can occur that dramatically affect a business. When something devastating occurs weather related or not, it demonstrates just how important it is to have a disaster plan in place. You have to be ready for the unexpected.
A catalog executive suffers from no shortage of metrics to watch for: from average order value to email inquiry turnaround times to indirect labor costs to number of calls answered in 20 seconds or less. The real questions, though, are how to use the numbers, and if the metrics even are appropriate to track for your operations. Comparing operations solely on numbers can be misleading. Is it better to establish a set of best practices and then hold your staff accountable to them?
It's been less than a decade since the word “multichannel” came into use to describe selling through more than one medium. But the complex new world of multichannel merchandising includes potential pitfalls that at best may confuse customers and at worst will alienate them. Chief among these pitfalls: maintaining different strategies and tactics for different channels.
The direct to customer industry (catalog and Internet) finds itself at a cross roads in terms of shipping & handling policies and charges.
Today’s call center mantra is, “Do more with what you have.” In this uncertain economy there is even more pressure to perform miracles by increasing productivity while lowering costs, yet still continuing to provide expected customer service levels. In our consulting engagements with direct call centers and through our F. Curtis Barry & Company Best Practice ShareGroups, we’ve been able to observe the latest call center trends and how managers are dealing with them. Here are some of the major issues that direct customer call centers face, as they examine their costs and try to reduce them without major disruptions to customer service.
Every smart business manager is constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and make the operation more productive. In today’s challenging economic climate, such efforts become even more crucial. Small steps that can help to save money may make a big difference. Our experience in the fulfillment and call center has been that often the same process improvements used to reduce costs also result in better service—and greater customer satisfaction. These are some of our top tips in four of the key areas.
Having managed a call center, I have always been a proponent of in-house call centers, but times are tough and they are changing. Every company today is looking for ways to save money without hurting sales and customer service. As the pressure on businesses to dramatically reduce costs intensifies, you need to look at domestic or off-shore outsourcing of some or all call center and data entry functions as a way to improve your bottom line. Companies are also outsourcing these functions more because they can avoid using capital for new order management and telephone systems.Read More >