Evaluate Your Own Service

Most merchants will say that they shop their own catalog and Websites to monitor customer service, and most customer contact centers have a call monitoring process. But many aren’t doing a good job of evaluating the total customer service experience for their company. Curt Barry, president of Richmond, VA-based operations consultancy F. Curtis Barry & Co., has a question for multichannel merchants: “Are you shopping your company in a consistent and methodical manner across the fulfillment and returns process?”

Working with a business-to-business client, Barry developed a 40-point evaluation process across order taking, customer service, shipment inspection, and returns processing. “The script we developed incorporated the company’s standards, which had been adopted by management,” Barry says, adding that the company’s president mandated that customer service and fulfillment be a competitive marketing advantage.

The process revealed some key findings: an order paid by credit card was refunded by check; frequent misspellings on customer contact names and incorrect spellings of address lines; and a test call to its Hispanic customer line had a recording that told the customers no one was available who spoke Spanish, and that a rep for the company would call the customer back.

But the news wasn’t all negative: The evaluation revealed a consistent use of dunnage; correct and effective protection of fragile products; good condition of the shipping box through shipment by the carrier; and timely delivery. The findings may be different at your company, but the only way to find out is to monitor your entire fulfillment process to ensure that it meets total service expectations.

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