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Delivery Services During COVID-19

10 Ways to Optimize Your Delivery Services for COVID-19

By | Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Employee Management, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

COVID-19 has shaken up the whole world and placed a strain on quite a few industries, especially delivery companies. You must be wondering how you can quickly adapt and capitalize on this opportunity.

Logistics and operations can be very well managed remotely. You just need good collaboration tools, an up-to-date database, and a skeletal staff on site who can take care of the actual packaging and dispatch. Let’s discuss this in more detail. What would you need?

We have listed 10 different ways you can keep supplying all your customers and maintain as much normalcy as possible.

1. Display Social Responsibility

Ensure that your in-house operations have preventative systems in place and all your employees have protective equipment. Your business runs because of your employees, so taking care of them will only help your own bottom line. An added bonus—your customers will have greater confidence that they will be receiving non-contaminated products. That will give you an immediate edge over your competition during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Minimum Contact Delivery

This must be one of the first things that you should take care of in light of this global pandemic. Your customers should not feel like they are putting themselves at risk while receiving packages. Introduce curbside delivery with a notification so the customer can pick it up before someone else does. Minimum contact delivery is the way to go, both for your customers and to keep your employees safe.

3. Adjust the Packaging

Something as simple as multi-layered packaging can boost customer trust in your business’ hygiene standards. Add an outer layer of packaging that can be easily discarded by your customers before taking the items inside their houses. Make your customers’ lives easier and reap the benefits in the form of greater sales despite COVID-19.

Optimizing Delivery Services During COVID-19

4. Easier Online Payment Methods

Expand your online, no-contact payment mechanism to include more methods, especially allowing for local preferences. If you only stick to bank transfers and credit card payments, you may lose out on a considerable chunk of your target market.

5. Good Collaboration Tools

Get better worker collaboration and communication tools so you can get in touch with your workers from anywhere, at any time during business hours. Audio and video conferencing tools like Zoom and UberConference, chat software like Slack and Skype, mobile collaboration tools like Telegram, and project management tools like Trello are all free for you to try out with your team and judge their utility yourself. You don’t even need to issue company headsets for business lines. Invest in a good-quality VoIP like RingCentral and get softphones that your employees can use from anywhere, just as long as they have a stable and good Internet connection.

6. Redirect Your Workforce

Move your in-store team towards managing online sales, taking orders through social media, and promoting your business to their personal networks. The faster and more efficiently you can handle online sales, the better it is for your bottom line.

7. Change Hiring Practices

Hire workers who are experienced at remotely handling tasks. That way they can handle your delivery operations from anywhere in the world. The most important point in favor of this approach is that these remote workers have experience in productively doing their jobs in a remote setting. Trying to permanently move an in-house employee towards remote work may not be as effective or accomplished as quickly.

8. Effective Logistics Team

Your business must have an effective logistics team that ensures your inventory records are up to date and your customer support and sales team get quick responses from the warehouses. You don’t need to keep this team on-site. Rather, pare down your on-site team to the bare minimum needed to package and deliver the products and move everyone else to remote work.

9. Faster Customer Support Response

The speed of your customer service team’s response is crucially important for retaining customers. Social distancing is allowing your customers more time to pick and choose which businesses they want to patronize. You are also competing with all other online businesses for your customers. Hence, you want to respond as fast as possible with order confirmation, tracking information, answers to customer questions, and troubleshooting advice.

Look into partnering with a 24 hour call center or after-hours call center to achieve this goal without going through the hassle of recruiting, managing, and monitoring the agents yourself.

10. Better Tracking Mechanism

With the majority of your customers stuck at home and most delivery services bogged down by extra orders and insufficient staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, customers are even more interested in real-time tracking of their orders. If you don’t have an efficient system in place already, remedy that oversight immediately. Track your delivery trucks and plan routes more efficiently, to be able to handle and deliver as many orders as quickly as possible.

Even if the delivery cannot be faster or is unavoidably delayed due to quarantine or lockdown rules, keeping customers informed keeps them satisfied.

Conclusion

These strategies will lower your overhead costs and make your business more competitive despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Switching some of your office jobs to remote roles will directly decrease business expenses, improving your bottom line. Your business will be able to survive and even flourish in tough economic times. Do not waste your time. Look into how these tips apply to your business and make the changes necessary before you are mired down by new problems created by deficiencies in your systems.

Customer Service Call Center Helping You Capitalize on Online Retail's Growth

The Rise of Online Retail and How Managed Support Services Can Help You Get Ahead of the Curve

By | Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support Services

“Online retail is booming and is the next big thing!” Rest assured, this is not an overly-enthusiastic rhetorical claim by some zealous internet purist. Economists and retail analysts agree that online retail has shown steady progress over the last few years and is here to stay.

According to Business Insider, worldwide ecommerce sales increased by 15.5% this year from 2017. In stark contrast, traditional brick-and-mortar sales only increased by a paltry 3.1%. In the US alone, ecommerce sales accounted for 10% of all retail sales—up from 8.2% a year ago. Not only that, online shopping is estimated to be a $526 billion industry in the US, with more than 80% of internet users expected to make an online purchase in 2019.

Statistics for Growth of Ecommerce Sales

Why the Shift to Online Retail?

So why this aggressive shift towards online retail? The most obvious answer is the convenience it provides to its users. Online shopping is hassle-free, usually offers free delivery, and saves so much time! For retailers, it eliminates the pressure to continuously expand physically and open costly brick-and-mortar outlets; an online ecommerce portal ensures an additional revenue stream, not to mention the automatic promotion of the brand.

The Secret to Online Retail Success

Online retail, despite all its pros, is not for the complacent or lazy business owner/manager. It requires constant innovation, which includes providing impeccable and super-responsive human and technical support.

The human part of ensuring a seamless online retail experience includes offering attentive customer service call center support and omnichannel customer experience management. The biggest pitfall is not responding to customer queries and/or comments quickly and efficiently—rub a customer the wrong way and brace yourself for some irreparable (and fast-spiraling) brand bashing on Facebook or Twitter! On the other hand, handle a customer with the due care and diligence by using an experienced customer service call center, and bask in the generous lauding and viral exponential appraisals of your brand! The customer is truly the king (and queen) in the online retail world!

Now come to the second part of innovation—the technical aspect. Technology changes fast. For an online business to run smoothly, it needs to be supported by a solid and scalable online inventory management system and strong backend support that tolerates no downtime.

Nothing puts off an eager shopper who has liberally filled up his/her shopping cart and excitedly clicked check-out more than encountering an annoyingly slow response time, and worse, inefficient or insecure online payment services. According to Statista, 42% of online shoppers worldwide prefer to make their payments via credit cards, while 39% prefer Paypal; imagine the volume of business you would lose if an insecure payment system is in place! Your potential customer will be replaced by a sulky user ready to vent out their frustration on social media. Don’t wait for such a brand assassination and take a proactive approach towards your ecommerce website development. Your listing and inventory management must also be par excellence to ensure all the information is up-to-date and you have no surplus or shortages.

Importance of Secure Online Payment System

Another important aspect is the content on your website, whether it fully describes all aspects of your service or product and resolves all queries of the average customer. Poor quality content and brochure websites do not garner high conversion rates.

Did you know that you only have 0 to 8 seconds to get the visitor’s attention through the headline and the landing page, and even a one second delay can result in a 7% reduced conversion rate? Moreover, detailed product content is considered extremely important by 88% of online shoppers. Not only should the website be aesthetically pleasing and fast, it should be intuitive and interactive, with grammatically correct content that highlights your unique value proposition. Otherwise, you will lose the sale right away.

Important Figures for Online Retail

So how to juggle the tricky trinity of online retail, which is maintain the quality of your product/service, ensure a flawless customer service call center support, and provide solid operational support and backend support systems?

The solution is delegate! A prudent business always focuses on its core product and delegates the ancillary and supporting (but equally important) workflows and tasks to the experts! For online retail, the optimal approach is to get onboard a reputed and well-established support services provider that provides all these services, especially a customer service call center, at a lower cost than an in-house setup. Doing so ensures a unified and seamless customer experience, translating into higher brand loyalty and return on investment.

Checklist for Getting Ahead of the Curve

  • Get customer service call center support to
    • answer queries of potential customers,
    • resolve any issues that arise with current ones
    • provide omnichannel support: email, social media, text, phone, fax etc.
    • manage your customer database to keep track of purchasing history and loyal customers
    • manage your feedback and reviews to convey a positive brand image and transform disgruntled customers to satisfied repeat customers, and
    • give technical support in case glitches appear on the online platform.
  • Invest in backend support for your online retail platform to ensure
    • fast loading speeds, working links, pages, and graphics,
    • a responsive shopping cart, and
    • a secure online payment system.
  • Partner with an ecommerce support services provider to
    • manage your ecommerce brand,
    • ensure up-to-date listing and inventory management,
    • optimize product information through data entry, data cleansing, product catalog management, and indexing services and
    • provide order processing and tracking services.
  • Get an expert content writer to ensure your website’s content is
    • search engine optimized and
    • grammatically correct.

Case in Point

PatPat a 24 hour call center support client of IdeasUnlimited

PatPat, an online apparel company that aims to make affordable quality apparel for moms and kids, seems to have nailed the online shopping experience. They focus on providing reasonable, trendy, and quality wear. But what truly makes them stand out in the jungle of online apparel sites is their attentive customer care. Did they deviate from their core competency of providing apparel to focus on managing the omnichannel customer experience?

Of course not, they simply recruited a customer care center expert. Initially, they only needed two customer care agents but the number grew exponentially as their business flourished, and they now have 30-plus agents ensuring an empathetic customer service call center. The increase in this number shows how important a well-equipped customer care center is! Their 24 hour call center manages their brand image by providing customer service, omnichannel support, and ecommerce support services.

PatPat is flourishing because the work is done in unison—PatPat focuses on and provides the core product while IdeasUnlimited helps add value to PatPat’s value proposition through its customer service call center. Indeed, a win-win situation!

Conclusion

In a nutshell, retailers that have not figured out how to build a powerful presence online, have not invested in doing so, and are not planning to do so in the future will be left behind. Online retail is certainly not a fad—it is here to stay. The way to get ahead of the curve is to focus on your core competencies and partner with a specialist support services provider for support systems—let your product shine on a scalable and efficient ecommerce platform!