No matter how large or small your business may be, it is important that you provide the best possible service to your customers. When a customer is happy with his or her shopping experience, it is more likely that he or she will come back again. However, if a customer has a bad shopping experience, he or she may not come back. Furthermore, he or she may tell others to stay away. With that in mind, how does supply impact service?
You Can’t Give Customers What You Don’t Have
Let’s say that you own a seafood restaurant that sells hundreds of lobsters each week. If you suddenly run out of lobster, you won’t be able to provide your customers with the one thing that they took time out of their days to eat. While your patrons may understand that supply chains are interrupted from time to time, they may stop coming to your establishment if disruptions occur on a frequent basis. If your restaurant is known regionally or nationally, you could be letting down people who may have traveled from hundreds or thousands of miles away to try your specialty dish.
Exceptional Communication is Key
If your business is experiencing disruptions in its supply chain, it is important that you are upfront and honest with your customers about it. This means posting signs at physical store locations, posting notices on eCommerce sites and using social media to get the word out. Although your customers may be upset about the inconvenience that the disruption has caused, they may be willing to forgive and forget if they are told promptly about the issue. If not, even a single interruption could do enough damage to your company’s brand to hinder it going forward.
Improve Customer Service with Supply Chain Management
Those who are looking to start their own business may wish to spend some time learning the best supply chain management techniques. For some, this may mean going to school to get a degree in this subject area. For others, it may mean learning about different software programs available to keep track of where items are. Many supply chain management companies have inventory management systems that can help them know exactly how many units of a given item are in a store at any time. When inventory gets too low, the system itself may be able to put in another order. By knowing exactly what you have at all times, you can be proactive in making sure that customers have what they want and need when they want or need it.
How to Manage Issues Out of Your Hands
In some cases, you may not have what your customers want or need because of problems with your suppliers. If a supplier doesn’t honor a delivery or delivers the wrong items, it could cause a problem from a customer service standpoint. Ideally, you would tell the customer what the exact issue is and how you will make it up to him or her. Some companies choose to issue refunds for items that have already been ordered or offer coupons for discounts on future purchases. While it doesn’t change the fact that a problem occurred, it also sends the message that you won’t blame others for your shortcomings.
It is a common belief in the business world that the customer is always right. While that may not technically be true, the customer does hold a lot of power as it relates to whether or not your company will be a success. Therefore, you have to do whatever it takes to make them happy, which includes having what they want to buy when they want to buy it.