Inventory management plays a central role in good customer service management. With easy to access data you can match the right order to the right customer and can provide customers with accurate information regarding inventory stock levels.
A company’s reasons for holding inventory is to deliver to its customers what they want, when the they want it and via the platform they choose to purchase from. Therefore, customer satisfaction and positive customer experiences are largely dependent on successful inventory control. There are many areas of inventory management that combine to create exceptional customer service.
Consumers increasingly expect speedy order fulfilment times, meaning companies have less time to pick, pack, and ship items. A rapid order fulfilment relies on effective inventory control and efficient warehouse operations to reduce your order fulfil time.
Warehouse and storage areas need to be organised and inventory stock conveniently located to improve turnaround times, hasten dispatch and increase the speed at which customers’ orders are fulfilled.
Implementing an automated inventory management system will streamline your order fulfilment process, and analytic tools will help to identify fast and slow-moving items. This will enable you to have popular items available to instantly fulfil a customer’s order while reducing your levels of slow-moving stock. Subsequently, diminishing the reasons for holding inventory as buffer or safety stock.
You don’t want inventory control to fail during peak seasons and be unable to deliver your customers those ‘must have’ seasonal items. You want to have popular seasonal merchandise in stock and ready to go.
Inventory management will help you balance the flow of seasonal merchandise, enabling you to better meet consumer demand for an item without being left with excess inventory stock at the end of the season.
As much as a business doesn’t want customers returning products, customers equally don’t want the returns process to be a hassle. Inventory management helps you manage the customer experience when it comes to product returns.
An inventory management system can track important data concerning returned items and giving you the option to maintain additional inventory levels that mirror your return rates. Additionally, you can monitor reasons for returns and address issues to reduce the rate of returns, helping to maintain customer satisfaction.
Delivering great customer service and a positive customer experience every time begins long before a sales transaction takes place. By developing smarter practices and procedures to increase inventory accuracy you can improve lead times, save money and ensure greater satisfaction and consumer loyalty.
Optimal inventory management is all about having what the customer wants, when and where they want it, while exceptional customer service is about meeting and exceeding consumer expectations. Having the right inventory control system will enable you to deliver on both.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.