An online order management system that is specifically designed for your sales reps and B2B customers will bring you many benefits. Letting them enter orders and answer their own questions 24/7 frees up your inside staff to focus their time on problem solving and growing your business rather than order entry and customer service. An online portal also improves customer service by eliminating the wait for answers to the most common customer and rep questions, such as inventory, pricing, and tracking numbers. Most B2B customers and reps will begin using your new online portal immediately.
Here are some tips to make the transition easy and encourage the few that will be slow to adopt it.
Single Out Loyal Customers
Pick a dozen of your favorite and most-loyal customers to start with for the first week. Choose the customers that have been asking for an online ordering system, those who keep odd hours, and those who are eager to try new processes. This will give your staff a week to get used to the system and will show you any settings that need to be fine-tuned before you roll it out to everyone.
Talk It Up
There is no better strategy than to talk it up. Make sure your inside staff mentions your new system every time they talk or exchange emails with customers and reps. Simple things like “thanks for your order…we have this great new system that I think you will really like… I will email you an invitation right now so please try placing your next order online.” Just asking your customers whether they would like to place their orders online will encourage a number to make the switch. Reps should take to it right away once they realize how much time they’ll save.
No Incentives Needed
Resist the temptation to offer a discount or free shipping just for using the online ordering system…it sets an unnecessary precedent and costs you money. Experience has taught that there is no need to offer an incentive to use an online order management system. Sales reps especially should understand that it is expected that they use the system to do order entry and answer their customers’ questions. Your inside staff may need to gently remind certain reps that 95% of their questions can now be answered online, and that it is quicker and more accurate for them to order using the online order form than it is to type out an email. Your wholesale customers shouldn’t need an incentive either once they understand how simple the system is to use.
Include Your Contact Information
You will have a few customers who prefer the personal attention they receive when ordering over the phone; every company does. Convincing these customers to order through your site typically is a matter of reminding them that your employees are still there, standing by to help them. Even though they do not talk with someone during the order process, there is someone waiting to take their call or answer their email.
Including your company’s contact information on the home page of the portal reminds customers that they can still call or email and that they will always have the support of your sales and customer service teams.
Every order that comes in through the portal saves your staff from boring order entry into QuickBooks. A portal that syncs with QuickBooks will also allow your customers and reps to answer their own customer service questions 24/7. An online ordering system also makes the rep look knowledgeable when they are talking to the customer because they will have all the info on the account right at their fingertips. Taking a little time and following these simple tips for customer and rep adoption will increase the benefits of your new order management system.