We have all ordered pizzas for home delivery, but have you ever wondered how the ordering system works? It is for not only pizzas; many things can be processed in this way. For example, processing mail orders, placing newspaper and television advertisements, ordering heating oil delivery, booking train or plane tickets, and ordering concert tickets can all utilize an order taking service. These and other functions are based on having someone who will take calls, input the buyer’s details and payment information, and provide confirmation regarding product availability, specifications, and delivery estimates.
From the caller’s point of view, the process of taking an order and supplying the goods or services may seem simple. Look at the overall process in detail, however, and we can see that there is a lot more involved than that. On one hand, you have a large number of people placing orders and, on the other, there are varieties of individual products that need to be inventoried, processed, and shipped. If that is not enough, consider the logistics involved. Delivering the goods to the customer might involve an extensive supply chain of suppliers, wholesalers, warehousing, and so forth. Additionally, there is the whole issue of collecting payment from the customer.
The Advantages of Order Taking Services for Small to Medium Sized Businesses
Not all businesses do large volumes of sales, utilizing sophisticated management platforms, enormous warehouses, and large work forces. A successful business could be a small enterprise or even consist of a single person.
While these companies have no need (and lack the budget for) a large order fulfillment infrastructure, they still need something in place to serve that function. Many attempt to take, fill, and manage all orders in-house. Others, however, utilize call center based order taking services.
Since the activities involving order taking are generic in nature, it often makes sense for businesses to centralize the process, rather than each company having an order-processing department of their own. Beyond the obvious economies of scale, this results in a number of advantages for businesses:
- There is no need to lease and maintain equipment for order processing.
- Your workforce may be better utilized in other departments.
- Payment collection may be simplified and credit card processing fees/overhead can often be reduced.
- Orders can be taken around-the-clock, with little to no added cost.
- Customer support can also be provided 24/7, saving your customer service department resources as well.
How can Order Taking Answering Services Help?
Order taking answering services generally cover the following needs:
- Filling the customer’s order accurately
- Collecting payment information from the customer securely
- Arranging for the goods to be delivered promptly
- The ability to monitor the delivery of goods up to the final destination
- Passing on customer complaints, concerns, and suggestions to the appropriate department promptly
Additionally, since the service is outsourced, it may be provided from any geographical location; communication with the business client is established via telephone and the internet. Secondly, as discussed earlier, it can cater for the requirements of several businesses at the same time, ensuring viability of its operations by maintaining an extended and varied business client base.
What to Look for from an Order-taking Service
The customer should not find it difficult to place an order. The overall experience should be a pleasant one to ensure a repeat order; just because a customer “got through it” when placing an order once doesn’t mean they’ll have the patience to do it again. Operators should have proper telephone etiquette and be well trained in how to take a company’s orders before answering their calls.
Custom Order Scripting
The operators should be able to follow the script provided by the business. This ensures that all details are taken into account before giving the customer a total and passing the order onto the fulfillment center; it becomes much harder to correct mistakes beyond this point in the process, especially if payment has already been processed. No one wants to have to call a customer to tell them that the amount they paid was incorrect, particularly when it is because their order taking service made a mistake. The result of order scripting and careful planning should be a low occurrence of incomplete orders.
An Extension of the Business
This support provided by the order taking service should function as an extension of the business they are representing. Should an occasion arise when the operator is unable to resolve an issue, they should have the ability to route the caller to someone within the company who can. The business client should have options as far as how orders and messages can be delivered; most order taking services support a variety of methods, including integration with their order processing software.
A Complete Processing Solution
While order-taking services are primarily focused on processing orders and payment, it is often beneficial if both the order taking and order fulfillment services are provided by the same company. This is an especially attractive option for small to medium sized enterprises, who typically like to avoid working with two different agencies, where possible.
Even when an order taking service does not fulfill orders itself, they generally have the ability to integrate with fulfillment warehouses. Most of the well-established order-taking services have these relationships in place already, so, in effect, businesses only need to work with one provider for all of their needs.
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