Growing pains. Every successful business experiences them after a few record breaking quarters, a change in branding or an expansion in staffing. Sometimes old working relationships just don’t fit as well anymore.
This can be especially stifling when it affects your customers’ experience. Here are 4 signs it may be time to choose a new fulfillment partner:
Lack of Communication
Because your fulfillment partner is the link between you and your customers, they need to communicate with your customers when problems arise. You should be contacted first in the case of a lost order, incorrect shipment, roadblock in operations or damaged inventory so that you can keep your customers and partners informed.
A good fulfillment vendor will keep you updated about everything that is going on in the warehouse, inventory, systems, logistics and more without being prompted. A lack of communication can be the indicator of other organizational missteps or an overwhelmed warehouse. If your partner is not communicating details with you, it’s likely there are other problems too.
Too Much Time Processing Orders
The reason to utilize a fulfillment partner is to make your life easier and give you the freedom to focus on core businesses operations and customer sales. You shouldn’t be spending time processing orders or invoicing. After the order is placed and the checkout process is complete, your fulfillment provider should be able to take over. If you are filling out order sheets, tracking orders or checking inventory levels, there is clearly a breakdown in communication or service with your partner.
Customer Service Differences
To give your customers a seamless, personalized experience, your fulfillment vendor should treat your products and customers as their own. Hold your fulfillment partner to the same brand standards to which you hold your own employees. A lack of concern for your customers will hurt your credibility and business growth if ignored.
Elongated Returns Process
Returns are a headache to deal with, and a bad returns process can cost you serious time and money. A fulfillment partner should streamline this process. If you are experiencing regular customer complaints for long turnaround times or inconsistencies on returns, it is likely your partner isn’t equipped to handle the volume you need to keep customer service standards high. Talk with them about the issues and try to work through it. Making a change can be expensive, but sometimes it is the best path to a long-term solution.
Sometimes a fast growing business can outpace their fulfillment providers. Even relationships that have been working great for years can be affected when your supply chain needs change. For more information on how to improve your fulfillment processes, contact one of our specialists.