Transitioning from Transactional Order Entry to Relational Customer Experience

Gartner predicted that by 2016, 89% of companies planned to compete primarily based on customer experience. In the past three weeks I’ve been on the road meeting customers across all different industries and they all have taken this to heart.

It is no longer sufficient to compete on price and product alone. So there is a lot of emphasis on transitioning customer service from transactional order entry to an informed experience that generates new revenue streams. Oracle has noted that 74% of executives believe great customer experience impacts loyalty, and American Express found that 60% of customers are willing to pay for a better experience.

What’s impressive is the simple steps that our customers have taken and their results. They can cut order entry from 9 minutes to 2 minutes, which frees up their customer service representatives (CSRs) allowing them to spend more time talking to their customers.

Typically, sales teams are expected to build relationships and drive sales, but a chemical company I visited explained that CSRs are their secret salesperson. CSRs are not seen as sales, yet the customer trusts them as a seller since they work with them on a regular basis. The chemical company explained that freeing up CSRs to build relationships and allowing them to travel to meet customers has generated additional revenue. In some cases, their customers even noted on their order that they’re buying more because of the phenomenal service they received.

I’ve met CSRs that hold Master’s degrees and even a Ph.D. There are smart folks in customer service who are unable to put their analytical problem-solving skills to work because they have to hit their line entry quota. When given more time and the right technology they can do things like:

  • Always call the customer when there is an issue with ship date, quantity etc.
  • Educate customers who continue to issue wrong part codes, descriptions, obsolete products
  • Track all field changes and determine if an issue is related to the customer or internal master data
  • Move into coaching and supervising new hires and CSRs creating errors
  • Transition into other departments such as IT, logistics and inside sales

Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Empire, is famous for saying “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”  Happy, engaged employees will always go the extra mile to serve and delight the customer. What I saw over the last three weeks was our customers giving their CSRs the ability to that.

What would it be worth to your company if you could unleash the full potential of your CSRs?

Daniel Reeve

Dan Reeve has been with Esker for 18 years. As Sales Director he helps companies streamline and improve visibility across order to cash and procure to pay. Transforming customer service and helping companies utilize digital transformation in order to compete via service/customer loyalty. For P2P it means accelerating invoice approval, paying suppliers faster, freeing up cash flow and leveraging supply chain finance opportunities.

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6 thoughts on “Transitioning from Transactional Order Entry to Relational Customer Experience

  1. This is a good way to describe the true meaning of value added activities. Basic data entry, even though it is crucial to the bottom line, isn’t where the real value is added to the company and to the products. That comes from talented, well treated employees.

  2. Great Article Dan. We just discussed this in our Q4 CIO meeting. One take from an IT perspective was customer experience needs to be seamless – the user comes in, does their job and then goes home with no interruptions / failures.

    1. Thanks Rob. Good point, in my article I was thinking purely about service between the Customer Service organisation and the Customer. But you are right, we are all someone’s Customer and enabling a seamless day for the user means they can do their job and go beyond.

  3. Some very solid points. I do believe customer service is value added with both internal and external customers. Happy customer = happy employee = happy management!

  4. I think this is true across the board, not just true Customer Service Departments, but anyone who deals with others. You’re representing your department for internal clients. The more we automate the more important those real touches become, because they’re the only insight that the rest of the company or customer has into your department/company when the rest is dealing with a computer. Each touch has a greater impact because there are so many less of them.

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