Streamlining Sales and Customer Service: The Key to Efficiency and Employee Satisfaction

Streamlining Sales and Customer Service: The Key to Efficiency and Employee Satisfaction

Aimee talks us through challenges she has faced in past roles with regards to data duplication and the use of multiple systems.

Aimee Pallett
0 min read
June 12, 2024

Before joining Elixel I spent a number of years working within internal sales teams and customer service roles and I found that the use of multiple systems and duplication of data was a common issue in all of them. 

The Disconnect Between CRM and ERP

In one particular role I used a CRM system as well as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. The crazy thing was they were in some way connected as I could use part of my CRM system to check the stock levels and prices and this information was being pulled from the ERP software where item codes and prices were created, BUT I couldn’t use the CRM system to actually place the order and it send the details to the ERP software for me. On the flip side, the ERP software didn’t allow me access to the stock levels - this access was limited to the Purchasing Department and Senior Management - but it would allow me to place the order and send an invoice down to the warehouse for the order to be picked and packed.

The Inefficient Order Process

To add to this already inefficient process, when an order was placed by a customer, we had to handwrite the items on a piece of paper whilst on the phone, and bear in mind some of these orders would include 40+ items! Once the order was taken we had to use the CRM system to find the product codes, write those on the piece of paper and then place the order on the ERP system. You couldn’t just type in a product name or description to the ERP system, oh no! It only worked if we entered the product’s unique code. You’d like to think the customers would give these to you but it would happen very rarely. These customer orders were essentially the same thing as a shopping list you’d take to Asda, just the name of the item they wanted.

Once the codes had been found we would then find out if anything was out of stock and if it was we would have to call the customer back to advise it was on backorder, with even the possibility of finding them something else suitable in the interim (did I mentioned this company sold in excess of 30,000 products!!)

Warehouse Challenges

The journey didn’t end there - next it’s onto the warehouse for the picking and packing stage - here you face the challenge of something being picked incorrectly as all they are working from is a product code shown on the invoice and a sticker on the item. It was easy to misread the invoice and get some numbers or letters the wrong way round - as I mentioned there were over 30,000 products to pick 😬

End-of-Day Manual Checks

The customer service team were tasked with manually checking orders at the end of the day by comparing invoices to the original handwritten order. This was a last attempt to catch any errors. Hundreds of customer orders to ensure they had the correct customer account numbers against the customer name they had given, as well as checking the code we had found on the CRM has pulled through the right item based on what the customer described. As you can imagine, finding errors at the end of the day and trying to stop wrong orders going out was not well received by the warehouse when they are working to very tight postal service collection times.

The Cost of Inefficiency

Having data handled and processed in multiple locations by multiple people is inefficient and costly. As they say ‘time is money’ and ultimately the more administration needed to execute a process and the more human contact with the data opens it up to a high risk of human error.

Yes, implementing a new system and process has its price tag, it isn’t free but creating a solution to your problem means that you will save money on your bottom line. Your staff have more time for sales calls and processing extra orders, and they are less stressed with trying to put out fires left right and centre! Happy staff leads to loyal staff, staff retention increases and the cost of replacing and training new staff is reduced. Your reputation as an organisation is good because you have minimal mistakes and friendly and productive staff who now have the time to help, advise and make your customers happy.

Understanding an organisation's challenges and needs is our area of expertise - identifying how each department connects, communicates (or in most cases doesn’t!) and shares data allows us to design and develop a solution that is tailored to your needs. 

If this issue resonates with you and you can see some of these challenges in your organisation then get in touch. We have helped organisations overcome their data duplication issues leading to a significant increase in internal productivity and efficiency but also customer satisfaction and employee retention.

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