So, you’ve been running your e-commerce business for a while now, and you’ve decided that it’s time to take your operation to the next level. Perhaps you’re thinking about increasing your advertising, running a few promotions, or accepting orders from overseas. Are you confident that your infrastructure can cope with the extra activity?
It’s all too common for companies to falter when they try to expand. The damage that your brand can suffer as a result of late shipping, mixed up orders, or other mailing problems can be hard to recover from. That’s where contract packing and mailing fulfilment services come in. They can help your business grow and avoid typical teething problems that can see a business go from hero to zero in a matter of weeks.
Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource
Some people are wary of outsourcing jobs such as contract packing, either because of the cost, or because they’re worried about losing control of their brand. However, both of those concerns are a little outdated.
Modern mailing fulfilment services are a lot more flexible than the offerings of even a few years ago. Their sophisticated computers are able to handle compliments slips, invoices, and packing notes for each of their customers. This ensures that you are still able to add a ‘personal’ message to each delivery, giving your customer the feeling that you’ve dealt with each order yourself, even though the packing takes place hundreds of miles away from your HQ.
If you’re still unsure then why not take advantage of the different levels of contract packing services available. Many of these will allow you to carry out a test run where you pay for a set number of deliveries, just to see if you get on with the process or not. If you find that things don’t work out, then you haven’t committed to a large investment, but if you’re happy with the mail fulfilment service that you receive, then you can easily look at other contract options, or perhaps even arrange a flat fee service.
Customer Services and Returns
Another area that you will have to consider if you choose to expand your business is customer service and returns. Many contract packing services will happily handle returns for you, but this doesn’t cover taking customer phone calls. You will still need to have someone on hand to handle calls and emails from any disgruntled or inquisitive customers. Often, small companies handle this in house, but if you’re running a promotion that could see sales soar in a very short space of time, then you may want to bring in a few extra hands for the duration of your offer. You should also keep in mind that you may want those hands for a week or so after the end of the promotion too, to handle any queries, comments, or complaints that may arise.
There are many web-based customer service offerings that allow for short term contracts to help out situations like the one discussed above – although it may not be suitable for every business. For example, if your products are complex, and support staff would need thorough training before being allowed to interact with your customer base, then short term outsourcing could do more harm than good to your company’s reputation.
In the long term, building up a relationship with separate companies for mailing fulfilment, support, and marketing will go a long way towards helping your company grow. Outsourcing is used by even the biggest of companies these days – and with good reason. You, as the core of your company, are an expert in whatever product or service it is that you offer. The outsourcing companies are experts in what they do. Two experts working together can provide a much, much better service than one company trying to be a jack of all trades.
This post was written by the team at Insignia who specialise in corporate reputation management and crisis communications.