Back-end systems - although critical for the continued reliable operability of an enterprise - are not often thought of as having customer-facing benefits. The behind-the-scenes processes that lay the foundation and framework for a massive business are typically viewed solely as structural commodities, making it difficult at times to stress their value to executives concerned with bringing in new clientele and generating fresh revenue streams.
However, some back-end systems can provide tangible benefits for consumer engagement efforts and with the right support and investment, can help boost customer satisfaction levels. Perhaps the best example of this is an organization's order management system. While some enterprise leaders may view their OMS purely as an IT asset, these systems can dramatically improve the end-user experience if given the proper attention.
Many of the enterprise processes conducted through an OMS are crucial to providing reliable services to customers and clients. If this technology is not running effectively, businesses will be unable to continue meeting the demands of their clientele. As TechTarget's Margaret Rouse explained, a number of critical operations rely on a company's OMS, including maintaining inventory counts, cataloging customer information, returns and refunds, recording order processing documents and tracking billing information. By optimizing the performance of its OMS, an organization can by extension improve the quality of these services.
Some of the benefits highlighted by Rouse include:
- Enhanced customer relations - An OMS solution offers a single portal for enterprise users to access a wide variety of information pertaining to their clientele. With this data readily at hand, customer service professionals can more quickly and effectively address any questions, concerns or complaints lodged by end users. By facilitating a more responsive and personalized customer engagement process, enterprises can shed any perceptions of apathy and be viewed in a more positive light.
- Streamline order processing - If its OMS is running effectively, a business should experience fewer issues when attempting to deliver products and services. An efficient processing system will minimize back orders and ultimately place goods in the hands of consumers within a shorter amount of time.
- Improved sales records - A lot of useful information can be gleaned from customer transactions. By having a single repository of sales information, companies can leverage this data to provide more focused services that better meet consumer needs.
Synchronize disparate systems
TelcoProfessionals contributor Anita Karvé noted that if enterprise users allow this technology to falter and see its operability decline, the adverse effects on their ability to provide reliable, high-quality service to clientele will be substantial. A business may experience an influx of customer service calls, taxing available resources and personnel and placing a strain on customer relations.
Karvé suggested that organizations dependent on their OMS consider making an upgrade to prevent such a situation from occurring. She offered several additions that could potentially enhance the performance of these enterprise assets, including integrating self-service capabilities and implementing mobile functionality. Perhaps the most promising change raised by Karvé, however, is the alignment of a company's OMS with its product catalog.
"Typically, this product catalog information has resided in multiple systems within a service provider, but that is starting to change," Karvé wrote. "Operators are realizing the benefits of a single, centralized product catalog that's integrated with an order management system and gives them a 360-degree view of everything they are offering."
There are many customer-facing benefits to synchronizing OMS solutions with product catalogs, such as:
- Reduced billing issues - Some OMS networks are connected to a variety of siloed catalogs containing information that may not be entirely accurate. When this is allowed to continue, billing errors can occur, resulting in a negative customer experience and potentially contributing to an increase in churn rates. By completely integrating OMS and catalog operations, businesses can be sure that records are uniformly accurate, leading to fewer billing problems.
- Shortened time to revenue - Inefficient billing processes can lead to long delays between the time a transaction is made and when that revenue can actually be redistributed within the organization. By better coordinating and streamlining payment processing efforts, companies can use this capital sooner, allowing it to allocate funds to more customer-facing efforts.
"In the end, service providers need to always have the customer in mind when implementing or upgrading an order management system," Karvé stated. "A single repository of product catalog data, self-service options for customers and a more automated approach all add up to a better customer experience as well as an increased revenue stream, more accurate fulfillment, and lower costs for the service provider."
OMS supports business growth
Businesses should also focus on improving their OMS solutions when they begin expanding the range of their operations. During this sensitive transitional stage, companies can experience significant growing pains, sometimes leading to a breakdown in customer relations. Writing in the Facility Management & Engineering blog, Wayne Washington suggested that a reliable OMS will help businesses to continue providing high-quality service to their customers even as the competition for available resources ramps up.
"The utilization of an order management system increases the speed of the order process while maintaining accuracy," Washington stated. "In a global and virtual marketplace a business can go from a small, starter business to a large, order producing company in no time. How do you keep up with the demands of an eCommerce world? Incorporating order management software into your business is another way to not only elevate your business services, but a way to save yourself time in the long run."
Washington explained that the precise record keeping and diligent attention to detail provided by a high-quality OMS solution allows businesses to track the progression of an order every step of the way from placement to delivery. This extensive monitoring coverage will allow customer service representatives to provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding an order whenever needed. This will enhance customer satisfaction and foster greater confidence in the company's ability to deliver on its promises.
Installing and optimizing a sophisticated OMS solution may require external assistance if on-site IT members do not possess the experience and skills necessary to carry out such a task. Business leaders can always seek out the help of an OMS services provider to ensure that their OMS is optimized to best meet their needs. If need be, organizations can even outsource the continued upkeep and management responsibilities of these resources to a trusted IT service partner. By looking outside the enterprise for IT assistance, companies can spend fewer funds on their network and system management needs while enjoying a higher level of operational performance.
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