How To Manage An Influx Of Orders With Business Text Messaging

man pushing handtruck, having used business text messaging to arrange delivery

As businesses temporarily shut their brick-and-mortar stores, customers are heading online to do their shopping. This has led to a massive influx of online orders that businesses have to fulfill and deliver—all while maintaining new social distancing and sanitation requirements. Some companies are turning to business text messaging for help. 

Modern business SMS platforms empower companies to send, receive, and organize messages from both native SMS apps and over-the-top apps (e.g., Facebook Messenger and Apple Business Chat). Business text messaging helps teams quickly connect with both customers and employees, which can be particularly useful when they need to scale orders in a hurry. 

Read on to learn how your company can use business text messaging to manage incoming orders with ease.

Automate Order Notifications

In the current business environment, nothing is certain. Some companies have ceased operations, while others are operating with a smaller staff or reduced hours. Several supply chains are even backed up. When customers place orders, you need to send them regular updates so they know that your team is working hard to ship on time. Customers are ordering must-have items now, and need to know exactly when they can expect them.

Your team can integrate your business SMS platform with your eCommerce platform to automate these notifications. Once your customers place their orders, the business SMS platform can send personalized order confirmations using merge tokens that insert custom field information into pre-made templates. 

An immediate confirmation reassures customers that their orders went through. An order confirmation template might look like this:

Hi {{first name}}! This is Lou’s Coffee Roasters. We’ve received your order #{{latest order number}}! We’ll send a text once it has shipped. Text STOP to stop receiving messages.

You should also set up your platforms to send notifications once orders have shipped and been delivered. By automating these notifications, your team can spend less time on simple communications and more time coordinating staff and answering customer queries. 

Manage Flexible Schedules

The number of incoming orders will continue to fluctuate as COVID-19 spreads. This means that your employees will need to be flexible. Some days, you will need more workers than others. 

Business text messaging offers a simple, effective channel for internal communications. All you have to do is provide employees with your business text messaging number. Then, your employees can immediately start receiving your schedule requests. They can also send replies. 

It’s easy to schedule employees quickly through business text messaging. A template might look like this:

Hi {{first name}} — Sam Higgens from work here. We’ve got an influx of orders and will need an extra hand for two shifts this weekend. Are you available?

Team members can quickly reply so you can organize fulfillment and delivery schedules. This will help you send out orders as quickly as possible.

Streamline Fulfillment And Delivery Coordination

Team members run into all kinds of challenges during the order fulfillment and delivery process. Whether it’s missing inventory, incorrect addresses, mishandled boxes, or unexpected delays, the possible roadblocks are endless. With business text messaging, your team can overcome them together.

Since business text messaging is such a fast, efficient channel, you will receive incoming queries from employees in near real-time. Then, you can work with your team or your customers to answer questions or relay delays via text. 

For example, you might provide your delivery team with this template to use if a customer isn’t home to receive a sensitive delivery:

Hi GoodEats Team — {{employee name}} here. I’m trying to deliver order #{{order number}}, but the customer isn’t home. Can you text the person to see where they might be? 

Business text messaging expedites employee coordination, so your team can deal with in-field issues and get deliveries to customers as fast as possible. Fast communications also save time for your operations team, so you can spend less time coordinating deliveries and more on connecting with customers, promoting your online store, and managing incoming orders.

Expedite Customer Resolutions

With new orders come new customer questions. Customers might wonder about your order fulfillment process, sanitation practices, delivery speeds, pickup options, and current inventory. If your store is traditionally a brick-and-mortar establishment, customers might have questions that they would have asked in person, like questions about fit or style. If you have curbside pickup or delivery, customers might need to coordinate with you to get their items. 

Business text messaging allows you to answer customer queries as quickly as possible. All customer texts come into a single shared inbox, so your team members can ensure no queries slip through the cracks. The shared inbox accepts messages from both native SMS apps and over-the-top apps like Facebook Messenger, so your team doesn’t have to waste time sorting through different platforms. Team members can even use private comments to coordinate on customer queries with one another.

Since your team will be busy managing incoming orders and curbside pickups, set up an auto-reply to let customers know when to expect a response. An auto-reply might look like this: 

Hello! Thanks for contacting SunnyDays Art. Our hours are M-F, 9am – 4pm. We’re experiencing higher-than-usual wait times, so expect a response within 1 business day. Thank you!

As soon as your team has time, you can answer your customers’ questions without worrying that you offended them by waiting for the right moment. 

 

Want more tips for managing your business during COVID-19? Check out our guide to COVID-19 texting

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