For the external customer, the key to repeat business is made up of a few factors, including the speed of response, the accuracy of information such as lead-time data, and quality care across all contact points. Getting customer service right is a must for sustained business growth.
Exceptional service requires a team dedicated to listening to customers and, more importantly and less commonly, a team empowered to quickly act on customer requests. To do this, the entire team must have access to accurate and timely customer information. A single unified view of customer activity is critical. The fulfillment and service teams needs immediate answers to:
The bottom line is, to best serve customers, a fulfillment and service agent must know the customer. A common line among industry veterans is that the single most important initiative a distributor should undertake is to maintain accurate and timely company-wide information that empowers managers and staff to make fast, strategic decisions. This ability begins (and ends) with customer information.
Gain a real-time, 360-degree view of customers and provide better customer service through Acumatica’s seamless integration of CRM with financials and other back-office systems.
The sales ”order-to-cash” or “quote-to-cash” cycle combines multiple applications, including:
The full process can be stitched together manually, with a number of diverse tools and applications. Or choose a single integrated system that will automate the entire quote-to-cash cycle.
Aberdeen Group released a report in February 2015 comparing successful and not so successful distributors. In their findings, they said, “The top 30% of companies have adopted advanced automation to synchronize their processes and better serve customers.” *
Reducing cost is one reason for implementing the new generation of automated solutions, but other reasons include:
Convert leads to orders, orders to shipments and shipments to revenue with Acumatica’s sales order management, purchasing, inventory management, warehousing, and other order fulfillment capabilities.
In forecasting, the best results come from leveraging accurate historical data and current demand. From that information, forecasts can be easily and quickly generated. From those forecasts, better decisions can be made about which products and services are in demand by customers. This in turn will improve revenue and guide inventory investment. An accurate picture of customer demand optimizes and synchronizes business resources, purchases and operations with real demand.
Unfortunately, many distributors are relying on incomplete data and an optimistic “best guess” forecast from the sales team. Working with old and inaccurate tools is a very poor substitute for a single, complete and up-to-date picture of demand. Distributors need the agility to respond to changing customer demand by adjusting operations to meet projected demand.
The true picture of past demand is an essential input to automated forecasting tools to deliver a much more accurate picture of customer demand.
This is now a “wired eCommerce business world.” Distributors who do not, at the very least, have plans to implement eCommerce functionality, have already fallen behind.
Critical eCommerce infrastructure includes:
Manage web presence and eCommerce with Acumatica’s e-commerce solution, tightly integrated with customer management, order entry, inventory, order fulfillment and accounting
Todays new buzzword “Omnichannel” or “Omni-channel” is often defined as “multi-channel being done well.” Omnichannel is all about the look and feel of the customer experience. For example, responsive design of a website provides a similar customer experience for desktop browsers, tablets, or smartphones. Supporting a wide selection of devices is acutely important; customers access a site multiple times from multiple locations, and share with other decision-makers through an extended process of research, comparison, ordering and reviewing the products they plan to purchase.
Using the Acumatica Sales Order Management Suite improves the total experience of employees, customers, and suppliers.
* From the Aberdeen Group’s February 2015 report “What has Changed in Wholesale Distribution : 2015 and Beyond” by Bob Heaney, Research Director, Supply Chain, Wholesale and Retail Practices.
Crestwood Associates LLC.
(Formerly Stanley Stuart Yoffee & Hendrix, Inc.)
1060 Maitland Ctr Commons Blvd.
Maitland, FL 32751
6750 N. Andrews Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309