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WISMO: 10 Tips to Reduce These Customer Care Interactions 

Blog Post
You can’t ever fully eliminate WISMO. You can, however, mitigate it.
man on phone with customer service

By Robin Gomez
Director, Customer Care Innovation, Radial

WISMO is a customer service acronym that stands for “Where is my order?” In retail, these inquiries drive between 25-35% of contact center interactions and can spike to 50% during peak. Customers want to know where their orders are and when they are not kept informed, they contact customer service to find out. These interactions take up a considerable amount of agents’ time – which could be better spent resolving more complex issues. How can customer care departments reduce these inquiries?  

In my work with retailers in the last 20 years, I’ve found that you can’t ever fully eliminate WISMO. You can, however, mitigate it. The best way to do this is by proactively addressing the factors that lead customers to make these inquiries. Prevention is the best medicine.  

What Drives WISMO Calls?  

Customers do not make WISMO calls unless they must, which means retailers can reduce these calls significantly by taking the right proactive measures. Before you can mitigate WISMO, you need to look at the entire customer journey to determine where there are gaps in the experience.   

What leads a customer to call and ask, “Where is my order?”  

  • Poor communication about next steps at checkout. Customers haven’t been told when to expect their order to arrive, or the stated delivery window is too wide. 
  • Lack of order status updates. Customers tolerate about three days of uncertainty before placing a WISMO call.  

  • Lack of tracking number and no visibility into shipping status. Often, customers get a notification that their package has shipped, then visibility drops off.
  • Delayed/missed delivery deadline with no explanation. If the order does not arrive when expected, customers want to know why and when to expect it.  

  • No automated self-service option. This leads agents to have to deal with these calls.  

In my experience, customers make WISMO inquiries because the retailer has failed to orchestrate shipping and delivery notifications and updates, and/or doesn’t proactively make accommodations for the customer when things change.  

10 Ways to Mitigate WISMO  

WISMO is primarily a communication problem. Evaluate your customer journey and look for places where communication is missing, incomplete, confusing, or misleading. To mitigate WISMO, you can:  

  1. Determine the shipping and delivery value proposition. Many retailers have eliminated or restricted their free shipping options, which means retailers need to reposition their value proposition. Will you prioritize fast fee-based shipping and delivery, or offer slower, but less expensive shipping and delivery times? Is there a free option and how do customers qualify for it?  
  1. Map that value proposition to your carriers. Whatever shipping options and speeds you offer, be sure your carriers can consistently achieve them. This will take coordination with your fulfillment centers or partners. It is advisable to have multiple fulfillment and carrier options to minimize disruption when possible.  
  1. Set realistic expectations before and at checkout. Customers need to know expected delivery times before they decide to purchase. Be sure you match those expectations at checkout.  
  1. Proactively communicate order updates on the customer’s preferred channel and be redundant. If customers sign up for SMS updates, be sure to also send emails. Automate this process so that at every major step of the fulfillment and shipping/delivery process, customers receive a notification. It is better to over communicate than to not communicate enough.  
  1. Tell customers about delays or disruptions before they are noticeable. This goes back to setting expectations and keeping them current. Notify customers about delays and disruptions as soon as possible and reset the expectations for when they can expect delivery. At this point, be sure to provide options to contact customer service or make a different choice about their order (if applicable). Ideally, customers will be satisfied with knowing about the change and won’t need to contact customer service, but they need to be able to easily do so should they choose.  
  1. Compensate if you break a customer experience promise. Amazon issues refunds if they fail to deliver on time for pre-ordered products like games and books. Be honorable and show your customers that you value your word by offering them some form of compensation when you fail to keep your promises.  
  1. Invest in technology that will support order tracking and visibility. Your ability to keep order delivery promises and keep customers informed depends on the quality of the technology you deploy. Real-time inventory visibility and order management systems need to provide this data and be easily integrated into supply chain and carrier systems.  
  1. Automate order status self-service. Agent time is valuable and should not be spent providing baseline order status updates. Automate this process with self-service to lift this task off agents and free them to focus on higher value issue resolution.  
  1. Track your metrics. A successful eCommerce fulfillment and delivery process involves multiple players. Be sure to request and track metrics to evaluate performance and identify areas for improvement from partners. Regularly review these metrics with your fulfillment centers, carriers, and vendors to discuss wins and ways to streamline the process.  
  1. Listen to your customers and agents. Ask for customer and agent feedback on a regular basis and incorporate it into planning. Fulfillment center and carrier experience is also important and should be part of the discussion.  

These are all ways to help prevent and thus reduce WISMO inquiries.  

Partner with Radial for Better Order Fulfillment 

You won’t be able to reduce WISMO if you struggle to keep your promises on fulfillment and delivery times. A partner like Radial can shoulder this responsibility with the infrastructure, technology, best practices, and scalability to ensure a better delivery experience. We are here to fulfill promises from click to delivery.  

robin gomez

Robin Gomez has been in the industry for 25 years, beginning with catalog-based fulfillment and customer service through the growth and evolution of eCommerce. He has worked in Human Resources, Training, Quality, Operations, Consumer Insight, Project Management, BI, CI and is currently the Director of Customer Care Innovation for Radial. He is focused on engaging and partnering with leading and emerging technology providers and curating a robust solution stack for Radial’s eCommerce focused clients and internal agents and users. Robin has a B.S. in Psychology with an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. You can follow Robin on LinkedIn.

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