6 Tips for Reducing WISMO


This post first featured in the Modern Retail Guide to Fulfilment August 2020. To read the full ebook click here, or scroll to the end of the page to view on page-turning software.

Surely you’ve heard about WISMO? This acronym maybe hasn’t quite made its way into every retailer’s vocabulary yet, but it is something that all online shops have to deal with on a daily basis, and it’s becoming more and more popular in the world of ecommerce due to a rapid increase in customer expectations. 

WISMO (where is my order?) enquiries are one of the biggest pain points for retailers who sell online and the most frequently received query for most. It’s a term most retailers never want their customers to think of. Sadly, order queries are a serious issue in ecommerce. Not only do they cost the retailer between £2 to £5 per call, but WISMO can also cause customers to avoid shopping from a retailer again. 

These calls are a particular problem during peak periods such as Black Friday and Christmas, and the current pandemic has spurred on another spike. They can account for between 70-80% of all customer service calls during these times due to disruption to usual services. This influx is especially problematic when a vast majority of agents are working from home and therefore phones are offline. Reduced work forces and relying on email or social media to answer WISMO queries can leave many unhappy customers with unanswered questions.  

Shopping online can be an emotional journey for the customer. Whether it’s a new dress for the weekend, a summer wardrobe update now that the sun has come out, a gift for a loved one or medicine that needs replenishing on time; buyers want to know exactly where their order is and when it will arrive. They want to be informed proactively about any delays or deviations from the original promised delivery date.

Unfortunately, 93% of retailers stop communicating with their customers after the dispatch confirmation (Source: parcelLab, UK E-Commerce Shipping Study 2020: Fashion Edition). The remainder instead rely on either the carrier to communicate with the customer during delivery or worse still, the customer receives no updates at all. 

Carriers often barely communicate with customers during delivery, leaving them in the dark about the status of their order. In addition, as found in our shipping study, some carrier communication even fails to show who the order is from. And for those buyers who have made multiple orders from different retailers at a time, this can cause major problems and is the source of many WISMO enquiries. Retailers can avoid this happening by proactively communicating with their customers during delivery, rather than relying on the carrier to do so. 

WISMO calls can be very frustrating for both the customer service agent and the customer themselves. So instead of customers constantly asking ‘where is my order?’ and clogging up customer service lines – which should be freed up for other customer service agents to answer more critical issues – retailers should instead be investing in providing an excellent customer experience by answering WISMO updates before they even have to ask.

Good customer experience is key for retaining customers and creating brand advocates. As retail continues to look for new ways to cut costs, reducing WISMO enquiries is one of the easiest and quickest improvements they can make – and this should be in the form of branded, proactive shipping communication. By doing this, customers will feel appreciated by the retailer and will be much more likely to purchase from them again. 

Here are 6 tips for reducing WISMO and creating happy customers:

1. Proactive multi-channel post-purchase communication: By taking control of communication post-purchase, retailers can proactively communicate with customers at each stage of the journey. Sending regular updates via SMS, email, as well as through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger means the customer is always in the know about their order, even if it’s delayed.

2. Communicate delivery delays at checkout: Advertise prominently on your homepage, on all product pages and at checkout how many days the delivery is likely to take. If you are expecting delays but can’t predict how long, communicate this here too. 

3. Keep shipping status up-to-date: Inform customers in real-time about the status of their order during the shipping process.

4. Set up Peak/Pandemic FAQ page: Direct customers to this page from the homepage, product and tracking pages so they can have their questions answered easily, and without having to reach out to a customer service agent. Include queries about delivery status, times and stock. 

5. Direct support traffic to other channels: If you’ve had to limit your telephone support network for technical or resource reasons, direct customers to other social media channels. Again, display where customers should get in contact with you clearly on the homepage, tracking pages, as well as in shipping emails. It might be worth including a message to only contact you after they’ve looked at your FAQs page first!

6. Measure satisfaction using NPS: Measuring customer satisfaction using Net Promoter Scores (NPS) or other review platforms is a great way to quickly recognise if something is wrong with your services. This review option can be implemented into shipping emails and tracking pages and should be monitored regularly to look for common themes. 

Whether the order is going as planned or has delays, customers always want to know where their parcel is. Go above the norm and push relevant updates to the customer, in a way that your carriers sadly don’t. Take back control of your post-purchase communication to ensure a consistent brand experience, proactive customer service and maximised cross-selling and up-selling potential.

Credit: Katharine Biggs, Content & Marketing Manager at parcelLab

Read the full Modern Retail Guide to Fulfilment August 2020 below.