Making a Loyal Shopper Happy

Carrie, the Head of Customer Care at Sally’s Shoe Superstore, checks her calendar. It has been been exactly two weeks since she received an email from her boss about a missing shipment for a VIP shopper. She had developed a plan with the Director of eCommerce to make it up to the shopper.

She looks at the angry WISMO sitting on her desk, and she feverishly picks up the phone and dials the VIP’s number.

“Hello, Emily. This is Carrie from Sally’s Shoes. I wanted to apologize again for your shipment issue — we seem to have had some delays due to the storm in Chicago…. Yes, I understand that this order is a gift, and it’s important — we are doing everything in our power to help you. We have expedited a new package, along with free shipping, a special gift, and one thousand loyalty points. I have been personally been tracking the shipment, and you should be receiving it today.”

For the first time in two weeks, the WISMO on her desk stops snarling at her. Instead, it plops down, appearing to lose strength.

Status Update: Nothing Has Changed

In the two weeks since Carrie received the email, calls had been going through the roof, her team was under water, and WISMO was becoming more of a nuisance. Carrie, determined to find what has happened to create hundreds of missing shipments, has been escalating the issue with the Logistics Manager, Larry, and the Head of Supply Chain, Steve.

Larry calls Carrie to come to his office for a missing shipment status update. As she walks to his office, WISMOs trail behind her, following diligently. When Carrie arrives, she finds Larry and Steve standing with Diana, the eCommerce Director. Carrie notices she isn’t the only one whom WISMO has been antagonizing — the room is filled to the brim with the miscreant, and Larry’s RFPs for the new year are all ripped up and scattered across the floor. Carrie’s co-workers all look as disheveled as she feels.

Larry starts: “I sent Bill, my direct report, to Chicago to check out the situation with all of these missing packages — we should be getting a call in a few days. We’ve effectively lost $30k in merchandise. I haven’t been able to track who all has been affected, but it’s nearly fifty customers. The team notice the WISMOs letting out a low hiss.

Carrie interrupts him, “Based on the amount of calls I’ve been seeing, I’d double that number.” The WISMOs circle around the group, and Diana chirps up as well, “How many of these have been from VIPs?” Everyone shrugs, and Steve says, “We’re still collecting and combing through all of the data for post-mortem.”

All of a sudden, WISMOs begin screeching. When they are almost backed into a corner, one rambunctious creature drops from the ceiling and onto Stave’s head. He shrieks and blindly runs through the wall of WISMOs, pushing it off as she runs. The others follow her lead, and they bound through the open office door with WISMOs scurrying not too far behind.

The four race down a dark, empty hallway, and into the open door at the end of the hallway, shoving the door closed behind them. They can hear the WISMOs outside hissing and clawing at the door.

The Beginning of the End

Carrie looks around her, and sees that the group has locked themselves in an old, dusty storage closet. She looks around for a broom — or truly, anything to defend herself in case the WISMOs make it through the door. Out of the corner of her eye she sees something in the back that draws her attention – a dimly lit computer monitor.

Carrie walks over and gingerly wipes dust off of the monitor. As if her touch is a signal, the screen lights up slowly, and then begins to send more and more beams across the floor as the computer boots up. Carrie doesn’t quite understand, but she can hear Diana, Larry, and Steve yelling behind her that WISMOs are starting to crawl under the door. A purple arrow flashes across the screen.

Carrie hears a scream behind her as a WISMO runs closer, but the dim glow seems to slow down the hooligan. It tries to break through. Carrie yells over, “I think whatever is on this computer might be able to help us get out of here!”

Together, the Team Levels Up

Diana, Steve, and Larry circle around Carrie while more and more WISMOs surround them. Some begin to break through the dim light As they start working with the computer, the beams of light begin to fill the room and repel WISMO back.

Working together now, the glow from the computer envelops the four co-workers, granting them the ability to collaborate and work together quickly. Steve gasps in awe as Larry says, “Woah, I can see every affected customer from our seasonal delays in this thing. Let me run a report.”

A beam of light drives back WISMO. Larry finds the alerts capability within the application, and together, the team crafts a message to send out to affected customers.

With the message sent, WISMOs start to disappear, one by one, until only one is left. Steve spots a small metal cage on a shelf, swiftly picks WISMO up, and scoops it inside. He looks at a hunched over and tired WISMO, and says, “I don’t know where you came from, but I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll meet.” WISMO shakes its head as if to say no, and expels a low hiss.

Combat Holiday Complaints around Delivery Delays

When brands get into the final stretch before peak holiday season and determine which promotions and site experiences will help to lure in shoppers, it’s imperative to remember that seamless delivery — beyond Amazon tracking experiences — also ranks highly on shoppers’ wish lists. As shoppers do their holiday shopping, the number of online orders — and exceptions increases. While delivery exceptions happen, it’s up to brands, such as Sally’s Shoes, to ensure a positive and smooth experience. Over Thanksgiving alone, parcel shipments rose by 236%.

In this scenario, the Head of Customer Care, Carrie, understands that her team feels under water from all of the delivery delays and WISMO calls, and works closely with Larry and Steve to solve the issue. She is also feeling pressure from her CEO and from the eCommerce department to make sure VIP shoppers have a smooth experience.

Meanwhile, the whole team is still racing to get data and find out what happened with the carrier. Without visibility into that data — which has taken them multiple weeks and many resources to collect — they do not understand the true scope of the issue, and they definitely cannot take action on what they cannot see. Instead of making data-driven decisions, they continue to judge the situation according to anecdotes and feelings of being under water. As they do this, WISMO continues to grow in magnitude and strength. 

To take a step further toward driving customer loyalty and advocacy, retailers should monitor shipments for damages made in-transit, and use connected data to trigger automated actions — such as alerts —  to improve customer communication.

In the case of a major gift season such as Christmas, they should also proactively send a replacement, as Carrie does with her VIP shopper. Furthermore, if an item wasn’t delivered within the committed delivery time, retailers should acknowledge the poor experience and refund the shipping cost.

Working together to Combat Silos in Data, People, and Processes

Improving their customer experience requires a fundamental shift in culture, measurements, technology, and processes. When Supply Chain, Logistics, eCommerce, and Logistics work together to access to the data, they are they empowered to take on WISMO — they can answer their own questions and level up their team as a whole. Each person leverages the information to reactively get rid of WISMOs that are trying to overpower and overwhelm their team.

At Sally’s Shoes, WISMO is contained for now. But keep a watchful eye out — when tensions arise, when inclement weather sets in, when antiquated systems and processes begin to buckle under the strain of modern delivery expectations, WISMO always finds a way to re-emerge, hellbent on wreaking havoc and turning customer experiences upside down.