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. Furthermore, it’s becoming more and more popular in the world of e-commerce due to a rapid increase in customer expectations.

WISMO (Where is my order?) inquiries are one of the biggest pain points for retailers that 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 e-commerce. Not only do they cost the retailer approximately between $2.50 to $6.25 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 the holiday shopping season, and the current pandemic has spurred another spike. They can account for between 70 percent to 80 percent of all customer service calls during these times due to disruption to usual services. This influx is especially problematic when a vast majority of customer service agents are working from home, and therefore phones are offline. Reduced workforces 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, a gift for a loved one, or medicine that needs replenishing on time, customers 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 percent of retailers stop communicating with their customers after the dispatch confirmation. 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 buyers in the dark about the status of their orders. 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 the same time, this can cause major problems and is the source of many WISMO inquiries. Retailers can avoid this 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 as well as the customer. 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 retailers continue to look for new ways to cut costs, reducing WISMO inquiries is one of the easiest and quickest improvements they can make. They can do this 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 the brand again.

Here are six tips for reducing WISMO inquiries and creating happy customers:

  1. Create proactive, multichannel post-purchase messaging. 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, and 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’re 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 a Peak/Pandemic FAQ page. Direct customers to this page from the homepage, product pages 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 your brand clearly on the homepage, tracking pages, and 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 Score (NPS) or other review platforms is a great way to quickly recognize 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 an order is shipped as planned or is delayed, 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 maximized cross- and upselling potential.

For more information about how retailers can reduce WISMO customer service inquiries during delivery, read the full whitepaper here.