Deftly scaling stacks of paper. Stealthily noting orders with more complete information. Swiftly calling customers with helpful information. Skillfully reducing the number of orders with out-of-stock items by over 50%! Who are these crusaders for happier customers? The West Music Back Order Ninjas!
The team, comprised of ninjas Mark Johnson and Tianna Streeter, with mission critical assistance and leadership by Alex Adams was formed in May, and was presented with a significant set of challenges: to identify back order situations early, keep our customers informed as to their order status and empower them to make decisions about their back ordered items, identify possible substitutions or other vendor options, and reduce the overall number of back ordered items due to better communication, reporting, and planning.
Since beginning their mission, the team has met weekly to identify and implement new procedures, determine gaps in our reporting, and collaborate on customerfriendly solutions. Mark has contacted 40-50 customers each week, resulting in around 15 resolved orders weekly. Tianna has spent time identifying and testing scenarios that can lead to “hidden” back orders, to help us understand where and why we were missing information. The number of orders with back ordered items was at 250 when the team began. The number is now at 113 and continues to fall!
The efforts have led to an update in our inventory control system to include a module called “Critical Need,” to forecast items that will be out-of-stock based on current sales trends. This enhancement will allow the Merchandise Managers better visibility as to an item’s demand. As a result of their work, the Merchandise Management and Customer Service teams have a better understanding of all of the issues around back orders and are able to collaborate on solutions to greatly enhance our customers’ experience.
Congratulations to Mark, Tianna, and Alex on a job well done!
- As told by Melissa Blum, Director of National Sales & Service/Vice President and Deb Hide, Director of Merchandise Management