Jul 1, 2024

Hugo Walker

Food Manufacturers: Thou shalt love thy customer

Food Manufacturers: Thou shalt love thy customer

Imagine browsing Amazon for a product you need, but instead of a seamless click to add to your cart, you have to pick up the phone and manually place your order… and then, to make matters worse, you realise that the phone lines aren’t open yet because it’s 7:30 am. This method seems cumbersome and inconvenient, right? 

The shift towards self-serve ordering systems is not merely a trend but a transformative move that enhances customer satisfaction and operational efficiency, especially in the Food Manufacturing industry.

The power of self-serve ordering

Self-serve ordering systems allow customers to place and manage their orders directly through an online platform, without needing to call or email a customer service team member. Moreover, your customers can self-serve at a time that suits them, rather than being at the mercy of your call centre hours or capacity. If they have a query that isn’t time-critical but still requires a discussion, they can submit a ticket and receive support at a time convenient to both them and your team. 

Naturally, a business' biggest fear when integrating tech (especially within sales and customer service) is the potential loss of personal relationships with customers. However, this approach is not about losing touch with your customers; it’s about meeting their needs more effectively — ditching the data entry and freeing up your team to provide genuine customer service. Ironically, the “traditional” approach of lengthy phone calls and email threads is more likely to harm the relationship with your valued customers down the line.

Why? Well, a striking 67% of customers prefer self-serve over traditional customer support channels​ (HubSpot Blog)​. Think about it; since the global pandemic, even self-described "technophobes" are more than comfortable placing orders online, whether it’s a punnet of strawberries or a return flight to Australia. Customers now want to place orders quickly and accurately, at any time, on any device, enhancing satisfaction and loyalty in the process. A win-win for your business.

Efficiency and Accuracy

For a business, the benefits are equally compelling. When your customer service team is relieved from handling manual order entries, they can focus on more complex, value-adding activities such as up-selling and resolving complex customer issues. This shift improves their job satisfaction and productivity as they are not bogged down by monotonous tasks that could — and should — be handled by software.

Rather than rushing through interactions to move on to the next case, your team members can take the time to go above and beyond for each customer, fostering stronger relationships and higher satisfaction levels. Additionally, the time saved can be invested in professional development and training, enhancing the team's skills and knowledge and, ultimately, benefiting your business and customers.

Research shows that 40% of support tickets are repetitive and can be automated​ (HelpCrunch)​. Moreover, reducing manual data entry significantly decreases errors — studies indicate that 4 out of every 100 orders are incorrect when entered manually, which isn’t exactly a statistic you want your business to fall into if you can avoid it.

Human error is a major factor that shouldn’t be underestimated and can cost you dear. Whether it’s your team or the customer making a mistake, manual ordering invariably results in your business having to process a credit.

The power of AI is also worth considering when it comes to customer service. In a recent interview, Octopus Energy founder, Greg Jackson said that by May of 2023, "45% of all customer emails were being written by gen AI – tens of thousands of emails a day." (PEi).

Jackson also highlighted one thing that had surprised him. "We think computers are not as empathetic as a human, yet the very first email I saw that had been written by gen AI was to a customer who was struggling to pay their bills because of ill health. The AI opened the email by saying: ‘At times like this, there are more important things to worry about than your energy bills. First and foremost, I hope your health is improved’. And it ended with the same empathy."

Whether your Food Manufacturing business is ready to embrace generative AI, this dramatic shift towards automation and efficiency is undeniable, and adopters stand to benefit massively.

Online Ordering: Your most valuable Customer Service asset

Enter the online ordering platform, a software solution that has revolutionised the ordering process for Food Manufacturing companies. These platforms ensure that your customer service team spends more time engaging with customers and less time on data entry. Think of these platforms as your best customer service team member ever, and then some.

This industry-specific solution will provide an Amazon-like ordering experience for your customers, reducing the need for phone calls and emails by up to 80%. By streamlining order processing, online ordering frees up customer service teams to address higher-value tasks, and the powerful in-built AI capabilities ensure deadlines are met with automated reminders and suggestions based on your customer’s ordering habits.

Self-serve shouldn’t be considered… it should be part of your business

As you know, the Food Manufacturing industry faces unique challenges that make efficient customer ordering crucial. Your manufacturing business has to handle large volumes of orders, manage perishable goods and meet strict delivery schedules. Even the slightest error in order processing can lead to significant waste and customer dissatisfaction.

Benefits of embracing self-serve in Food Manufacturing

  1. Reduced Errors: Automated systems reduce the chance of human error in order entry, which is critical in handling perishable goods.

  2. Time Efficiency: Self-service options save time both for your customers and your service team, allowing quicker order processing and resolution of issues.

  3. Scalability: As seen with Samworth Brothers, self-serve solutions enable rapid scaling of operations without a proportional increase in administrative tasks.

  4. Product Promotions: Boost revenue through effective cross-selling and up-selling strategies by placing products directly in front of your customers via an online ordering platform.

  5. Customer Satisfaction: Customers appreciate the convenience and efficiency of self-service options (think weekly groceries from Tesco or birthday presents from Amazon), which leads to increased loyalty and repeat business for you.

Conclusion: What are you waiting for?

The transition to self-serve ordering systems for food manufacturers is not just about adopting new technology; it's about transforming your relationship with your customers. By providing an efficient, accurate and readily available ordering solution, you show that you value their time and satisfaction. Not to mention the enormous savings you stand to make within your business.

Embrace self-serve, and you'll find that loving thy customer has never been easier.

If you'd like to discuss how your food manufacturing business could optimise resources and boost revenue, contact us today.

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