What is WISMO and How to Automate your Answers

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As shoppers around the world embrace a more digital approach to engaging with brands, something can be lost when purchasing online vs in-store 'retail therapy.'

Following the thrill of making an online purchase, there is the inevitable wait for it to arrive. All customers can do is track the path their packages take, from tracking it at the point of origin or warehouse to viewing a map that shows how many stops the product makes while being delivered to your address.

If you work in retail or order fulfillment, you've probably heard the following phrase a lot, especially during holiday seasons: WISMO.

WISMO is not just "Where Is My Order?"

WISMO requests can also look like this:

  • "What happened to my package?"
  • "What became of my order?"
  • "Please keep me updated on the status of my order."
  • "Have you misplaced my order?"
  • "How come my order hasn't arrived?"
  • "I still haven't received my order."
  • "Please send my order as soon as possible."
  • "When will my order be shipped?" I haven't gotten it yet."
  • "I want my order to be delivered today."

A customer may contact you with a WISMO question via phone, email, SMS, live chat, or social media message (direct message, and even post comments!).

Customers will do this if:

  • After they place an order, you do not provide order tracking.
  • They have no idea when the shipment will arrive.
  • They are having trouble tracking their order using the code you provided.
  • The shipping deadline has passed, or their order has not arrived.

But, WISMO is more than just a question 

WISMO is a significant expense for your customer service operations. It's a logistical nightmare. It is a differentiator in the marketplace. 

And it's something that can make or break your brand's reputation, especially during the busiest holiday shopping seasons such as BFCM, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.

Online shoppers expect timely delivery, proactive updates on order confirmation and order delivery status – and if these expectations aren't met, they'll ping your website, email you, or call your customer service representatives to find out where their order is.

Why should you worry about WISMO

WISMO is the #1 question asked to ecommerce users.

93% of customers expect to receive updates on their orders. 

98% of customers associate brand loyalty with their delivery experience.

WISMO calls account for up to half of all inbound customer contact center calls and cost approximately $5 to resolve.

How to deal with WISMO

So, what is the best strategy for dealing with WISMO:

  • Better customer service staff? 
  • Order visibility tools? 
  • Customer service portals?

In fact, the best strategy for managing WISMO is to combine two things: proactive communication with accurate deliveries to prevent customers from needing to ask about their orders in the first place.

The first part is self-evident: inform customers proactively over their preferred channel of when their order will arrive, both at the time of order placed and at key points, such as: 

WISMO - Order Processing Stages

If you fail at this, many of these same customers will ask WISMO.

The second part is even more critical. The key to preventing WISMO is to ensure that you have accurate and on-time deliveries in the first place.

In fact, a lot of DTC brands under-promise and deliver faster than the estimated delivery date to enable customers to experience true delight.

So, one of the best solutions to the WISMO problem is to create a strategic plan for managing WISMO requests. Otherwise, you may face consequences such as a longer first response time, lower customer satisfaction, and other issues.

Cost implications of WISMO

Most of you are probably aware of WISMO, but not all of you are aware of its true cost as it slowly drifts out of your control.

The total cost of WISMO is far too high to ignore.

When the answer is not automated

If you don't have an automated response for a WISMO request, you must manually search for and type the answer (via chat, email, or SMS), or inform the customer via a phone call. 

In this case, you end up paying for the cost of one ticket as well as the labor/effort of a customer support staff.

When the answer is automated

Assume you've scheduled an automated response for WISMO via any customer support tool integrated with your CDP. 

When a customer asks, "Where is my order?" they will get an accurate response with information about their order status in real time.

In this case, the cost of a WISMO request is the cost of one billable ticket (based on the customer support tool you’ve integrated).

Tips to manage WISMO

As previously stated, a customer asks WISMO because they are concerned about their order. As a result, being proactive is the key to controlling WISMO.

Consider the following suggestions:

1. Be open and honest about your shipping policy

A clear shipping policy allows you to set the right customer expectations about shipping times and costs in advance. It also helps to reduce support tickets because customers can answer their own shipping questions.

Maintaining an open dialogue with customers gives them more confidence in purchasing from you. They'll believe you, talk about you on social media, and return to your online store or app.

Your shipping policy should include order processing time, estimated delivery time, potential service interruptions, and a disclaimer. 

This policy should be displayed on product detail pages, cart pages, FAQ pages, and help center pages, for example:

WISMO - Lifeboost Coffee FAQs

Source: Lifeboost Coffee

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many DTC brands have created a dedicated page to show how they handle shipping. They also inform customers by displaying the information in an announcement bar or pop-up on their site or app. 

Here's a fantastic example from Go-To Skincare:

WISMO - Go To Skincare Shipping Policy

Source: Go-To Skincare

2. Send automated shipping updates at each post-purchase stage

Just showing delivery estimates on your site or app isn’t enough. 

You should also keep customers updated with their order status across each post-purchase stage. Ideally, you should also partner with any third-party shipping/fulfillment apps to create a co-branded post-purchase communication ecosystem.

You can automate to send the following post-purchase messages along with a live tracking feature (preferably on a map): 

  1. Send an order confirmation (via SMS, WhatsApp, and/or email based on the customer’s preferred channel) as soon as an order is confirmed.
  2. Send an order in transit message as soon as the order is shipped from its source of origin.
  3. Send order status updates as soon as the order arrives at the intermediary stops along the way. 
  4. Send an order delayed update at any point while in transit with reasons for the delay explained, if possible. 
  5. Send an order delivered message when the order is delivered at the destination address.

Being proactive and providing an honest update will ensure that they are pleased with your post-purchase experience.

3. Integrate with customer support tools that enable self-service

To quickly resolve WISMO requests, you can integrate with customer support apps, such as Gorgias and enable their self-service portal feature on your chat. 

This feature enables your customers to independently check their order status, tracking number, and shipping details. In other words, you don't need to interact with customers to provide them with the information they require.

Final words

Take advantage of WISMO to delight your shoppers. Knowing how to effectively solve WISMO can help you reduce customer service costs, increase customer satisfaction, and improve the performance of your support agents.