How to reduce order mix-ups and stop throwing money out the window.

Order mix-ups are missed, incorrect, or incomplete orders to customers as a result of miscommunication between buyer and supplier. Mix-ups can result in wasted inventory, lost money and unhappy customers. Often, local food suppliers receive orders through many different means: email, phone call, text message, word of mouth; and often lack a system to be able to process orders without any errors. Using these tips, you will be able to manage your orders, ensure customer satisfaction and reduce your order mix-ups.

Have a centralized system for all incoming orders

Say goodbye to scrap pieces of paper and a full email inbox. Reducing clutter from orders will give you a space for all incoming orders to be visible. Setting a clear protocol on how orders should be placed and where they should be placed will create a system where no orders will be lost or misunderstood. It is also essential that you have a clear system where incoming orders are recorded, otherwise, it’s too easy to let something fall through the cracks.

Direct messaging to customers

Ideally, you want to keep all communication from all the customers on the same platform to be able to keep track and reference it in the future. The use of the same platform also informs the customer on the best way to connect with you if they are encountering any problems. Even if the communications come in through various channels, you should have a dedicated, digital home for all customer notes and conversations. Notebooks are nice, but too easily lost or damaged!

Manage your delivery and pickup logistics

Manage your delivery and pick up logistics by creating a clear, public schedule of when you are able to deliver products directly to the customer or to the predetermined pick up locations. This allows your customers to be aware of when they are to receive their products and reduces any possible conflict you could have when scheduling deliveries. You should also add any delivery fees, tracking information, contact information and any other items that are important about the delivery/pick up process along with your schedule.

Create an order list

To keep track of all of your current orders, create a spreadsheet. This allows you to have one document with information regarding the status of your current orders in one place. Within the document, you can simply mark which orders have been paid and delivered and which need to be dealt with. Do not forget to continuously update the spreadsheet as orders are delivered and when new orders come in. The order list will also allow you to quickly inform customers of the status of their order when requested.

Keep track of your inventory

It is essential to keep track of your inventory by recording what you have in stock and what you have sold. Without keeping track of what you have in your inventory, the chance of possible mix-ups increases exponentially. It is also beneficial to show your customers your inventory, so that they will not order items that are no longer in stock or no longer sold.

There are tools that exist to help you with all of steps. You don’t have to tackle them all at once, but start with the most important one for you and track your improvements.