April 3, 2002, 12:00 AM

How e-mailed order status is delivering pink slips to customer service reps

Keeping online customers abreast of their order and delivery status is helping some retailers cut positions whose responsibility is to answer customer service phone calls and e-mails.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Keeping online customers abreast of their order and delivery status is helping some retailers cut positions whose responsibility is to answer customer service phone calls and e-mails. Seattle-based Groovetech.com, which sells vinyl records to disc jockeys all over the world, has saved 40 hours a week--the job of one employee--by implementing UPS’s Worldship software that includes an e-mail to each customer with tracking information for each order, according to Alex Hillinger, director of marketing.

"Timing is critically important for our customers because the music we sell is very time sensitive," says Hillinger. "We’ve been able to save a tremendous amount of time and money. Before using this we had a person just answering calls and sending e-mails."

Valencia, CA-based XDR2.com, which sells blank media such as CDs and jewel cases, is saving more than $26,000 a year by having UPS automate its e-mail notification. "We got rid of the person who answered shipping questions and we don’t even take phone orders anymore," says G. Rick, president. He also says he no longer mails order status follow-up messages to customers. "I don’t have to pay anyone to stuff envelopes and my postage costs have gone down by thousands of dollars," he says.

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