March 10, 2004, 12:00 AM

Aerosoles out to cut ` WISMO` calls by 15% with automation

Aerosoles aims to reduce its where-is-my-order calls with technology from Escalate that lets shoppers track order status online.

WISMO is more than just a funny acronym at women’s footwear multi-channel retailer Aerosoles. It’s its own cost center at Aerosoles’ call center, where “Where is my order” is the subject of an estimated 11% of incoming calls, says vice president of direct marketing Robert Garris. Garris says he hopes to reduce such calls by as much as 15% with customer service technology from Escalate Inc., which automates Aerosoles` online order process. Among other functions, the software allows customers who’ve placed an order online at Aerosoles.com to track its shipment progress online – without human intervention.

WISMO has an even bigger impact on resources at call centers set up to focus specifically on customer service, rather than as the first point of entry for all customer or business contacts, including orders, as Aerosoles’ is. According to Sally Sheward, vice president of marketing at Escalate, which also serves retailer clients such as Williams-Sonoma, Neiman-Marcus Direct, Home Depot and others, reducing the calls where possible at such centers has even more potential upside. “We hear that 80% of the calls that come in are Where is my Order,” says Sheward. “ If 80% of your calls are WISMO, and you can cut that down by 30%, you have freed up time, which potentially reduces your call center costs – or lets you do more proactive customer service.”

Garris adds it’s his long-term goal to extend online order tracking beyond orders placed in the online channel. “Our primary objective is make the web as self-service as possible,” says Garris. “Currently customers online can check the status of Internet orders. In the future we hope to provide viability into any catalog or Internet order.”

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