July 7, 2005, 12:00 AM

How Moosejaw.com cuts customer service calls with online order status

With online access to order and return shipment status, Moosejaw Mountaineering has virtually eliminated e-mails to its contact center from customers seeking information on returned merchandise.

With online access to order and return shipment status, outdoor sports gear retailer Moosejaw Mountaineering has virtually eliminated e-mails to its contact center from customers seeking information on ordered or returned merchandise, CFO Jeffrey Wolfe tells InternetRetailer.com.

“This will allow us to double our business this Christmas season, without a huge increase in staff,” Wolfe says.

Moosejaw, which operates six stores and a catalog in addition to Moosejaw.com, started reducing the number of customer inquiries into its contact center two years ago after it began providing order tracking numbers online. “We went from 300 e-mails a day in Christmas season asking ‘Where’s my order,’ to about five,” Wolfe says.

Now the retailer is expanding that service to cover complete shipment status of orders, allowing customers to click online to see exactly where an order is from the time they click a purchase button to when it’s on a delivery truck, Wolfe says. It’s providing that order status through its in-house-developed Etail Manager, which it is also making available to other retailers for a set-up fee ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, plus monthly hosting fees ranging from $300 to $1,000 a month.

Moosejaw also recently began offering an automated Smart Label returns process through Newgistics Inc., which lets customers check in the customer service section of Moosejaw.com for the status of a return including any due credit.

Newgistics provides Smart Label return slips that Moosejaw places in each order with the customer’s order number; if a customer wants to return an item, she fills out the label, attaches it to the package and leaves it for a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier or takes it to a local Post Office. Newgistics picks up the package from the Postal Service and scans the Smart Label’s bar code to forward confirmation of receipt to Moosejaw, triggering an automated e-mail to the Moosejaw customer about the status of their return, Wolfe says.

The same status information is automatically routed to Moosejaw’s contact center, enabling customer service reps to also provide return status to customers.

Newgistics charges retailers about $5 or $6 per Smart Label used for a returned item.

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