Every e-commerce retailer’s goal is to offer the best possible customer experience. A major part of this is ensuring smooth delivery with transparent tracking.
If your company consistently deals with high numbers of order status queries (so-called “WISMO” calls) from customers, it’s usually a sign that your customers are struggling to find the information they need.
In this article, we’ll explore the topic of WISMO in detail and show you 10 effective ways to keep it under control.
What is WISMO?
“WISMO” stands for “Where is my order?” — a very common query that e-commerce retailers receive from customers.
Research shows that WISMO calls can account for over 35% of calls and queries received by an e-commerce company’s customer support team. That number fluctuates significantly from one retail vertical to the next, and it can increase significantly during peak shopping periods.
Companies may receive WISMO queries through any support channel (email, calls, chatbots, live chat, SMS or social media). In most cases, the customer has one goal in mind when making a WISMO contact: they simply want to know when their parcel will be arriving. Yet WISMO contacts often include additional questions related to delivery, which can make them even more time-consuming to handle. For example:
- What happens if I’m not home to receive the delivery?
- Can I change the delivery address?
- Which carrier is delivering the parcel?
What is WISMR?
Closely related to WISMO is WISMR: “Where is my refund/return?” These are customer queries about the status of return shipments and refund requests. Though less common than WISMO calls, they still generate significant call volumes, especially during peak periods. These calls are also often time-consuming and frustrating for customers and your support staff.
“Customer question number one is ‘Where is my order?’”
— Susan, Customer Service Manager | ByNouck
What causes WISMO and WISMR calls?
Customers make WISMO and WISMR queries for a number of reasons. Some customers simply prefer to speak to someone in person and resolve their queries. In other cases, the customer may have overlooked or misunderstood a notification they received. Cases like these will likely result in WISMO contacts no matter what. However, the majority of WISMO and WISMR calls are preventable.
The main driver for WISMO calls is poor communication. If your website provides an unrealistic estimation of how long a delivery might take, customers will rightfully have questions when things do not go as they expected. Also, if you do not proactively inform customers about their order’s shipping status, they are far more likely to contact your support department. The same thing happens if your notifications are unclear or your track-and-trace system is difficult for customers to use.
How does WISMO impact your business?
Reducing WISMO is an important priority for e-commerce retailers, because WISMO queries ultimately harm your business.
- According to Sendcloud’s 2023 E-commerce Delivery Compass, the average consumer expects delivery within 3.3 days, and is not willing to wait any longer than 4.9 days. A high WISMO rate usually means that a company is struggling to keep up with its customer’s expectations.
- Research from Magento shows that WISMO calls cost €5.50 on average to resolve. This is based on the amount of time your support staff spend handling the query, from initial contact to follow-up and resolution. If your company ships thousands of parcels a month, the costs of handling WISMO queries quickly add up.
- WISMO calls are frustrating for customers. Customers who make WISMO queries generally feel like your company has not done a good job of keeping them informed. Even if the query can be quickly answered, the damage may already be done, because the customer felt as if your company dropped the ball.
- In the worst-case scenario, WISMO queries may cause enough frustration that the customer refuses to buy from your shop in the future. Research by PWC shows that 32% of customers will quit buying — even from a brand they love — after just one bad experience.
10 ways to reduce WISMO: Best practices and examples
Considering these financial impacts, it’s wise to invest in reducing WISMO and adding value to the customer’s experience. Fortunately, most WISMO queries are completely avoidable. With the right tools and tactics, you can enrich the customer experience while lowering costs and workloads for your customer support staff. Below, we show you some effective approaches to minimising WISMO.
1. Be realistic about delivery estimates
According to our own research, nearly 1 in 10 parcels are not delivered on the expected date. This is a classic scenario for a WISMO query. If your online shop or checkout displays an unclear or inaccurate delivery estimation, your customers will be rightfully disappointed when the delivery does not take place as you promised.
The solution is to be realistic about delivery times and never promise more than you can deliver. At the same time, keep in mind that nearly half of shoppers will abandon their cart if the delivery time you state during checkout is too slow. That’s why you want to be sure to offer a reliable delivery method that can deliver within the 3.3-day turnaround time that the average customer expects.
To ensure you’re stating accurate delivery times on your online shop, it’s important to have access to historical and real-time data on the delivery methods you use. At Sendcloud, we gather insights based on millions of shipments to help identify the best shipping method for each parcel. This also lets you specify delivery time estimations with greater accuracy.
2. Make sure your shipping and returns policies are crystal clear
Many WISMO queries can be avoided by simply giving customers better access to the information they’re looking for. Make sure your shipping and returns policies are clearly and concisely written. Also ensure they are easy to locate. Display them prominently in the header of your shop and during checkout.
Italian shoe retailer PittaRosso goes the extra mile by including links to shipping-related FAQs on their track-and-trace page. It’s also helpful to link to FAQs in your order status notifications. This way, customers can check and double-check your shipping policy whenever they want, so they know exactly what to expect.
3. Offer real-time updates and self-service tracking
Keeping your customers clearly informed of their shipment’s status is crucial to reducing unnecessary WISMO contacts. Although delivery issues are generally rare, the key to handling them is to be transparent and informative. Ensure that your customers have easy access to your carrier’s delivery tracking system online.
To make tracking shipments even more user-friendly, consider setting up your own tracking page. This is an online portal, designed to match your company’s branding. Here, your customers can simply access the latest status of their shipment. With the right tools, such as the Sendcloud Tracking API, you can integrate detailed tracking features like the carrier’s live tracking system right into your own website. The Sweetie Shoppie, a UK-based online candy store, was able to reduce their WISMO contact rate by 50% by introducing a branded tracking page.
Customers can access the tracking portal via their account on your shop, or via links included in your email notifications. Just remember to also optimise your tracking page for mobile devices, so your customers can access it from whichever device they prefer to use.
4. Deliver notifications via multiple channels
Though email is the preferred notification method for 67% of customers, there are a wide range of other preferred contact methods. These can vary considerably from one industry or country to the next (see the Sendcloud E-commerce Delivery Compass for more information).
To increase the visibility of your delivery notifications, consider sending them via multiple channels, including email, SMS, WhatsApp and more. Giving your customers the information they need through a channel they like to use is a good way to prevent unnecessary WISMO queries.
5. Simplify carrier notifications
Especially if you work with multiple carriers, it can be challenging to offer your customers and customer service staff a consistent experience: each carrier uses different terminology and jargon to refer to different stages of their delivery process.
Sendcloud automatically unifies over 6,000 different carrier status notifications into one concise, standardised system. This makes it instantly clear what the latest status is, so customers are less likely to be confused and make a WISMO query.
6. Give your customer service detailed tracking data
Even if you’ve provided detailed information online, some customers will still inevitably make a WISMO query. When that happens, it’s important to resolve the query as quickly as possible. Use logistics tools that enable you to integrate tracking data directly into your CRM system. This allows your customer support staff to instantly check order statuses whenever a customer calls or emails, without having to flip back and forth between multiple apps or websites.
7. Automate first-level customer service responses
Automated support tools like chatbots are an ideal choice for handling WISMO queries. Women’s accessories brand Vanessa Wu, for example, pushes tracking data via the Sendcloud API into Botmind, a chatbot that receives first-level customer service requests via the company’s website.
Integrating tracking data via API enables your chatbot to quickly locate and provide shipping status information. Most WISMO queries can be effectively answered in this way, without your human customer support staff needing to get involved. This frees up your staff to focus on exceptional cases where they can add more value.
8. Monitor and proactively inform customers in case of delivery issues
In the rare cases when a delivery issue occurs, it’s always best if the customer receives the news directly from you. Customers may be confused by messages they receive from your carrier. A customer may be expecting multiple deliveries at the same time, so it may not be immediately clear to them which order the carrier’s message is referring to. Receiving a proactive message from you, the sender, shows that you are taking responsibility for the situation and keeping the customer clearly informed.
To help e-commerce retailers easily track and fix issues with their shipments, Sendcloud ran a test in which we automatically notified users by email any time a parcel was sent back. Thanks to proactive notifications on incoming returns, the retailers reduced the number of customer support tickets by up to 75%.
9. Protect your shipments
Insuring your shipments in case of loss, delays or theft provides your customer with peace of mind. They know they’ll be refunded or sent a replacement shipment in case of any delivery issues.
Delivery insurance is also becoming increasingly affordable. Logistics partners like Sendcloud now offer insurance at lower prices, compared with standard carrier insurance. You can choose to automatically apply insurance to all your shipments by default, set automated rules for when to apply insurance or manually select which shipments to insure. In case a shipment is lost, 95% of claims are resolved within three days.
10. Offer same-day or next-day delivery
Lastly, prevent WISMO queries by simply delivering the order faster. While standard home delivery is the most popular delivery option (preferred by 50% of consumers), next-day delivery is a popular alternative (preferred by 34%), along with same-day delivery (23%) and nominated day delivery (31%).
Most customers prefer free shipping over fast shipping, but it is still a customer-friendly choice to offer an express delivery option. This way, the choice is up to your customer.
Since same-day and next-day deliveries are handled with high priority by carriers, they are also less likely to be delayed. This means customers will rarely need to make a WISMO query — especially if you’ve taken all the right steps to keep them informed on their delivery status in real time.
Delivering more value with less WISMO
WISMO is a frustrating experience for customers and an expensive task for your customer support team. The right tools and approach help you prevent WISMO queries before they even occur. Above all, reducing WISMO is all about improving your customer’s experience. With rich information, proactive service and automated technologies, you can lower your company’s WISMO rate and create a stronger relationship with your customers, so they’ll keep coming back to buy more, and spreading positive feedback about your company.