November 25th, 2010 | 3 MIN READ

What is Your WISMO Rate And How Do You Reduce It?

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Today being Black Friday and the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season, expect to sell a lot of gadgets and gizmos - and receive a lot of WISMOs.

WISMO stands for "Where Is My Order?" calls to customer service. They can make up 70-80% of all customer inquiries during the holidays, which sucks up a lot of resources. The good news is, there are many things you can do to reduce the volume of WISMO calls.

1. Overcommunicate delivery estimates. Frantic WISMOs come in when customers don't know what to expect. Providing a reasonable delivery estimate should keep at least some WISMOs at bay. Make sure you repeat yourself. Make sure you repeat yourself. Link to delivery times in your headers, mention them on product pages, in the cart summary and on your customer service page. Be sure to state they are estimates only, that due to high volume, shipping times may take longer. It's also a good idea to pad your shipping cutoff dates with a few days buffer. If it typically takes 2 weeks to arrive, make your standard shipping cutoff date 17 business days before Christmas, with an option to upgrade to next day shipping beyond that date.

2. Provide order tracking and make it a prominent link site-wide. Yes, this carries a large cost if you don't already provide this service, but it can help your conversion rates as some shoppers choose their online retailers based on this service. And considering self-serve order tracking can significantly reduce your customer service calls, this allows you to give better customer service (shorter call wait times) to other customers, which increase satisfaction and can save sales. (Check out this Get Elastic post on order tracking usability).

3. Follow up every order with a link to your order tracking tool. Include instructions on how to use the tool (your own or the carrier's tool), and a request that the customer bookmark or tag the message for easy retrieval. If you don't have a tracking tool, reinforce the delivery estimate. If you can, state it as a date, rather than "X business days." E.g. "estimated delivery date is December 20th.".

4. Send an email when the item ships, not just after order placement. Again, reinforce the estimated delivery date.

5. Address "Where is my order" on your Customer Service page. Some customers will beeline for your contact information. Provide customer service FAQs including "Where is my order?" so customers can self-serve. If you don't have a tracking tool, re-state your typical delivery estimates.

6. Pay a bit extra for second day shipping. Sometimes the difference between regular and expedited is only a few dollars. If you choose to cover the cost on your end to expedite packages to next-day service, you'll significantly lower your WISMO customer service costs and "surprise and delight" customers by underpromising and overdelivering (pun not intended.)

Though WISMO calls are annoying, remember we experience the same anxieties with others' online stores. I've posted this comic before, but I can't resist doing it again - I just identify with it way too much...

Via xkcd

Happy Black Friday!

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