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Direct Response Marketing

Support Services: Manpower vs. Tech Power

1 May, 2017 By: Bill Southwick Response

You will want to give the right order management system your Employee of the Year award.

Have you ever fantasized about having that perfect employee? You know, the one that always does what they’re told to do — without being reminded. The one that works day and night — and never complains. The one that can multi-task, is never sick, never takes a vacation, and never kills a few hours a week complaining about everything to anyone that will listen.

Sure, we all recognize that this is a fantasy. This employee doesn’t exist. But what if you could find the next best thing?

We live in a technical world and there are solutions available that can make that fantasy employee a virtual reality.

In the world of online and direct response marketers, your answer lies with advanced order management solutions. These services are available today through cloud-based, secure, hosted subscriptions. They are affordable and scalable for marketers of all sizes. They can be customized to meet your needs and made to enforce your specific business rules.

Many marketers look at these solutions with varying expectations about what they offer and, as a result, underutilize the features and functionality available to them. It isn’t uncommon to find marketers paying hard-earned dollars on multiple systems that provide duplicate features and functionality. Today, it is possible to have a single solution that can automatically collect orders, and associated details, from multiple sales channels:

  • A solution that automatically processes payments through multiple gateways, determined by you, and automatically resubmits declines to improve successful capture rates.
  • A solution that automatically manages multi-pay/installment orders and manage the processing and shipments for subscription-continuity programs.
  • A solution that offers inventory management functionality that allows purchasing, receiving, multiple location storage, and other inventory management tools.
  • A solution that automatically places orders on back-order when insufficient inventory is available and then automatically releases the order once inventory is replenished.
  • A solution that enables marketers to better manage fraud by restricting duplicate orders to same addresses, same names, use of same method of payment, and a variety of other key data points.
  • A solution that provides summarized information to enable efficient and helpful outcomes to customer service calls. In fact, some solutions allow for real-time customer self-service from the website they ordered from.
  • A solution that manages a return merchandise authorization (RMA) process to insure returned items are handled and credited properly.
  • A solution that provides critical reporting on the key metrics that drive your business so you can quickly make changes to improve your campaigns.

But wait, there’s more! Today, many of these solutions are “rules driven,” so marketers can customize the behaviors of these systems to the rules they have determined are best for their business. For example, you may set up a business rule that requires the purchase of a specific primary offer with enrollment in a continuity program, before the customer would be permitted to purchase a high-value upsell item.

Some systems also provide permissions and access limitations by specific roles. This means individual users can be granted access and/or restriction to the areas of the system appropriate for their jobs. For instance, compare an administrator’s role to a sales agent’s role. The administrator would have full access and permission throughout the application, but the sales agent may be restricted to seeing only the information required for their jobs and only have permission to sell certain products within a specific campaign.

You should also expect to find solutions that provide PCI compliance, human relations and commissioning tools, telephony integration features, performance dashboards and visualizers, exceptional integration and automation capabilities, installment payment support, and a variety of scripting tools — all enhancing the ability for a marketer to gain better control of their business.

While the cost for these services varies, it is important to make sure you are comparing overall features and functionality when doing your pricing analysis. Understanding that good employees are hard to find, important to keep, and vital to your success, it is hard to imagine that you could find even the most ideal employee to be as cost effective, efficient, and reliable as the right technology solution for your business. The smart marketer makes good use of both. ■

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