When we implement an eCommerce project for a client, often times the main focus is giving their customers a great user experience, including the ability to find a product via faceted navigation and elegant site layouts. But for those organizations that use customer service to place orders, especially in the B2B market, the customer service representatives are often still stuck using an old ERP system to place orders.
In cases where customer service is using an older ERP for ordering, the system is usually not very user-friendly and results in team members using their knowledge of the business to find the correct products, as opposed to more functional services that could be found in the eCommerce implementation. In those situations, it is hugely beneficial to extend the eCommerce site to allow internal customer service representatives to place orders for their customers via the Magento site into the ERP.
Here are two different projects we have executed for clients that extend Magento to be a business process improver for their customer service team.
Alta Genetics is a global leader in reproductive and herd management products and services for the beef and dairy cattle industry. We had previously helped them with a Magento implementation and JD Edwards integration, and they wanted to extend Magento even further by applying it to their global sales staff.
Alta’s consultants work with customers to determine which genetic samples would benefit their herds and how to obtain them for the best possible price. Because they are an international company, sometimes that process looked like this:
- Alta consultant takes a Brazilian customer’s order in Portuguese
- The Brazilian order entry representative enters that order in English and notifies the team in Canada
- The Canadian team member inputs that order into JD Edwards for fulfillment
Understandably, that system got complicated very quickly. While Alta does a lot of business outside of North America, they did not need JDE to be fully deployed in those markets, they just needed to be able to capture and fulfill orders.
In order to streamline the sales process for the Alta team, we extended Magento so that sales staff can enter orders into Magento on behalf of their customers, and the orders are then passed into JDE automatically. This saves time and reduces the opportunity for human error, freeing up Alta consultants for other tasks.
Smoky Mountain Knife Works
The situation with SMKW was a bit different. SMKW is a knife and outdoorsman tools retailer that worked with us to update their eCommerce presence with Magento and integrate with their existing IBM i. While the eCommerce improvements benefitted their customers, we knew we could use Magento to help their sales staff as well.
Customer service representatives were previously taking orders over the phone from people who were purchasing from SMKW’s paper catalogs. The CSR team would then place those orders into their green screen legacy ERP system. Instead of using the complicated ERP, SMKW wanted their team to be able to access a CSR portal in Magento.
This solution reuses already established features from the website to allow SMKW representatives to search for products, check inventory, and utilize cross- and upsells while placing orders for clients. The browser-based application is easy to use and appealing for a changing work force that is skewing younger. With this CSR portal, SMKW representatives can more easily place orders for those customer who prefer to call in, and market to those customers as well.
While it is certainly a workhorse on the front end, don’t discount Magento’s abilities for your staff behind the scenes. Its ease of use and ability to integrate with ERPs make it a great option for customer service and sales teams.
Does this sound like a solution your company needs? Contact our team of certified Magento developers.