Developing steps for processing orders is crucial for your business. Without the proper order-processing work flow, the order processing within your business will be chaotic and unreliable. Take the time to develop the proper order-processing guidelines and your business will run more smoothly and you will have higher customer satisfaction.

Use a Standardized Form When Taking Orders

Whether your company uses a customer service representative to take orders or the customer enters orders directly through your website, it is vital that you have a standardized form. This allows the person filling out the form to know what information is required and ensures that all needed information is collected.

Each of your inventory items may have slightly different order details. For example, if you operate a furniture store, the order form for a sofa may include the type of fabric while the form for a table may require the type of finish.

It is important that incomplete order forms are not accepted. If an order form does not have the needed information, it must be returned and completed before it can be processed.

Confirm the Order

After an order form has been submitted, it should be confirmed with the customer. This can be accomplished by sending an email with the order details. It is not necessary to require that the customer verify the order. Instead, make it clear that the customer should contact your company if there are any problems with the order. Be sure to make your company's contact information easily accessible to the customer.

Distribute the Order Form Internally

Once the order form is filled out, it should be forwarded to everyone who needs to perform an action related to fulfilling the order. This includes the warehouse, the accounts receivable department and the manufacturer, if the order is being fulfilled by a third party. The expected fulfillment date should be clearly indicated so that everyone involved knows the timetable.

Communicate With the Customer

It is vital to clearly communicate with the customer. Tell the customer if there is a delay in the fulfillment of the order. Being upfront and honest with the customer when there is a problem is much better than ignoring it. Also, inform the customer when the order ships. Tell her the carrier, the tracking number and the expected delivery date. Ask for feedback from the customer after he receives the order. Have a customer service representative call to make sure the customer is happy with the purchase or use an online survey to gain feedback. Either way, the customer feedback will give very useful insight into your order-fulfillment process.