SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

12 Days of Christmas – Esendex delivers text messages for Kiddicare

Posted by Admin on December 27, 2008

Today’s article is a case study from the lovely people at Esendex. You can check out there case study with Ocado, the shopping delivery service here.

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Kiddicare delivers every time with help from Esendex

esendexKiddicare is the largest privately owned nursery supplier to the UK public and is dedicated to first class customer service. With 80 per cent of Kiddicare’s annual turnover, which is on target for £35 million, from online sales, kiddicare.com prides itself on being the most secure, committed, reliable and trustworthy online nursery business on the net.

In order to improve customer communication further and remain an innovator in its field, Kiddicare teamed up with business SMS specialist, Esendex, to offer a tailored text messaging service. Since implementing the Esendex service, Kiddicare has reduced its missed delivery rate by 30 per cent – a vital step to help manage operating costs.

About Kiddicare
Kiddicare is a family business established in 1974 and is now the largest privately owned nursery supplier to the public in the United Kingdom. Kiddicare.com was launched in 1999 and now dispatches stock using a leading-edge, automated picking system from its distribution centre in Peterborough. Kiddicare employs over 120 full time members of staff.

Conception
Kiddicare now sells 600,000 items a year through kiddicare.com and the team at Kiddicare knew what it wanted to achieve in terms of customer communication. The idea appeared simple: text customers when goods are dispatched. The challenge was finding a comprehensive provider to integrate with Kiddicare’s existing systems and reliably handle the required amount of SMS traffic.

Early Adopters
Kiddicare selected business SMS communications specialist, Esendex, to provide a text messaging system to meet its needs. In 2005, following meetings and product demonstrations, Kiddicare trialled a two-way Email SMS product information service using the Esendex system.

The service meant that customers could text Kiddicare with product enquiries. For example: Do you have pushchair [product name and number] in blue? Customer services would then text back the answer. Although the theory behind this service was sound, the execution proved unsatisfactory for both Kiddicare and its customers. It was time consuming for Kiddicare staff and customers really did not require such a service, especially as Kiddicare.com provides all stock availability information quickly and easily. A much more important factor for success and customer satisfaction was hitting the delivery slot.

The Delivery
With 80 per cent of its business online, Kiddicare has to ensure that its delivery service is second to none. This means making the most of the systems it has available to ensure customer communication is ahead of its time.

Scott Weavers-Wright, Partner at Kiddicare, explains, “We quickly realised that the SMS service from Esendex could be put to better use with a text message detailing the dispatch of customer orders. One of our key performance indicators in e-commerce is ensuring that home deliveries are made efficiently. This means being on time and ensuring the customer is available to accept the delivery. Returned or failed deliveries cause delays and problems for our customers, our staff and the delivery company. The best way around this is prevention rather than cure.”

The Formula
Kiddicare utilises Esendex’s standard API (Application Programming Interface) to integrate with its existing systems and automate the sending of customer dispatch texts. The outbound-only text delivery system means Kiddicare customers are kept fully up to date with the status of their order and can make changes as required.

“At the point of order, the customer inputs their mobile number in the Kiddicare checkout system. As soon as the goods are dispatched from the warehouse, the customer receives an SMS to say their order is on its way. If we only have their landline number, this is not a problem as the Esendex system sends the message to this number where it is converted to a voice message for the customer to retrieve,” comments Weavers-Wright.

Example text: “Fantastic news, your goods have been dispatched from Kiddicare.com. Order no. 1234567 left our warehouse today on a next working day service (Mon-Fri).”

To validate the communication, the messages are “Kiddicare” branded rather than displaying a mobile number or shortcode to keep the customer informed about their order. A send-only service of this nature ensures Kiddicare keeps a tight handle on customer delivery changes through the appropriate order channels to save staff time and possible inconsistencies from the customer.

Walking Tall
“The Esendex API is very intuitive and integrates well with our existing business applications,” highlights Weavers-Wright. “It’s reliable and with outstanding availability. It really has helped keep our customers happy, which means we can get on with running the business and maintaining excellent service.”

Since implementing the Esendex system, Kiddicare has seen a 30 per cent reduction in its carded missed deliveries rate, which is where the delivery company has to leave a card if the customer is unavailable to receive the order.

“We have noticed a significant improvement in our delivery rates, which is excellent news for our customers, our staff and our suppliers. Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about the text messaging system and we continue to look at ways to improve this further still,” concludes Weavers-Wright.

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