Letting Your PIM Solution Drive Experience
By Christi Helm, Project Coordinator
When most ecommerce professionals think of Product Information Management (PIM) Software, they think of how quality data can help improve the customer’s digital shopping experience. That, of course, is a very important function of a PIM, however, it can do more. High-quality product information is also an invaluable tool to help your customer service team provide great service to current and future customers.
As a former customer service representative for an ecommerce retailer, I have hours upon hours of stories of the obscure calls that I’ve handled. I’ve tackled problems as small as replacing a dish that arrived broken and problems as large as helping a customer find a service to disassemble and reassemble a nonrefundable, expensive, custom couch that did not fit into his apartment. Customer service is a job that never gets boring because you never know who is going to be on the other end when you pick up the phone.
In turn, we’ve all been customers and we know how dreadful it can be to sit on the phone for what feels like forever to get a solution to a simple issue. As a service representative, I always put myself in the customer’s shoes and did my best to find a solution as quickly and painlessly as possible. While I had the motivation and determination to help the customers, I was often met with bureaucratic roadblocks that caused frustration for both the customer and myself.
The Internal Company Experience
I lived in the PIM, using it to find answers to the customer’s questions about various products. Many of the questions were seemingly random: “Is this salad plate oven safe?” “Is this specific chemical in the finish on this dining table?” “What type of lightbulb should I use for this sconce?” “ How heavy is the couch that I bought twenty years ago?” but each was important enough for a customer to call. Regardless of the question, the PIM was always the first place that I looked for an answer.
Sometimes it was easy. Sometimes it was not.
The product information provided in the PIM instance was often incomplete and of poor quality.
It would have been easy to tell the customer that I didn’t have an answer but I was determined to do everything in my power to resolve their concerns. That is customer service; making every effort to satisfy their needs.
I’d reach out to a department, wait on hold upwards of ten minutes, ask my question, and be placed back on hold. Sometimes they found an answer and other times they didn’t. Nothing was worse than going back to a customer who had been on hold for 20 minutes to tell them that I could not find the answer.
Nothing was worse than going back to a customer who had been on hold for 20 minutes to tell them that I could not find the answer.
I was never sure whether the information was not available or simply missing from the PIM. A simple field in the PIM showing that the information was not available could have prevented my wasting the customer’s time looking for an answer that did not exist.
Product data should live in the PIM. It is where it belongs, organized and complete.
Although customers were pleased when I was able to answer an obscure question, raving about excellent service and swearing company loyalty, their experience could be improved by the reduced hold time that complete PIM content would provide. High-quality service is an important part of the customer experience. Customer service representatives should be able to use the PIM as the single source of truth when handling customer issues and questions about products.
Furthermore, time is money. The more time that I spent searching for an answer, the more I cost the company. I could have handled a higher volume of customer calls if I was equipped with the proper tools to answer questions. In addition, I had to pull other team members away from their tasks to help search for product information. All of this wasted time was unnecessarily impacting our company’s bottom line.
The Internal PIM Perspective
Years later, as a Project Coordinator for Sitation, helping customers implement and leverage some of the most effective PIM solutions available, I have confirmed what I felt as a customer service representative and PIM user:
A PIM instance filled with high-quality and complete product information would ensure a better experience for customers and improve call quality, ultimately driving bottom line gains.
Please reach out to us here at Sitation to learn more about how our content enrichment services can make improvements to help drive a better customer service experience.