Last week, we discussed why balancing supply with demand is crucial for business profitability and how a visual analytics solution can help companies find that balance. But supply chain analytics can do far more than assist with demand planning. They can also help you identify customer service issues and handle them proactively.

With a robust visual analytics solution, you can quickly convert rows and rows of spreadsheet data into easy-to-understand data visualizations. These data visualizations are built with real-time data, allowing you to spot any breakdowns in the supply chain and take action quickly. And when the visual analytics solution is embedded directly into your existing supply chain processes and systems, instead of being locked away in a separate business intelligence solution, using it quickly becomes second nature.

Here are three ways to use visual analytics within your supply chain to improve customer satisfaction.

Identify Delayed Customer Orders

Supply chain analytics can help you reduce gaps between demand and supply by allocating resources more effectively. Every once in a while, though, demand will still exceed supply. That means customer orders may be delayed, and delays often lead to customer dissatisfaction. A data visualization helps you see exactly which orders are delayed and when fulfillment will be possible.

Delayed Customer Orders chart

You can relay that information to your customer service reps (CSRs) and set parameters for how to deal with the delays. For instance, you might ask the CSRs to reach out to affected customers and offer free expedited shipping on a similar product.

Review Items on Backorder

When orders are coming in faster than you can produce the products, that means sales are booming. Great news, right? Not for customers who want their items now.

Inventory Items on Backorder

Rather than hunt through multiple spreadsheets to determine which items are out of stock, you can pull real-time data to create one data visualization of all items on backorder. You can see exactly how many items you need to stock to catch up on backorders and you can extrapolate how long it will take to clear the backlog. Instead of leaving your customers in limbo, you can provide them with information about when their orders will be fulfilled. While no customer likes to wait for a backordered item, knowing that the product will (eventually) arrive can ease dissatisfaction. Especially if bad news about a backorder is accompanied by a special offer to make the wait worthwhile, such as a discount on a future order.

You can also analyze backorders to identify items that sell out frequently and adjust your supply chain logistics accordingly. After all, customers may forgive an occasional backorder, but if it happens too often, they’ll likely give their business to someone else.

Reward Your Top Customers

Do you know who your biggest purchasers are? Do you know how much they spend? By creating a data visualization of your top customers, you can answer both of those questions with a resounding “yes!”

top customers by purchasing

When you can clearly see that your biggest customer accounts for more than $600,000 in sales, you may want to implement a program to give that customer a little extra love. Maybe you institute an incentive program for customers who spend more than a certain amount each quarter, or maybe you coordinate with your account managers and your CSRs to treat top customers with special care.

Optimize Your Supply Chain, Improve the Customer Experience

By using visual analytics to identify delayed orders and items on backorder, you can deal with potential customer service issues proactively. In other words, rather than responding to inevitable customer complaints, you can dispatch your CSRs to communicate with customers before deep dissatisfaction takes root. As an added bonus, you can pinpoint your top customers and be sure they benefit from the best customer care your organization can offer.

At iCharts, we’ve developed pre-built interactive dashboards that have been proven to optimize supply chains—and improve the customer experience as a result. Our iCharts | Cloud Enterprise customers can access these dashboards as a standalone product or integrated within leading ERP, SCM and CRM systems, including NetSuite and Salesforce. The dashboards give everyone access to relevant data so that anyone can create and share data visualizations—no IT involvement necessary.

Check out our supply chain analytics solution to learn more about the relationship between the supply chain and customer satisfaction. And, see for yourself why everything is better with visuals.