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Reduce WISMO & cost, while taking the pressure off your contact centre

Although retailers and their customers are different, many post-purchase challenges are the same. This is especially true when it comes to reducing customer service calls.

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‘Where is my order’ (WISMO) and ‘Where is my return’ (WISMR) enquiries have long been a pain point for ecommerce businesses. On average, we find the cost for each WISMO or WISMR contact sits between £4 and £6, making it an expensive problem to have. And with online shopping hitting uncharted heights, it’s a problem that risks becoming unmanageable.

Customers expect on-demand delivery and return tracking updates, and if they can’t find updates easily, they’ll be reaching out to you, the retailer. However, with the right systems in place, customer contacts and the costs associated with dealing with them can be cut and winning delivery experience can be preserved.

So, here’s the real cost of WISMO, and some tips on reducing customer calls and contacts. We’ll cover:

  • The baseline for customer enquiries
  • What causes WISMO contacts?
  • Is your contact-per-order ratio too high?
  • Is your contact centre becoming operationally (and financially) overwhelmed with WISMO and WISMR contacts?
  • Are customers using a high-cost contact channel for WISMOs and WISMRs?
  • Is customer satisfaction or loyalty at risk due to poor customer service experience with WISMO and WISMR enquiries?
  • Strategies for WISMO reduction

First, the baseline for customer enquiries.

When weighing up the true cost of WISMO, there are two key factors to look at:

1. The cost you can see

On average, we find the cost for each WISMO or WISMR contact often sits between £4 and £6. Working out how much these contacts are costing you is pretty simple. Look at how many contacts you’re getting in a set time period. If you categorise your calls, see how many contacts are related to tracking enquiries.

Next, establish how long it takes to resolve one tracking enquiry in agent minutes and work out how many full-time employees this takes per year. This is the direct monetary cost of your WISMO and WISMR calls.

2. The cost that you can’t see (as easily)

This is where identifying the real cost of WISMO and WISMR becomes a little more complex.
45% of customers won’t shop again following a poor delivery experience which leads to a high potential for churn and serious revenue loss. Plus, every disappointing delivery experience or unresolved customer enquiry turns a promoter into a detractor as 93% of customers read online reviews before buying.

It’s important to consider falls in other customer experience (CX) metrics you’re tracking, such as NPS and CSAT, as well as negative reviews online, offline and on social media. This impacts brand reputation, loyalty and new customer acquisition.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. 90% of customers would choose to shop again following a positive delivery experience. And that’s what to strive for.

What causes WISMO contacts?

We know that high WISMO and WISMR rates are expensive problems. But this is where we have to look to the source.

The two most common causes of WISMO and WISMR are:

1. If teams don’t have access to delivery performance insights, they can’t handle issues proactively or keep customers informed of any delays or issues.

2. Customers don’t have easy access to the delivery or returns insight they need so are having to reach out.

High volumes of tracking-related contacts are often a result of a poor post-purchase customer experience where retailers and brands have limited visibility of delivery status and performance. This is where we can make positive, impactful change.

Do WISMO and WISMR contacts pile up because customers aren’t kept up to date?

When Royal Mail and IMRG asked a sample of customers, over 80% of them reported that not only is tracking important but they expect it to come from the seller. The moment a customer completes an online transaction, they want certainty about a parcel’s whereabouts.

It comes back to managing expectations. A lack of quality communication, paired with no self-serve tracking, means there’s only one way for customers to get updates which stretches your customer support team.

This is where proactive communications come in. Informing customers of delivery status changes means they’re always in the loop and don’t need to get in touch. Post-purchase tracking software provides customers with a device-agnostic tracking timeline and customisable tracking pages. This means you’re always pushing customers to engage more deeply with your brand.

As the WISMO contacts decrease, you can expect to see increases across NPS, CSAT and other CX metrics.

When it comes to WISMO and WISMR problems, prevention is better than a cure.

Customer Story

George at Asda partners with Sorted to improve the customer experience.

Read more
ASDA George outlet

Is your contact-per-order ratio too high?

Every time a customer contacts your customer service team about the whereabouts of an order the profits from that order reduce. When WISMOs and WISMRs accumulate to a sufficient degree, profits are hacked, rather than shaved.

Instead, you could give customers fully-branded updates through your preferred channel, regardless of which carrier is delivering their parcel. You can also warn agents of potential issues with proactive alerting such as ‘parcel is late’ or ‘may be missing’ before your customer becomes aware. This allows agents to take matters into their own hands and contact customers directly rather than wait for them to call, reducing inbound call volumes.

Alternatively, embedding tracking directly in your own app or website allows customers to self-serve and keeps all interactions exactly where you want them.

Automation can be used to embed tracking updates directly into your automated comms channels, ready to update customers whenever they ask. For example, if you use chatbots through onsite live chat, the bots could share the link to a tracking page helping your customers without any agent interaction at all.

If the customer does make contact, agents can immediately identify the status of parcels with real time updates through CS-friendly management dashboards. Putting the power in the customer’s hands by giving them access to their own tracking hub isn’t the only benefit here.

Keeping contact per order ratio down will ultimately lead to a better delivery experience for both customers and CS teams.

Is your contact centre becoming operationally (and financially) overwhelmed with WISMO and WISMR contacts?

As ecommerce volume grows, so too does the volume of incoming contacts. Plus, the longer a WISMO or WISMR takes to resolve, the more expensive it becomes.

When customer service agents are forced to manually identify shipments or browse through complex systems to find parcel info, the time spent can turn into days, or even weeks, over the course of a year. All of it is dead time.

To cope with demand, some businesses simply employ more contact centre agents, putting extra pressure on the bottom line.

The more efficient option is to empower your existing agents with advanced tracking information via interactive dashboards. This keeps them up to date with delivery issues and allows them to proactively resolve escalations or find the information they’re looking for.

This capability, coupled with customers receiving delivery updates on a branded tracking page, means that WISMO and WISMR contacts are significantly reduced. It’s good for contact resolution times and it’s good for keeping costs down.

Are customers using a high-cost contact channel for WISMOs and WISMRs?

As we know, each contact has a cost. And some cost more than others.
If high-resource, high-cost channels are draining time and money, nurturing customers through a more efficient channel is much more effective.

Audio and phone contacts are the highest cost and resource channels by far. Agents can only deal with one phone call at a time, requiring customers to wait on hold when there is a high volume of calls. Slow systems can delay resolutions even more, with customers sat in silence or on hold while the operator tries to manoeuvre through inefficient portals.

Is customer satisfaction or loyalty at risk due to poor customer service experience with WISMO and WISMR enquiries?

You’ve done the first, and arguably the hardest, part by attracting customers to your site and successfully selling a product.

It would be a shame to wave customers off into the sunset before handing them over to carriers for tracking, communications and service. You’ll have lost the final piece of the jigsaw and created a disjointed customer journey in the process.

That’s bad for you and can be worse for your customer as they are left to piece together confusing carrier-branded updates. It slowly dilutes all that great work you’ve invested at the beginning of the journey and erodes the connection with your brand.

You should fully own that connected customer experience. Leaving customers to pick up queries with the carrier or making them sit in a queue while a busy CS agent hunts through various systems to find the answer, simply won’t cut it.

Don’t take our word for it though – four in five customers say tracking is important to them, and they expect it to come from the seller. Couple that expectation with the fact that it’s five times more expensive to attract new customers than retain or win repeat business, why wouldn’t you want to instil more brand loyalty?

musicMagpie: 63% reduction in WISMO

musicMagpie pride themselves on fantastic customer experience, and a quick fix gave them full control of the customer delivery experience.

Read the customer story
Second hand CD & DVD collection

Strategies for WISMO reduction

So, how can retailers reduce customer calls, in practice?

Call deflection

The concept of ‘call deflection’ conjures misleading images; customers being bounced through different systems, pre-recorded robots telling them to ‘press the hash key’ and interactive voice response systems that don’t seem to understand. But call deflection isn’t about avoiding phone calls at all. It’s about working smarter, not harder, to create a 5* customer experience and reduce high call volumes.

Communicating with your customers through lower-cost or more efficient channels immediately helps to streamline customer support operations. With live chat or WhatsApp, an agent can handle multiple enquiries at once. Going one step further and allowing your customers to self-serve the information they need means they often don’t have to contact you at all.

With the continued rise of the omnichannel contact centre, in line with customer expectations rising exponentially, there are plenty of options for savvy retailers to choose from and many customers prefer choice. Whether it’s live chat, chatbots, emails, SMS or social channels, the important takeaway is that every retailer or brand must pick the channels most relevant to their customers.

Author and retail commentator Miya Knights told the Sorted Retail Sessions podcast that ‘retailers mistakenly think omnichannel means that they need to be everywhere – but they don’t have to be everywhere, they just have to be where their customers expect them to be’.

Self-service & automation

Self-service allows your customers to access the insight they need wherever they are in their post-purchase journey.

With post-purchase tracking software, you should get access to branded tracking pages as standard, so customers can consume fully-branded updates at their whim regardless of which carrier is delivering their parcel. Alternatively, embedding tracking directly in your own apps or websites keeps all interactions exactly where you want them.

Whatever method you choose, you’ll be sure to increase digital and brand engagement and improve your delivery experience.

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Great customer self-service delivers much more than just call deflection. If done properly, it allows you to digitally engage with your customers to empower them with answers and advice that deepen their engagement with the brand — positively influencing their satisfaction, retention, and advocacy.

Automation is used to embed tracking updates directly into your automated comms channels, ready to update customers whenever they ask. For example, if you use chatbots through onsite live chats, bots could share links to a tracking page, helping your customers without any agent interaction at all.

Even better, there’s no need to wait for the customer to enquire at all.

Automated updates, communications and notifications keep customers informed every step of the way so they know where a delivery or return is before they even ask. Post-purchase tracking providers effortlessly support this, whether that’s through comms partners or triggers via API or webhooks. With no effort, you’re always keeping customers up to date.

Informed and Proactive teams

Now contact volumes have been reduced, you can make sure customer service teams have the information they need to quickly and efficiently resolve WISMO or WISMR queries.

Getting actionable, accurate delivery performance data and insights can be tricky and, often, retailers and brands only hear about issues when the phone rings. They struggle to access the tracking they need, having to log into multiple systems to check on progress – which negatively impacts both average handling time and first contact resolution.

With post-purchase tracking software, you get access to CS-friendly dashboards and delivery performance reporting that informs teams of issues and performance across all carriers. Teams should be able to set up escalation management, like alerts and warnings when a parcel may be late or ‘is missing’, allowing agents to proactively resolve issues before they touch customers or NPS and CSAT scores.

A fully connected delivery experience

If you’re looking to create a post-purchase experience that reduces WISMO and takes the pressure off your contact centre, Soted’s Track software can do it all. See the platform in action by booking a demo and begin to reduce WISMO contacts now.

Post-purchase tracking and communications = customer contact reduction.


Fill in the calculator for a quick estimation of the money and contact centre minutes you could save with post-purchase tracking and comms software.

1) Fill in your average number of WISMO or WISMR customer contacts per year
2) Enter the average cost of a WISMO or WISMR customer contact (We find, on average, it can sit around the £4–£6 mark for a call)
3) View your potential savings

Data is based on Sorted client success metrics, and WISMO/WISMR customer contact reduction is just one area where you can measure savings.

Number of contacts per year

Cost of contacts (£)

Average handling time per contact (minutes)

Percentage decrease with tracking & comms software

Savings with Sorted


Minutes saved per year


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