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How to Increase Customer Satisfaction with Efficient Systems Integration

As ecommerce evolves, its complexity increases—and that’s a very big challenge. Advanced digital commerce architectures can resemble spaghetti when it’s dumped from the pot to the colander: a vast tangle of alignments meandering from one channel to another. If these conjunctions aren’t optimal, the site can malfunction catastrophically, unsettling customers and draining revenues.

Karsten Bockbreder
Karsten Bockbreder is vice president of expert services at Astound Commerce DACH.

Typically, integration problems crop up during cross-channel processing. An example: assume you’re a customer service agent. A customer places an order in your webshop, then sends part of the delivery back to the warehouse after the return period expires. Given you work for a consumer-centric company, you graciously accommodate the customer; you send her an email confirming her return has been accepted.

So far so good. But a few days later, the customer complains that she’s still waiting for her refund. You then launch into a grueling odyssey, checking with the carrier and warehouse to confirm that the articles were really returned; with the financial department to see if there are outstanding charges, preventing a refund; and with the website team to establish order details and payment service provider (PSP) financial flow.

Meanwhile, the customer is becoming increasingly upset about the refund delay. She’s phoning in regularly, her blood pressure—and yours—spiking with each call. 

A check on PSP backend reveals that an automated refund was rejected due to an expired initial payment transaction. So everything reverts to physical mode: a manual refund is authorized from the PSP backend, an email confirming the refund is sent to the customer, and the financial service system is manually updated by syncing the sales and debtor account. The customer ultimately gets her money back, but she’s more alienated than satisfied. Everyone, in sum, loses.

These stressful scenarios are by no means rare in the ecommerce realm. If your system network isn’t fully connected to a central information framework that enables instant access to all relevant commerce information—including non-executed standard processes—business will suffer and revenues dwindle.

Happily, these common dilemmas have a common solution: effective systems integration. That’s not to say that integration projects are easy: They’re formidably complex. Moreover, they typically require a good deal of time to execute, they’re expensive, and they can pose a significant degree of risk to site stability or functionality. Any adjustment of a complex legacy system will involve profound challenges, so choosing the right integration solution partner is essential to success.

A Targeted Solution

In some cases, systems integration may require a complete teardown and full reconstruction—literally creating a new platform from scratch, one that embeds strong, resilient connections in the architecture, assuring rapid communication between nodes and reliable platform performance at all scales.

Excellent solutions exist for wholesale restructuring, with MuleSoft ranked as the top performer. But not all ecommerce integration problems require such extensive—and expensive—intervention. Many problems require a tactical rather than a strategic approach: eliminating a few pain points that may be disrupting a system rather than creating an entirely new platform.

For such scenarios, BlueSail, a standard implementation for Salesforce Commerce Cloud, is a good choice.

Developed by Astound Commerce, BlueSail is an elegant, powerful solution that uses existing MVP features, standard interfaces, and pre-defined processes to develop an integration framework customized for individual client requirements.  No long and costly rebuild is required. With BlueSail, integration problems are resolved quickly and effectively with minimal disruption to existing architectures. The out-of-the-box feature set effortlessly integrates checkout and transmission, financial services, warehouse management, and business logic.

Standard integration frameworks such as BlueSail remedy a long-standing deficit in the ecommerce realm: an integration approach that provides a precise, targeted solution for specific pain points. The emphases are on efficacy, value, and especially speed. BlueSail was developed to ensure fast time to market through the lowest possible integration efforts and the application of microservices to address recurring requirements.

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