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The True Cost of WISMO

by Juliana Casale February 8th, 2021
True cost of wismo

If you’ve ever applied to an open position via Indeed, Monster, or any number of popular job boards, you’ve likely experienced what job seekers have dubbed the "resume black hole" - a piteous state of purgatory as you wait to find out whether you’ve scored a screening call with a recruiter or been relegated to the slush pile. 

When you’ve put in the leg work to research the company, enter your employment history and write a cover letter, you feel entitled to get some kind of response from the employer.


Image c/o Kforce

Even if it’s an automated email telling you that the applicant volume is high so you won’t hear back unless you make it to the first round, or a quick rejection notice, knowing the status of your application is far better than not knowing anything. 

As stated in “The Psychology of Waiting For a Parcel”:

“When we purchase a product online, our mind experiences a sense of virtual ownership, and the endowment effect kicks in.”

The same expectations apply to ecommerce. 


When a customer orders something through your website, they’ve done the work of searching for the right item, looking at reviews, evaluating shipping costs, and entering their payment information. 

In return, they expect acknowledgment (order confirmation) and reinforcement (tracking updates) - even (and especially) if there’s a shipping delay

What happens when you don’t provide that post-purchase transparency? 

Causes of WISMO (“Where is my order?)

When a customer is unclear on when their package will arrive, their first instinct is to ask Where is my order?

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Whether they reach out to your brand via email, phone, SMS, or chatbot, they are sending you a signal that something has gone awry in the communication process:

  • They might not have a frame of reference for the delivery date
  • They could be looking for a tracking link
  • There may be an unexplained gap between order, fulfillment, and delivery

Costs of WISMO

In a way, WISMO tickets are a positive sign - you’ve created so much anticipation around your product that customers are itching to receive it. 

But when that excitement turns to uncertainty or impatience, the impact on your brand can be damaging in many ways:

The cost of customer support

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Image c/o NiceReply

Typically, the task of answering WISMO queries falls on customer support teams:

  • According to Convey, WISMO calls account for up to 50% of inbound calls to customer care centers. 
  • And according to ReAmaze, over 30% of all ecommerce conversations through live chat are related to checking on orders. 

Just think of how much more impact your customer support team could have if these tickets were eliminated from the queue! 

Gorgias support tickets

As the average number of tickets created per day decreased, you could dramatically speed up your response and resolution times, causing your NPS and CSAT scores to soar.  

The cost of customer churn

Octane AI listed order tracking as a key retention channel in its roundup of ecommerce trends for 2021.

What's the flip side of retention? Churn.

For every customer who reaches out to your support team with an inquiry about their order status, you can bet there are dozens more who don’t have the time or energy to get vocal about their tracking woes. 

Instead of telling you with words, they’ll tell you with their wallets. 

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Data from Metapack’s 2020 eCommerce Delivery Benchmark Report shows that many shoppers aren’t willing to give brands a second chance one they’ve been burned.

Keep this in mind: Your CAC (customer acquisition cost) goes up, and the average LTV (lifetime value) of an acquired customer goes down, with every one-and-done shopper. 

Losing customers over delivery tracking is a truly costly misstep. 

The cost of replacements and refunds

“Poorly positioned pre-purchase, [returns] gut conversion rates. Mismanaged post-purchase, they deplete margins and can even threaten your business.” - Aaron Orendorff

When a customer doesn’t know if they’ll receive their order in time for an event, or for a gift-giving occasion, they will often take matters into their own hands: 

  • Either by shopping at a brick and mortar store (for that instant gratification)
  • Or shopping with a competitor (gotta love that Amazon Prime 2-day shipping window)

Then they’ll contact your customer service team for a replacement or a refund. 

Reasons replacement sent ecommerce

Across all Shopify businesses, 65% of refunds are performed manually. Cue more support tickets and more profits down the drain. 

The cost to your brand reputation

This Forbes article puts it succinctly:

20 Years To Build, Five Minutes To Ruin.”

The dream is to have happy customers singing your praises on social media. 

The nightmare is to have them leaving angry comments on your paid ads, or posting organically about how much your brand sucks. 

Many studies have shown that consumers are far more receptive to feedback from other consumers than they are to your marketing campaigns - which is why one bad order tracking experience can have a far-reaching impact on your bottom line. 

What are the odds anyone who’s seen these tweets will order from this online furniture company?

Customer feedback social media

What to do about WISMO

Clearly, WISMO is poison to your brand’s bottom line. But it’s also easy to avoid.

moo shipping delay

When you provide customers with shipping alerts on your website, self-service options within your help center and quick access to shipping and delivery information via marketing channels, you nip WISMO tickets in the bud. 

That’s step one. 

If you want your brand to stand out for providing exceptional customer service, step two is to go above and beyond merely preventing package anxiety:

  • Let customers know there's an issue before they have a chance to start wondering where their order is
  • If there’s a stalled shipment or long-term delivery delay, you can call the carrier on the customer’s behalf
  • If the customer isn’t going to receive their package on time for an event or special occasion, you can pay for expedited shipping 
  • If a customer has had a particularly bad experience, you can offer a full refund (they still get to keep the order when it arrives) or credit towards a future purchase
Positive customer feedback social media

When it comes to handling last-mile delivery issues, the brands who go the extra mile will make a lasting (and positive) impression on their customers. 

Is customer retention an area of focus for your brand in 2021? Request a free ecommerce retention analysis today.