Order Management Process Best Practices

Order Management & Processing Best Practices for Success

Whenever you place an order online, you trigger a behind-the-scenes process that (hopefully) results in you receiving your order in a timely manner. This is known as the order management process—and it’s incredibly important for agencies to master!

In this article, we at Service Provider Pro (SPP) will be taking a deep dive into what order management and processing is, how it works, and why it’s important for agencies and other businesses to get right.

Let’s get started!

What is order management?

Order management can be defined as the process of receiving, validating, and fulfilling a client’s order. It’s the point at which your sales funnel ends and a new stage of the client’s journey begins!

order management process flow

The order management process usually consists of the following steps:

  1. Receiving Orders: The agency receives an order from a client. This can be either an online or offline process, but typically involves targeted information gathering to ensure that the agency has an accurate picture of what is being requested.

  2. Validating Orders: The agency checks to see if the order is valid (e.g., if the client has enough money in their account to cover the cost of the order). This stage also means following up with clients to request any additional information that wasn’t collected during the first stage.

  3. Fulfilling Orders: The agency works to complete the order and sends it to the client via email, client portal (like SPP), collaboration tool, or a download link. Fulfillment also means dealing with post-delivery issues like refunds, revisions, and reviews.

Each of these steps is crucial for agencies to think about as they try to streamline their order management process.

What is order processing?

Order processing can be defined as the set of activities that a business completes to fulfill a client’s order. In other words, it’s a subset of order management that deals with the processes that are directly involved with getting a client’s order finished and delivered.

This usually includes:

  • Scheduling the work required to complete the order

  • Assigning the order to the team members who will be working on it

  • Creating any necessary project assets (e.g., a project management system, task list, or team chat)

  • Updating the client on the order’s progress

  • Completing the order and delivering it to the client

The order processing stage usually begins after the initial order has been placed and ends when the order is completed and delivered to the client.

Why is effective order management important?

Order management is important for a few reasons:

1) It helps ensure that orders are fulfilled on time

One of the most important reasons is that it helps ensure that orders are fulfilled on time. This is crucial for agencies because it means they can meet deadlines and keep clients happy.

In order to do this, businesses need to have a streamlined process for receiving, validating, and fulfilling orders. By taking the time to set this up, they can save themselves a lot of headache down the road.

2) It helps reduce the likelihood of errors and mistakes

Another reason why effective order management is important is that it helps reduce the likelihood of errors and mistakes. This is because each step in the process provides an opportunity to double-check the information that was collected in the previous stage.

For example, if an agency fails to collect all the necessary information up front, they may run into problems later on when they’re trying to complete the order. This is an issue that can be solved  by simply taking the time to establish a clear and concise process.

3) It helps you stay organized and efficient

Effective order management helps businesses stay organized and efficient by allowing them to track all of their orders in one place and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

By being organized, you can save time and avoid frustration. Not to mention, it can set you up for success in the long run by having a solid process to deal with clients.

4) It helps improve the overall customer experience

Effective order management can improve your client’s experience with your business by increasing your responsiveness and effectiveness. If an agency is able to quickly and easily respond to their client’s needs, they’re more likely to be satisfied with the work.

5) It helps you scale your business

This rings true especially for agencies and service providers, as order management will become more and more important as you scale. This is because, as your agency takes on more clients, you’ll need to be able to handle a larger volume of orders.

By having an effective order management system in place, you’ll be able to scale your business without running into any major roadblocks.

6) It helps build trust with clients

Last but not least, effective order management also helps build trust with clients. This is because it shows that the agency is organized and capable of handling their orders in a timely and efficient manner.

In short, by taking the time to set up an effective order management system, agencies can save themselves a lot of time and headaches down the road. Not to mention, it will also help build trust with their clients.

What does the order management process look like in practice?

Now that we’ve covered why order management is important, let’s take a look at what the process looks like in practice. We’ll have agencies in mind, but freelancers and other service providers may find some of the insights here very useful in streamlining operations.

As we mentioned before, the order management process usually begins after an initial order has been placed and ends when the order is completed and delivered to the client. However, the exact steps involved in the process can vary depending on the agency.

Here are a few of the most common steps involved in an order management process:

1) Collecting information from the client

The first step in the process is to collect all the necessary information from the client. This includes things like their contact information, project details, and any special instructions.

Collecting information from the client

SPP makes it easy to collect and keep track of client information thanks to fully customizable order and intake forms. Agencies can use these forms to collect all the necessary information up front, which can save a lot of time down the road.

2) Validating the order

Once the agency has all the necessary information, they will then need to validate the order. This usually involves verifying that the client has provided all the required information and that everything is correct. This could be done by a project manager (which you can assign on a per-client basis).

3) Assigning the order to a team member

After the order has been validated, it will then be assigned to a team member (or team members) who will be responsible for completing the work. To make sure everyone is on the same page, it can be helpful to take advantage of project management and collaboration tools.

Collecting information from the client

Assigning team members to tasks and orders is simple with SPP. First, create an account for every member of your team. Second, create custom roles that correspond with limitations and rules that reflect their responsibilities at your agency. Third, assign team members to specific services. Finally, sit back and watch as SPP routes incoming orders to the right people!

Tip: To learn about how SPP can help your agency manage projects and juggle assignments, check out this article

You can also create and assign order statuses for more complex projects that require different stages to be completed. For instance, if you’re an SEO content marketing agency providing end-to-end services, you can create the following statuses to systemize the whole process of completing an order, including:

  • Creating the content calendar and choosing the topics.

  • Creating the brief for the writers after validation.

  • Delegating all the articles to write.

  • Editing and fact-checking the articles.

  • Submitting the articles.

  • Completing the order.

4) Completing the order

The next step is pretty self-explanatory. It includes all the work it takes to actually complete the client’s order—you know the drill!

As you begin to make progress on the order, you should aim to give client updates along the way. This will help keep them in the loop and ensure that they’re happy with your work.

5) Delivering the order to the client

Once the order is complete, it’s time to deliver it to the client. How you do this will depend on the type of order and the client’s preferences.

6) Following up with the client

The final step in the process is to follow up with the client to make sure that they’re happy with the work. This is an important step in ensuring that the client will be a repeat customer.

By following these steps, agencies can streamline their order management process and ensure that their clients are always happy with the work that they receive.

5 tips to improve your order management process

Now that we’ve gone over why order management is important, let’s take a look at how you can improve your process:

1) Use an order management system

The first step to streamlining your process is to use an order management system. This will help you keep track of all of your orders in one place and make it easy to access the information you need.

For example, SPP’s client portal is designed to help agencies keep track of their orders, collect client information, and manage assignments—all in one place!

2) Communicate with your team

It’s important to make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to the order management process. Set up regular meetings (or use a project management tool) to ensure that everyone knows what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. SPP also allows you to privately interact with your team on specific orders:

Communicate with your team

3) Set up a system for collecting payments

Another important part of the process is collecting payments from clients. To streamline this, set up a system for invoicing and accepting payments. This can be as simple as using an online invoicing tool or setting up automatic payments. SPP can be integrated with Stripe or Paypal, such that clients can pay via our client portal.

4) Keep your clients in the loop

As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s important to keep your clients in the loop throughout the entire process. Use order statuses to let them know what stage their order is in, and send regular updates to keep them informed of your progress.

5) Review and improve your process regularly

The final tip is to review and improve your process on a regular basis. As your agency grows and takes on more orders, you’ll need to adapt your process to ensure that it’s still effective. By reviewing your process regularly, you can make sure that you’re always providing the best possible service to your clients.

Order management is crucial

Order management is a critical part of any business’s operations. By taking the time to set up an effective system, you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches down the road. Not to mention, it will also help build trust with your clients.

With SPP, agencies can take advantage of our powerful order management software to streamline their process and save time.

Ready to give it a try?

You're in good company. SPP is helping agencies like yours sell millions of dollars in services every month.