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MAKING EDI HUMAN.

ASN/EDI 856. GS1-128/UCC-128. Confused yet?

And we haven’t even mentioned the EDI 810. Or the EDI 850. Or the EDI 753 and 754. And on and on and on it goes. After all, there’s no shortage of acronym overload or complexity when it comes to EDI and order management.

When so much of the discussion about EDI focuses on specific technical documents or the intricacies of seamless system integration, it’s easy to forget that even the most powerful software needs to be backed by great people. While the right solution will automate as many tasks as possible, it often falls to an actual human being when it comes time to solve a problem or create clarity out of confusion.

If you’re choosing an EDI and order management provider, don’t overlook the value of a solid customer support team. Yes, validation checks and automation will prevent all kinds of EDI and online order mistakes. But there are times when you hit a speed bump with a trading partner. Or you’re wrestling with a challenge on an online marketplace. Or maybe you need to set up a new trading partner and it’s, well, a bit more complicated than it was with your other accounts. Sure, you’re using technology to power transactions and automate tasks. But from time to time, you’re going to need the assistance of a knowledgeable human being.

Is there a help line you can count on? Does the support team check in with you periodically to make sure everything is running smoothly? Can they handle any hiccups quickly and efficiently? There is simply no substitute for people who are not only dedicated to solving your problems, but are true EDI experts.

When you need help with EDI and order management, what do you run into?

When you can’t get the help you need, your progress is stopped. That’s why the support team should be available when your business needs it — and a contact you can reach at all times. 

If you call during off-hours, do you get a call back? When you talk to the customer support representatives, is it clear they really know all the documents, whether it’s an ASN, a Purchase Order Change, or a 997? Have they handled complex drop shipping requirements with an especially difficult Trading Partner before? Is there a team in place to help you integrate the EDI software with your existing systems or do they outsource development to a third party?

Fact is, it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of EDI — documents, validation, automation, drop shipping, batch processing, integration with an ERP or Quickbooks or WMS — and forget the value of being able to call a number and talk to a person who can help you find solutions.

“Everyone in Customer Support feels invested in the success of our clients,” said Dallas Richards, Support Team Manager at eZCom. “We want to make sure we quickly resolve any problems and keep the order process moving.”

Our support people know Lingo, the feature-rich, cloud-based software developed by eZCom, inside and out. They also have extensive knowledge of EDI and no matter who your trading partners may be, it’s likely our Customer Support representatives have worked with them in the past. It’s the kind of inside knowledge you want and should expect when you begin working with EDI professionals.

The best EDI provider has robust software. And great people.

The bottom line is that EDI and order management is about more than data formats.

You want to combine a tailored EDI solution with people who can support you and your company every step of the way. Managing EDI, after all, is about simplifying your operation — not complicating it.

When it’s done well, your EDI and order management provider will free up valuable time and resources. So you’ll have more time to focus on growing your business instead of merely sustaining it. Not only do you need EDI software that works hard, you should demand thoughtful, helpful people in customer support to help you handle it.