If your customers' ardor has cooled so much between the time they order and the time you can deliver that they refuse to accept your product, shouldn't you find a way to provide next-day service?

The flood of sales lost due to the long wait for delivery had dampened the spirits of management at Sparkling Spring Water, in Highland Park, Ill. The $15-million company installs coolers and delivers bottled water in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The company was losing not only customers, but also the time spent in futile attempts to deliver the cooler.

All that has changed. The company now uses mapping software to create daily delivery routes. When new customers order the service, the reps find out when and where to deliver the cooler. That information goes directly into a database on the company's network, and a supervisor transfers the information to MapInfo (800-327-8627) mapping software. When the supervisors are ready to build the next day's delivery schedule, the computer combines the customer information with the number of drivers available and generates the route each of those drivers will follow.

Within one month of installing MapInfo, the company's order cancellation rate had fallen from 32% to 27%, and it has since dropped to 20%.

Copyright 1999 G+J USA Publishing