Contacts Per Order — What It Is and How to Reduce It

Gladly Team

Read Time

4 minute read

Ecommerce brands are always searching for ways to optimize their support centers so customers don’t get unnecessarily frustrated and team members aren’t overworked. A key measurement of your service efficiency is contacts per order, or CPO, which identifies how frequently a shopper is contacting you regarding a single order.

Let’s break down how CPO is calculated, why current tactics don’t quite cut it, and what you can apply to your support center today to improve your contacts per order.

How to Calculate Contacts Per Order

The CPO ratio is the average number of contacts per order, calculated as:

Total # of contacts / total # of orders processed = CPO ratio

Imagine that a brand has 1,000 contacts for 250 processed orders during the holidays. Using the CPO ratio formula, they find they averaged four contacts per order during the sale period:

1,000 (total # of contacts) / 250 (total # of orders processed) = 4 (CPO ratio)

Your goal is to get your CPO ratio as close as possible to 1 or 0, meaning your customers are reaching out only once or not at all per order. Lowering your CPO will reduce customer experience costs and decrease agent burnout.

Additionally, you get the bonus of freeing up your support staff to tackle more important challenges and opportunities, like generating revenue through cross-selling and upselling.

Current Contacts Per Order Tactics and Why They Miss the Mark

Driving down CPO usually translates to lower overall customer experience costs, as it frees up agents to address more pressing problems. However, a few approaches can have negative side effects that, while good for CPO in the short-term, damage the long-term potential of a brand’s customer experience.

Don’t — Reduce or eliminate support on certain channels

Some brands are moving their agents off of channels altogether, and focusing entirely on specific ones where they’ve focused resources. For instance, in order to reduce having to hire more live voice agents that demand long-term attention, brands will eliminate voice as an option for customers. This could save some money in the short-term, but it closes you off from a valuable, high-volume channel that could turn customers off.

Don’t — Diminish reliance on live contact

There is a troubling trend toward reducing the reliance on live contact to focus more on self-service options. Self-service should be a tool to empower shoppers to do as much as they can on their own, but it shouldn’t leave them hanging. While these solutions reduce CPO and drop customer experience costs in the short-term, the long-term effects are damaging.

A Better Way to Boost Your Contacts Per Order Ratio

Getting a lower CPO ratio requires technology that clears a path to success for customers and empowers, rather than eliminates the need for, your support agents. The result is satisfied customers who get the answers they need faster.

Do — Perfect your fulfillment

Invest in upfront fulfillment services like fast, trackable shipping and prepaid return labels in order to make self-service easy and shoppers feel like they’re in control. Go even further by incorporating proactive communications that signal order delays, out-of-stocks, or other time-sensitive issues.

Do — Maximize self-service

Bolster your self-service options by adding automation and intelligence to your FAQs, and quick responses on chat and other automated channels. Use a consolidated knowledge base that updates across your digital reach so there’s consistency no matter which channel a customer reaches out on. The more your shoppers can do on their own, the more you can free up your agents to handle more pressing issues that require a human touch.

Do — Conversations over ticketing

Stop giving customers a 10-digit number to memorize for each request. Especially when CPO is high, this makes the process all the more complicated. Instead, find a system that foregoes ticketing altogether, collating all communications on a single, shareable timeline. Doing so helps agents to serve customers far easier and develops valuable, loyal relationships in the process.

Gladly and Your CPO Ratio

With Gladly, your brand removes ticketing altogether in favor of a system that views customer interactions through conversations first. This holistic view of the customer relationship helps agents access historic information to solve issues quickly and effectively. Meanwhile, intelligent self-service options, like automatically identifying topics, track what your customers are regularly asking about. These topics get incorporated into your FAQs and quick responses to power effective self-service.

Lower CPO leads to higher margins by reducing staffing and technology costs associated with an overworked support center. Gladly reduces CPO without decreasing service, maintaining your brand’s high-quality customer experience even as you save resources and free up agents to create entirely new revenue-generating opportunities.


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