Why Bad Handwriting is Bringing Your Business Down

Deciphering bad handwriting on your printed order forms is frustrating, not to mention the fact that it wastes time and money. So what are the alternatives?

Mandy Movahhed
March 5, 2014

Last week my chicken scratch wasted a bunch of time. I was on the phone with my doctor’s office when they told me they had called and left me several messages regarding my prescription. Turns out they had my phone number off by a digit due to my illegible handwriting. Luckily, it wasn’t a matter of life or death - but it reminded me of the effect of illegible handwriting on the wholesale order-writing process, and just how bad it can be. We’ve heard a lot from customers over the years who have since moved away from the handwritten order process about the effect of illegible handwriting on their bottom line. Here’s how bad handwriting can slow you down and negatively impact your brand!

The Costs of Bad Handwriting

1. It can damage your relationship with your customers.

A misread order from a sales rep that’s entered into your backend system can be a big problem. It means you’ll send an incomplete order or the wrong inventory, or worse yet - charge the customer more than they agreed to pay! If you’re lucky, your customer will forgive your mistake. If you’re not, you could lose their business.

2. It wastes a ton of your customer service team’s time.

Trying to decipher illegible handwriting is not only frustrating - it takes a lot of time. After squinting at a handwritten order and trying to make out numbers on one’s own, a customer service rep might then ask a colleague for a second opinion. At that point he needs to decide whether to make the executive decision to process the order with a potential mistake or hold off until he gets in touch with the sales rep to confirm the details. Can’t you think of more productive things for your customer service team to do? A note on fax machines... If you really want to make your customer service team’s life a living hell, fax them a poorly written order. A fax transmission can take an already illegible order into a full-on hieroglyphics situation.

3. It dramatically slows your time to accurate order fulfillment (and to you getting paid).

It might be obvious, but worth mentioning. An extension of both points 1 & 2, processing an incorrect order and slowing the efficiency of your customer service team means a longer time to fulfillment and, correspondingly, a longer time until you get paid. If you’re cursed by the plague of bad handwriting, here’s a few things you can do to help.

1. Beg your salespeople to write more legibly.

2. Move to an electronic solution.

Of course, we are biased and think you should give an order management platform like Handshake a try. But even emailing an order is preferred to handwritten chicken scratch.

3. Destroy your fax machine.

Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic. How about trying scanning instead? Do you have any horror stories caused by un-readable handwriting? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.