Customer Service and Logistics: How Are They Related?
Like all companies, logistics companies need to think carefully about the ways they’re treating their customers. While you may understand the importance of logistics, you may not understand the value of quality customer service—a key factor in business success.
There are many incentives to improve customer service within the logistics industry. This guide will show you the importance of connecting customer service and logistics and how to practically achieve great logistics customer service.
What Is The Connection Between Customer Service and Logistics?
Good customer service ensures that a logistics company has customers in the first place. You might be the very best at supply chain management. You might even engage in activities like reverse logistics. But a low level of customer service will make it much harder to communicate your merits, even if you’ve decided to get 800 numbers for business.
Customer service is a key concern for any business, not just logistics service providers. It’s become a fact that good customer service is a key consideration for today’s customers – and it doesn’t take much for them to abandon a business entirely.
Where Does Customer Service Come Into Play In Logistics Management?
Customer service affects various factors of the buying experience, including the cost of the service, the quality of the product, and the speed of the delivery. The final stages of the delivery have several customer service concerns, too.
Once an order has been placed, good logistics management means providing your customers with various updates and progress reports. These help a customer feel like you respect their time.
Of course, the delivery provided by your logistics service must go smoothly. Logistics companies should make sure an object is delivered on time and undamaged. Failing to do this is a good way to reduce customer satisfaction.
You can go the extra mile by (where necessary) offering after-sale maintenance to your customers. By considering customer needs like this, you’ll make your customers much happier. In a way, it’s like a convolutional neural network definition, intertwining your knowledge of customer service with your knowledge of logistics to benefit your business.
What Other Benefits Does Good Customer Service Offer Logistics Companies?
Of course, putting effort into the customer service experience benefits your company in other ways besides short-term customer happiness. The most obvious is that it doesn’t just attract customers; it allows you to boost customer loyalty as well.
If a customer is happy with the service you provide (before, during, and after delivery), it’s likely that they’ll spend more money with you going forward. This means that there’s both a reduction in operating costs and an increase in customer spending.
This typically happens because (in many cases) retaining a customer is cheaper than attracting a new one. Conversely, a minor boost in customer retention can lead to a significant increase in profits. But you won’t retain customers if their experiences with you are poor.
Of course, you’ll still want to attract customers—and luckily, good customer service also enables you to do that. If customers have a good experience with you, they’re likely to leave positive reviews and tell friends and family about what you have to offer.
This, in turn, attracts more customers to your business. These new customers will, if you’re doing things right, attract additional customers themselves. Pairing good business operations with good customer service is a surefire way to keep customers happy and give your business a significant edge over your competitors.
If attracting customers is a key concern for you, make sure to research search trends to further increase your visibility.
How Can I Improve Customer Service In My Logistics Business?
Besides obvious things like good warehousing and choosing the right shippers, there are plenty of other ways to combine customer service and logistics effectively. Here are some of the best:
Improve your communications
In many ways, customer service is simply about talking to the people who buy from you. The trick (of course) is considering what this communication looks like.
For a start, take a look at how quickly you respond to customer queries. If a customer emails you, how soon do you reply to them? Try to answer customer queries within an hour of receiving them.
If this sounds like a tall order, look at how you manage customer emails. You may need some kind of system to sort emails, assign them to specific employees, and track their status. This will help you treat customer queries with the respect they deserve.
You should be prepared to message customers even if, say, there’s a delay in order processing—or if there isn’t any news at all. In the latter case, tell them you’re looking into the matter and that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible.
Make sure you actually do this, too—and ask yourself questions like ‘What is touch base email?’ when speaking to customers.
Look at your communication channels
While you’ll be accustomed to speaking to customers via phone or email, there are plenty of other ways for people to communicate nowadays. A good logistics company will at least consider these when looking to bolster its customer service offerings.
Social media is an obvious choice here. Twitter and Facebook allow people to reach out to you very easily and reflect today’s customer demand. Setting up profiles on these kinds of social media platforms can make communication (and customer service) much more intuitive and allow you to optimize your marketing budget. They may also provide handy metrics to track business success.
If you prefer to focus on your website instead, you can use technologies like live chat to allow customers to reach out to you. These are tremendously intuitive, and they can eliminate some of the anxiety that surrounds phone calls.
Chatbots can also be used in conjunction with live chat. These allow customers to get answers to common queries without an employee’s involvement and act as a kind of task outsourcing for your customer service team.
Don’t be prepared to rule out social media entirely, though. It can be an invaluable tool in the realm of B2B lead generation.
Improve your supply chain visibility
One of the biggest customer expectations nowadays is the ability to track their order’s progress. You can provide a real-time tracking service via your website, which they can refer to once an order is placed. You can also send SMS notifications to customers to keep them apprised of what’s happening.
Today, logistics companies can also provide impressive amounts of information with IoT (Internet of Things) trackers. These don’t just transmit an order’s location; they can provide information on weather, traffic conditions, and even temperature. Providing this kind of information and forecasting (where possible) is a great way to keep customers in the loop.
Scrutinize your own operations
It’s always important to consider if your logistics activities can be improved. Take a look at how a customer’s order gets sent out via your logistics process. Are there unnecessary steps during order fulfillment that you can remove (e.g., in areas like material handling?
Specific stages like picking and packing may also have room for improvement, particularly if employees are struggling to find the right product in a timely manner.
You might want to re-examine the routes and methods of transportation you make use of. While it’s easy to stick to what’s tried and tested, regularly analyzing what’s available to you lets you make the right choice for your customers, which they’re very likely to appreciate.
You should also take other steps to curb supply chain disruptions and look at aspects of logistics such as procurement.
Your decisions here can be shaped by what the customer actually needs. For example, if delivery times aren’t a concern, you can make economies on the actual delivery process. If customers need it quickly, then you can spend a bit more to increase the overall delivery speed. Giving customers these options (where available) is another great way to bolster your reputation amongst your customer base.
While customer service optimization may be something you’ve thought about, properly uniting customer service and logistics provides an essential point of differentiation from other companies. Thinking about customer care like this helps you to retain customers instead of chasing new ones. That being said, it also makes it more likely that new customers will seek you out.
Good customer service in logistics is about communicating with customers on a clear, regular basis. Companies should strive to provide their customers with as much information as they can before, during, and after delivery takes place. Taking such a thoughtful approach is an excellent strategy for achieving a clear competitive advantage.
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About the author
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform and one of the leading computer telephony integration products for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.