A professional, branded Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) will impress your clients and reduce your customer service costs
What is an Advance Shipping Notice (A.S.N.)?
An A.S.N. is an electronic notice sent to the receiver by the sender via email notifying them of the consignments details in advance of the consignment’s arrival.
The purpose of an A.S.N. is to provide the receiver with advice as to when and with whom, (which carrier), the consignment was dispatched. Indeed more sophisticated examples of an A.S.N. have other details such as:
- the consignment note number
- the receivers’ order number
- and even a URL so that the receiver can check on the tracking details of the consignment in real time.
This URL feature is dependent upon the carrier’s ability to provide a URL with tracking details. Nowadays all of the major carriers will have this capability. I have shown below a sample ASN created for Novelli. This ASN is the new type – an HTML email automatically sent after the sender manifests the consignment.
What are the benefits of an ASN for the receiver and the sender?
Using an ASN provides these 5 main benefits for both the sender and receiver:
1. Dispatching certainty
A receiver is immediately notified of the dispatched consignment and therefore they now have transparency about the approximate delivery date/time. An automated ASN with carrier & consignment details that is sent at the time of manifesting lets the client know the order is on its way. For those clients that are on the go and use multiple devices such as smart phones and tablets, an SMS ASN can be of great benefit for providing instantaneous alerts.
2. Real Time tracking
With the URL, the receiver can specifically track the consignments progress if it is time critical. They can also contact the carrier directly or the sender if they wish to get further detailed information about the consignment’s status in the event of a brewing problem.
The sender also receives significant benefit in the clients’ perceptions by sending a professional, branded and automatic ASN like the sample shown below. The client will receive the impression that the supplier is proactive, transparent, helpful and technologically savvy. This can help cement the relationship and drive future sales.
4. Customer Service efficiency gains
The ASN will significantly reduce the number and nature of calls coming into the sender’s customer service department. They know the consignment is on its way; they know approximately when it is due to arrive; they can track this through the carrier’s website and be aware of any delays. If a consignment reveals through the ASN to be overdue they can also call the carrier directly which mitigates the number of inbound calls to the senders call centre. Having all the details at hands makes resolving any late or not full consignments easier for all concerned, whether they choose to call the carrier or the sender.
5. Potential sales or other communication opportunities
An ASN can be set up to include an attachment. The types of attachments you might want to add could be:
An ASN is a simple, but powerful tool to keep your customers informed, reduce customer service labour, and is something that all modern and proactive distributors should look to use within their supply chain.
Do you think our list above is missing anything; please email us and let us know.