Freight Customer Service is of critical importance for both retaining and attracting loyal customers.
Manufacturers, wholesalers, ecommerce & retail companies might focus on the product they sell, but that product still needs to get into their customers hands and shipping is a service.
It’s not enough to have the right range of products in the right sizes, colours, etc. You must also ensure that the product is delivered safely and in a timely manner, that it meets expectations.
You need to be proactive, make the process seem smooth and easy, anticipate problems and course correct where you can.
To do all this effectively you must have real time visibility on your data and the reporting analytics to glean insights and produce actionable outcomes in a continuous improvement methodology.
Supply Chain Systems for Fast Data Analysis
In order to have quick access to your data, to agilely respond to whatever comes up during the day or week, you need to have the right systems in place.
Systems such as:
- A centralised multi carrier FMS (Freight Management System) that can economically price the shipment of your customers orders, as well as providing information on delivery times.
- The ability to display that freight pricing and ETD (Estimated Time of Delivery) information at the time of purchase on your ecommerce website or in your WMS (Warehouse Management System) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. Ensuring both your staff (Logistics, Accounts, Customer Service and Sales teams) and Customers can view this information in a timely manner.
- Central Tracking i.e., across all carriers, within your FMS system with scanning events available for your staff to view to assist with Freight Enquiries.
- Tracking that can be brought back into your other Supply Chain Systems.
- Tracking Alerts for Customers that can be sent via email or on electronic invoices.
- Electronic POD (Proof of Delivery) and Delivery Status data and reports.
Further, it’s best if you can provide interactive, real time Dashboard reporting on POD / DIFOT (Direct In Full On Time) and tracking data, as well as tracking on the performance of your customer service team and your Drivers or 3rd party carriers on both Delivery & Freight Customer Service KPIs.
Freight Automation Benefits
Apart from the benefit of collecting, organising, and analysing your data for optimisation of Freight Customer Service Management, Systems obviously provide automation benefits as well.
The improved speed of related tasks not only makes your Customer Service processes more productive and efficient they enable you to leverage the saved resources: time and staff, in higher level activities.
Getting back to your customer quickly with feedback on their delivery enquiries is critical, even when that feedback is the issue is unresolved. Feedback lets the customer know that you are working on the problem, you haven’t forgotten. If it’s a quick fix to the problem it is of course even better.
Automation of scanning events, ensures that your staff can also quickly track the consignment on its journey. Email alerts to the customer enable them to proactively chase that information themselves and be reassured that the parcel is on its way.
Unifying your communication across multiple carriers on the one platform means that it’s all there at the operator’s fingertips to capture all relevant information for each customer, each carrier, branch etc., no information slips through the cracks with a purpose-built workflow, and they can quickly obtain the right information as it’s all there on the one central system.
Freight Customer Service Team
Having a highly experienced freight customer service team that works across all 4 modes of transport, across all industries and is managed by logistics experts is also paramount to operating a superior customer service solution. Having staff who have the right connections with the right people at the third-party carrier’s Distribution Centre or Head or State Office is important to hasten the resolution on the query and to get a positive response.
The Freight industry is a complex industry, and it takes years to build up the appropriate experience. It’s worth investing in the right people, or the right freight management provider. Afterall, it doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, your products are, your manufacturing, or suppliers, if you can’t get the goods delivered to your customer’s satisfaction it will reflect poorly on your company and products.
Software systems go a long way to assisting with this of course, but you also need the right people, the right workflows, the right IP for best processes across a range of freight profiles. Having all parts of the equation at optimal levels will help you to springboard over your competition, ensuring you have a great reputation, great reviews, and a growing, loyal customer base.
Ensuring you have the right carrier mix, that aligns with your products, what we call your freight profile is of course a core part of this, but we’ve covered this in detail in articles relating to our freight auditing and freight review processes and we would encourage you to have a look at those broader topics as they pertain to your freight customer service management.
If you would like to learn more about our Carrier Check: Freight Enquiry solution; a combination of our expert Freight Customer Service team and our bespoke Freight Customer Service system, please contact us for a live demo and discussion. We would be happy to explore how our solution can help your business.