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24/7 Logistics Customer Support: Necessity or Nice to Have?

May 11, 2022 9:00:00 AM

Providing high-quality customer support is vital for any business, regardless of size or industry. Within the past few years, emphasis on customer service has grown — 61% of companies are increasing their investment in support, particularly omnichannel support. 

Reliable customer support is even more important if your business operates 24/7, working on tight timelines with shippers located worldwide. But how much does offering around-the-clock support matter in the larger scheme of transportation and logistics customer service priorities?

Pros vs. cons: Do the benefits of providing 24/7 support really outweigh the challenges?

Offering 24/7 support can be a big undertaking for any business. Hiring enough in-house team members for around-the-clock coverage is costly and time-consuming, and it doesn’t always enable easy scaling for peak seasons. 

However, providing 24/7 customer support is worth the effort in most cases because it’s what your shippers expect. 

For many customers, not being able to get in touch with customer support raises a major red flag and demonstrates a lack of concern for their needs. Especially in the freight economy, where winning recurring business requires building and nurturing relationships, you can’t afford to give an impression of being unprofessional or “out-of-touch.”

You know it’s time to offer 24/7 support when:

  • You often receive support requests outside of your regular business hours.
  • Your customer support team struggles to meet goals for KPIs like time to resolution (TTR) and first response time (FRT).
  • Unresolved customer support tickets are causing delayed payments and other bottlenecks.

Time to resolution is a particularly important customer service KPI. If a customer has to wait hours or days to resolve their issue, they’re likely to seek another company that can better meet their expectations. When your support team is on call 24/7, they can resolve issues sooner — and average resolution time will drop, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

In-house vs. outsourcing: How to provide 24/7 support

To provide customer support coverage anytime, anywhere, companies have two main options: Expanding existing in-house teams or outsourcing to a third-party provider. Let’s go through the pros and cons of each.

Expanding existing in-house customer support operations

Pros: 

  • Existing team members can train new team members directly.
  • It’s easy to monitor operations and incorporate feedback quickly.

Cons: 

  • You’ll need to increase your budget for hiring, training, space, and technology.
  • It can be challenging to find qualified talent, especially in today’s tight job market.
  • To cover all time zones, you’ll either need to utilize night, weekend, and holiday shifts in addition to traditional business hours or expand your operations into new regions — both of which can be quite costly and come with logistical challenges.

Outsourcing to a third-party customer support provider

Pros: 

  • This option is almost always more affordable than expanding in-house operations, especially if you can secure a fixed rate.
  • You can quickly scale up or down without the recruitment and onboarding challenges. 
  • Third-party providers often have access to multilingual talent so that you can meet the language needs of your global clients. 

Cons: 

  • Many third-party providers lack freight and logistics expertise.
  • Working with an outsourced team requires a commitment to communication.
  • Cyber risk may be an issue without the proper cybersecurity measures in place.

Luckily, most of the potential hesitations of outsourcing are easily pacified by carefully selecting a partner that meets your needs. In general, look for a partner that:

  • Offers multilingual, omnichannel customer support for product and service inquiries, order tracking, POD retrieval, and other common inquiries
  • Understands that customer support is not just about solving problems but also about building long-term relationships
  • Has a proven track record of industry expertise and experience
  • Demonstrates a commitment to communication and trust
  • Meets or exceeds your cybersecurity standards

Conclusion

24/7 support isn’t just a competitive advantage in today's supply chain — it’s a requirement.

If you’re looking to offer 24/7 customer support, leveraging an entirely outsourced team or complementing your in-house team with outsourced professionals are cost-effective solutions. With the increased capacity, you can remain focused on your core competency while building out your support offerings for your customers globally — without going through extensive hiring processes or worrying about inflation, onboarding, or scaling.

As you explore your options, strive for a support team that prioritizes relationship-building, has extensive industry experience, offers multilingual support, and helps streamline your processes.

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