Companies rely on logistics and transportation providers to get their goods moved and delivered in a timely manner, but some delays and setbacks are inevitable. You can’t control supply chain disruptions, so it pays to focus on what you can control — including customer service.
To stay competitive and build long-term business partnerships, you need to build trust with clients. 24/7, omnichannel, high-quality customer service is a must-have. But what specific services do you need to provide, and how can you improve your overall logistics customer experience?
Key offerings in logistics customer service
Customer service in logistics is about creating long-term relationships and positive experiences that keep your customers coming back to you.
Your customer service efforts should contribute to client retention and bolster trust in your brand. To achieve this goal, it’s essential to provide outstanding service for:
- Product and service inquiries
- Order tracking
- Complaint resolution
- Field guidance
- Shipment requests
- POD retrieval
- Tech assistance
Even if a shipment goes well, lackluster customer service along the way can take an experience from positive to negative, impacting your reputation.
How to improve customer service in logistics
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of logistics. So what can you do to improve it? Here are four key ways to create the best possible logistics customer experience:
1. Offer global, 24/7/365 customer service
It’s challenging to keep up with 24/7 customer service in a global economy, particularly in an industry where clients and vendors are often globally dispersed. However, that very challenge also makes it a necessity — customer satisfaction in logistics starts with being available for clients during their business hours, no matter where they are in the world.
Along with a global presence, it’s important to have multilingual customer service so that language is never an issue.
2. Communicate quickly and completely
The only way to meet customer expectations for speed and transparency is by responding to inquiries quickly with accurate, near real-time information. The faster you can communicate answers, the sooner your team and your clients’ teams can take appropriate actions.
Customer service representatives should be honest if they don’t know the answer to a question, and escalate the inquiry to someone who does. However, clients don’t want to see internal conversations or get passed from one rep to another, so it’s best to keep internal conversations out of email threads.
If you proactively reach out to clients (to give shipment updates, for example), be consistent with when and how you communicate — it builds trust and shows clients that they’re in good hands.
3. Train your employees regularly
Once you’ve acquired a client, customer service will be one of their primary touchpoints with your organization. Because customer service agents act as the voice of your brand, they need to have a deep understanding of your organization’s systems, processes, and core values. In other words, training is vital — and it’s never a one-and-done situation.
Thanks to evolving regulations, supply chain disruptions, and economic shifts, things can change quickly in transportation and logistics. Upskill your customer service team at least annually to ensure everyone from new hires to long-time employees have the same understanding of internal processes and industry trends.
Having an established training program is particularly important when hiring a large batch of new employees — quality is just as important as quantity, so training is a key part of ensuring you have enough staff to support demand.
Learn how DDC FPO helped GLS-US improve their logistics customer service.
4. Provide omnichannel communication
Customer expectations have skyrocketed over the past several years, so a customer service phone number is no longer adequate on its own. It’s best practice to provide omnichannel support, including:
- Email – In addition to being fast and reliable, email allows everyone to keep a record of the conversation and refer back to it when needed.
- Live chat – Chat allows for real-time conversation without needing to jump on the phone, which can save time for both clients and internal teams.
- Text – Particularly important for on-the-go clients, text/SMS allows for real-time answers and order updates. Some offerings allow you to have a two-way conversation, while others are more automation-based.
- Voice – Some things are easier to communicate over the phone, and some customers feel the experience is more “human.” Even as customer service as a whole moves toward digital options like chat, it’s still important to offer over-the-phone support.
If you’re using multiple channels for communication, be sure the experience is still cohesive — no one wants to jump from one channel to another and have to repeat themselves.
Long-term business relationships are worth the customer service effort
It’s well known that acquiring new customers is more challenging — and more costly — than keeping existing customers, and providing outstanding customer service is an important piece of the puzzle.
By offering 24/7 support around the world, communicating effectively, training employees thoroughly and often, and providing omnichannel communication options, you can meet customer expectations and foster long-term business relationships.