Customer service is a term that we all know, but what does this look like in the logistics industry? One thing is for sure, customer service is the backbone of logistics. Strong relationships between shipper and provider breeds successful and longstanding relationships.
Customer service in our industry comes with a few layers. When a shipper is using a carrier, they are accepting that vendor into their brand and as an extension, their customer service experience. When a shipment has been delivered late or delivers a sub-par experience, that experience is not only tied to the product itself, but also to the carrier and shipper. While it is important to use a carrier that can handle the product correctly and alert the shipper when an issue arises, it is even more critical that the carrier is proactive in doing so.
Carriers, at the basic level, should satisfy the delivery requirements of their customers. The way they handle shipments and shipping mishaps is a necessary factor in a successful customer experience. And it is not a question of if a package will arrive late, be misplaced, or even damaged, it is when. How the carrier chooses to respond to these issues says a lot about the carrier’s reflection on the shipper’s customer service. Another facet to consider is how often these issues arise and their actions in righting their wrongs. The claims process should be simple and straightforward and the customer or third-party logistics (3PL) filing the claim should have the capability to expedite the process when needed.
3PLs are another crucial entity of the customer service experience. Unlike carriers and shippers, they offer a variety of complimentary services. Due to the nature of working closely with their customers, 3PLs should prioritize their clients’ success and ensure they are taken care of every step of the way. Whether it is through providing experts who can oversee everyday logistics operations, negotiating rates with carriers, scheduling shipments, handling claims or mishaps and more, customer service is at the heart of 3PLs even more so than shippers and carriers. And it has to be. Without putting forth their best effort for their client, 3PLs would not be able to exist.
Excellent customer service is critical to a successful experience for all parties involved in the life cycle of a shipment. It can make or break a company. Logistics corporations need to ensure they are not only meeting customer service guarantees but exceeding them. If the customer feels as though their needs are not being met, they will find a provider who can fulfil them. Ultimately, customer service in the logistics sector is what distinguishes a great company from a bad one.