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5 Ways Customer Service Should Help You Improve Your Supply Chain Management

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Global Supply Chains are Growing Increasingly Complex — Here’s How Your Logistics Provider’s Customer Service Can Make All the Difference

It wasn’t long ago that supply chain and logistics focused on delivering products on-time, in-full, and to the right place. Today, these functions cover a much broader range of objectives, all of which are centered on enhancing organizational growth and competitiveness. As the world’s supply chains have become lengthier and more intertwined, shippers are feeling the pressure. In fact, 70% of companies consider their supply chains “very complex” or “extremely complex,” according to Geodis’ 2017 Supply Chain Worldwide Survey.

“The supply chain function has started its mutation to position itself as a crucial lever for business performance,” Geodis reports, noting that companies must also effectively cope with the challenges of a dynamic market environment, adapt to changeable customer expectations on quality, and improve their capability to reduce delivery times to customers. “As a consequence,” the company concludes, “respondents also position the need to develop a reliable logistics infrastructure as a major business requirement.”

At DB Schenker, we keep our finger on the pulse of the industry, and we are continually honing our offerings to accommodate the dynamic changes taking place in today’s supply chain environment. “It all starts with the customer experience, and improving that experience,” says Dan Craghead, Vice President of DB Schenker’s Central Customer Operations. “At its very core, this mission is rooted in staffing, ensuring that we have the right individuals with the proper skills sets and attitudes to manage our phone and electronic communications.”

With customer service professionals properly aligned with the right processes and directions for servicing clients, greater attention can be given to enhancing customer service offerings.

Here, Craghead breaks down the five things your logistics provider’s customer service can do to help you facilitate better supply chain management in a dynamic environment.

Your logistics provider’s Customer Service should:

  1. Be focused on increasing your satisfaction & engagement.
    Your logistics provider should have an ongoing goal of improving customer service and the customer experience.  This ensures that all employees are aligned with delivering the same goal and message to you. This all starts with the first interaction you have with your logistics provider. You should ensure that your logistics provider is focused on increasing customer satisfaction at every interaction including speaking on the phone, picking up the shipment, receiving a billing statement or accessing their transactional web tools.  “Whether a customer calls in to one of our branches, interacts with us online, via on-line chat or sends an email transaction to us,” says Craghead, “one of our primary goals is to make sure that, after that transaction’s done, the customer has a more favorable opinion of DB Schenker than he or she did prior to the call.  This contributes to increasing customer satisfaction and creating a positive customer experience.”
  2. Offer multiple ways to contact them.
    Not everyone wants to make a phone call, nor does everyone want to type up an email. Knowing this, leading logistics providers need to make it easy for vendors and customers to contact them for any inquiry.  They should offer multiple customer service touchpoints including phone, mobile, on-line, chat and social media, as  that clients can use any one of these methods to reach sales, customer service, accounting, and other departments quickly and seamlessly. “We make our employees aware of just how key their individual roles are in this process,” says Craghead, “and how important it is for them to go above and beyond on every call.”
  3. Be part of your team.
    You want a logistics provider that will truly partner with your company, always have your best interest in mind, and is invested in your success. “Find a provider that will meet and exceed your key performance indicator (KPI) measures, and that has your goals in mind,” says Craghead, “and one that uses a proactive communication approach that keeps you in the loop and well informed about what’s going on in your supply chain.”
  4. Create a cohesive experience across branches and countries.
    By their very nature, logistics providers have operations and service offerings that are geographically disbursed. However, when you visit a Starbucks while on vacation, you expect the same quality and experience as you enjoy back home, don’t you? To ensure a similarly seamless experience, DB Schenker strives to have the “best of the best” in customer service across all its locations … not just at headquarters. “We hire and train for the right skill sets and the right values,” says Craghead. “Above all, our staff knows to focus on the customer, and on making his or her job easier and painless.”
  5. Train its CSRs to look out for your pain points – and solve them.
    When you infuse sales aptitude into a customer service team, the end result is a group that is better aware of new or existing products and services that can best serve the customer’s interests. A company that relies on a logistics provider to import goods into one region of the world, for instance, may not be aware of that provider’s other key offerings and/or geographic reach. “When customer service agents are sales-savvy,” says Craghead, “they can do a better job of addressing customer pain points and offering in-house solutions to those pressing issues.” 

Now more than ever, the supply chain industry is dynamic, constantly changing. But when you work with a logistics provider focused on improving customer experience in these five key areas, the result is better supply chain management – and a better bottom line.

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