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CX in Logistics

CX in Logistics

Providing Visibility, Transparency, Honesty, Responsiveness, Convenience, and Empathy Go a Long Way

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Throughout the holiday season, the delivery of millions of packages of varying shapes, sizes, and weights between businesses and consumers represents a massive task. Throw in other challenges, such as weather issues or emergencies, supply chain uncertainties, and labor shortages, and organizations can watch years of goodwill go down the drain due to the delay, loss, or damage of a package or shipment.

That is why all parties involved in the movement of goods need to ensure they provide excellent CX, which incorporates several key elements, including visibility, transparency, honesty, responsiveness, convenience, and empathy. A good CX strategy will incorporate each of these elements, whether engaging with customers, suppliers, or partners.

Visibility: When goods are being transported around the world, it is important to ensure that all affected parties are aware of where the item is along that journey. This information can be used for several tasks, from estimating shipping and delivery times, to identifying bottlenecks, to assessing potential future issues (such as many packages hitting a distribution center when a large group of workers may be out).

Visibility has become table stakes; most customers will not buy from or ship with a company that cannot provide visibility into a package’s progress. Further, it is important to ensure that the information is updated frequently and is accurate.

Transparency: One of the most challenging tasks with shipping and logistics is balancing the desire to be the fastest with the reality of moving goods in a physical world where things do not always go according to plan. That is why it is important to be transparent about the realistic time frame for shipping and delivery of a product, and include specific caveats if they are likely to apply. For example, promising two-day shipping when it is clear a storm of the century is bearing down on a major transportation hub is foolhardy: if a package is delivered on time, the company is simply meeting expectations, and if it is late, the delivery promise has been broken, which will negatively impact customer sentiment.

Honesty: Similarly, customers expect an honest accounting of delays, package loss, or package damage. Accidents happen, and ultimately, the customer simply wants an honest answer about why their shipment has not arrived on time or intact. Providing false explanations, or simply refusing to acknowledge the issue is a sure-fire way of pushing the customer into the arms of another competitor.

Responsiveness: One of the key complaints that customers have across all industries is that organizations are not responsive to their problems, concerns, issues, or suggestions. With logistics, a lack of responsiveness can be the difference between a very satisfied customer and one that will never return. Customers understand that issues happen, sometimes under the control of a company, and sometimes at the whim of Mother Nature. By addressing these issues proactively, or immediately after an issue is spotted, it can help soften the blow of any bad news. A lack of responsiveness, however, is often the key reason why customers will not give your company a second chance.

Convenience: Customers today demand self-service options to manage the initiation, monitoring, and, if necessary, return of package shipments. While most shippers provide the ability to ship and track from mobile devices, applications, and websites, it is also important to consider integrating other channels, including SMS, webchat, and social media sites, to ensure a friction-free experience across all channels. As customers migrate to other channels for marketing, support, and sales, they should also be provided with a simple and convenient way to manage package logistics.

Empathy:  The biggest element in providing good CX with shipping and logistics is empathy for the customer’s situation. Customers expect that customer service representatives share their information across a service provider’s enterprise allowing them to receive consistent communication across channels, and ensure that if a problem is occurring, they know the full story and can demonstrate empathy for the situation. People do not remember specific situations, but they remember how those situations made them feel, and an empathetic response can go a long way to ensuring that customers feel cared about and valued.

All these elements require significant commitment from both people and systems to make sure that logistics operations and the relevant status information are in sync. On the back end, operational and physical logistics tasks need to be monitored and analyzed to identify any potential bottlenecks or issues in advance (such as pending labor shortages, weather impacts, or accidents), so that systems can be updated with the proper customer alerts.

CRM and logistics systems must make relevant customer data and back-office shipping and fulfilment data able to be accessed by not only customer service agents, but via automated bots and systems that support self-service queries. Key to this strategy is the establishment of software that can serve as a single source of truth for shipping information that is updated frequently via relevant external systems, and has proper validation controls to ensure that the information is accurate. Automation should also be used to identify package status states that require follow-up, such as damage notifications, significant delays in shipping, or other issues, so that customers can be kept in the loop.

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