Customer Service: A strategy to improve your supply chain service
Competition in the logistics and supply chain market is more fierce than ever. Factors that differentiate companies from one another become fewer each day, and so companies look to set themselves apart. In order to become more competitive, they look to restructure themselves in more effective ways by using new business models, expanding markets and using new technologies. Apart from these innovations, there is one tendency, that, although not new, has become a very popular competitive advantage: customer service.
Customer service is defined as the solution and fulfilment of clients’ needs, complaints, and doubts before, during and after the purchase of a product or service. This support can make clients’ experience a positive one and help the company retain their loyalty and business. Quality customer service helps to solidify and maintain a company’s reputation, increase sales volume and improve services through the collection of client feedback and comments.
In the past, customer service was considered as a complementary service to a company’s main products, but new tendencies show how the concept has drastically changed. According to the TI firm Gartner, 90% of companies consider customer service an element that helps them to differentiate from competition (Gartner, 2015). Also, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, stated in a report that 26% of executives consider customer service as an essential strategy for their supply chain, showing that the logistics industry is not foreign to these new tendencies (Sutter, 2017).
In the logistics sector, the most recurrent client complaints are late delivery, delivery of incorrect goods or goods of lower quality, delivery of damaged goods or lack of stock. Regardless of the gravity of mistakes, these can affect the client’s perception of a company’s ability to offer reliable logistics services. Lisa Callian, supply chain researcher at Gartner, says: “Customers are influenced by their experience of the supply chain — even in the simplest terms, it’s easy to see that a late delivery can disappoint, whereas an expedited delivery can delight” (Gartner, 2018).
Inferior customer service can affect not only a company’s reputation but the clients’ as well. If a product reaches its delivery point with any defect caused by the supply chain, the provider will usually be to the one to be blamed and not the company in charge of transportation, creating complaints about the efficiency of the supply chain.
For these reasons, many companies specialized in logistics and supply chains have begun to take into account customer service as part of their key improvement strategies. Now, the trend is to give a personalized service that fulfills their clients’ comprehensive needs and expectations regarding quality, efficiency, and care.
Currently, there are strategies for improving customer service:
- Improve relationships with clients: Having a solid relationship with clients is a good way to retain them and to know their needs. Strategic collaboration can result in effective relationships that enhance solutions.
- Keeping track of goods: By keeping constant track of clients’ goods, they will feel confident and will trust the company’s ability to provide quality logistics services.
- Assure fast delivery of goods: Delivering goods on time and in form is the final step to give clients a quality customer service experience and assure client retention.
- Listen to client feedback: Clients appreciate being heard and when their comments have an impact on the company’s By requesting and collecting feedback, companies can identify areas of opportunity and areas for improvement
- Customer-Relationship Management: Known as CRM, these are systems that use data analysis to manage interactions and relations with clients. These tools allow companies to track clients’ needs in order to offer them better, individualized service, as well as additional support.
Clients not only buy services or goods, they buy experiences. That is why at Woodward Logistics we are committed to our clients and strive to deliver the best possible logistics and supply chain logistics experience for their complete satisfaction. We prioritize our clients’ feedback, which informs how we continuously improve and optimize our services.
Gartner. (2015, Febrero 18). Gartner. Retrieved from Gartner Predicts a Customer Experience Battlefield : https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/customer-experience-battlefield/
Gartner. (2018, Abril 18). Gartner. Retrieved from How Your Supply Chain Can Improve the Customer Experience: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/how-your-supply-chain-can-improve-the-customer-experience/
Sutter, B. (2017, Febrero 14). Wasp. Retrieved from 3 Ways to make customer serviceyour best supply chain strategy: http://www.waspbarcode.com/buzz/supply-chain/