Customer service is an integral part of any successful business. A consumer can discern a lot about a company based on how they value and treat their customers. A quality business must be willing to engage with its customers to provide the best service possible in a way that helps build a partnership between them that is beneficial to both sides. In shipping and logistics, this partnership is especially critical. Because LTL freight shipping is a complicated industry and many different unforeseen problems and issues can arise at any time, it is crucial that the carrier responsible for your shipment values customer service and is willing and able to work with you to identify and solve any problems that occur in a timely way to keep your supply chain moving. A beneficial partnership with a shipping company that shares your values and goals can improve your performance and provide a logistics advantage to help you grow and flourish as a business. An LTL transportation provider that offers excellent customer service should meet the following criteria.
Excellent customer service should:
Be Communicative – As in any business, your shipping provider should be open and communicative regarding your shipments. A superior carrier should provide updates regarding your shipment, letting you know when a driver will arrive, when the freight is delivered, and any other updates requested by the customer.
Be Responsive – Customer service begins with communication, and that means being regularly available to their customers to receive information and requests about the services they are providing. Lines of communication may vary, from help-lines and text updates to email and direct chat windows. Still, no matter how communication is achieved, it must be prompt and timely so that problems are not neglected or allowed to worsen.
Possess Expertise – Because of the complex nature of LTL freight, any shipping or logistics company you do business with should be an expert in the field. In order to provide excellent customer service, you must understand the intricacies of the industry in which you work. All freight is different and requires different strategies and stipulations to ensure the best service is provided. A solid LTL carrier should have the knowledge and expertise to navigate the unique nature of your shipping situation to meet your needs appropriately.
Be Transparent – Providing transparency to shippers regarding the status of their shipment is an essential part of carrier customer service. A good shipping provider will communicate problems as soon as they hear about them in order to keep the shipper in the loop so that solutions can be crafted collaboratively and clearly.
Be Educational – To formulate strong business partnerships that can grow and build over time, an LTL provider should educate shippers on the best practices and solutions for their situation. This relationship is also a two-way street. The more a carrier knows about the shipping needs of a business and the more a business knows about shipping solutions, the better collaborative decisions can be made about how best to move the necessary goods.
Proactive – A carrier should anticipate potential problems before they arise and actively engage with the customer to ensure nothing slips through the cracks during a shipment. If logistics issues occur, contingencies must already be in place to adapt and overcome them in an efficient and cost-effective way.
Be Capable – Quality customer service is not simply about intent; it is also about capabilities. A good logistics or shipping business must have the structure in place to achieve the goals listed above. That means they must have the technological infrastructure to handle requests, provide updates, and communicate solutions to the customer. Customer-facing technological applications that can give up-to-date information are a necessity in today’s shipping environment, as well as knowledgeable experts to address and solve any problem that may arise during the course of shipping.
Build Relationships – As in any industry, customer service is the key to forming long-term business relationships. Achieving this means building upon past experiences and striving for consistency. A high-caliber carrier should establish relationships built on trust and shared values and expectations, creating an environment in which communication is open and problems are anticipated and swiftly resolved.
LTL shipping is fraught with unforeseen problems that can arise. Weather obstructions, vehicle issues, customs delays, logistics concerns, and other hindrances can affect a shipment as it travels from origin to destination. The best way to quickly and efficiently overcome these obstacles is through quality customer service. When selecting an LTL provider, it is critical to consider these customer service factors to ensure you are going into business with a carrier that can get your cargo from point A to point B in a smooth and timely fashion.