The relationship between business and customer is the true foundation of any 3PLs success.
“By developing close relationships with clients and reacting to changes in the market, 3PL firms are giving customers the vision and capability to grow now and in the future” Nigel Wright
Excellent customer service and the ability to pro-actively meet the challenges of the ever changing supply chain give 3PLs a distinctive edge in this highly competitive market.
As we all begin to review 2016 and plan for 2017 it’s a great time to take a look at your customer service.
In my opinion, excellent customer service stems from outstanding performance in four key areas of your business, information technology, delivery solutions, your people and cost.
State of the art WMS allow you to provide customers with transparent, accurate real time data on inventory, stock movement and costs. This touch of a button technology impresses customers providing the ability to solve queries and get answers quickly.
As supply chains become increasingly demanding and customers require pallet, layer, case and single picks WMS provide sophisticated systems that allow you to provide full service solutions.
Cutting edge WMS provide paperless, error proofed processes. This not only looks impressive and reassuring to a customer but also improves overall accuracy and efficiency that becomes visible in excellent KPI’s.
It is not enough to just install a WMS. Frequent changes to the supply chain mean to be progressive you need to be constantly working to improve and expand the capacity of your system.
As B2C services continue to expand with the growth of the e-commerce culture, you need to find creative, cost effective solutions to offer your customers.
Traditional lead-times of 3-5 days are simply not good enough anymore. You need to have reliable next day, same day and even 2 hour delivery solutions. On top of that the end user is demanding full track and trace, flexible delivery slots, parcel shop and click and collect.
To provide the best service you need to be working on solutions to all of these challenges.
Your greatest asset is your workforce. The key to providing the highest level of customer service is excellent staff, who enjoy their job, understand their value, are unafraid to suggest new ideas and improvements and who communicate enthusiastically and professionally with staff and customers alike.
A strong leadership team and a multi skilled workforce are essential.
Attracting and retaining the best quality people should be a key component in your business plan. Good salaries, clear training and development plans, comfortable facilities, clear communication, multi-level involvement in decisions, investment and fun should all play a part in your core values.
Cost remains and always will be a key component in any customer service solution. However customers now place a much higher value on exceptional service and niche solutions. Costs should be flexible and transparent and clearly communicated and documented.
Customer service excellence is the driver of growth for both your customer and for your business. Achieving the highest standards possible should be a major priority for you in 2017.