Providing a superior customer experience can be the secret to your 3PL's success
Meaningful customer relationships are central to the success of Third-Party Logistics warehouses. And the demand to provide superior customer support is now just as relevant before you win a new customer as it is to retaining your customer throughout their lifecycle– especially with the rise of competition.
In today’s marketplace, this really shouldn’t be a huge surprise with the surging growth of ecommerce vendors and web-connected smartphones.
Consumers now expect a near-limitless array of products, choices, and personal delivery options. What’s more, they have also grown to expect a fantastic customer experience at every single touchpoint of their buying journey. And if they aren’t satisfied with a specific vendor–the ease of finding a new one is as easy as a click of a mouse or swipe of a finger.
Many ecommerce and retail clients are already feeling the pressure to support this new level of consumer expectations. But it will also have a significant impact on 3PLs. An impact that will affect just about every employee working in your operation.
Arguably one of the most impacted groups will be front-line customer service reps. As the primary contacts for your clients–and their customers–reps are expected to perform at a higher level than even before. Flawless customer service during every interaction is now the norm and not the exception.
While the pressure to bring superior customer support may seem challenging, it also brings many opportunities to positively impact your warehouse operation and change how you do business from the line workers, sales teams, and front office staff.
You might be wondering how this can make sense when the average warehouse picker, packer and shipper does all of their work inside of your warehouse–without ever having any contact with the ultimate recipient of your clients’ products. And, because your line workers never interface with customers directly, they may believe that their daily efforts really don’t matter all that much to the ultimate recipient of the product. But nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that every warehouse employee has a tremendous impact on the final consumer experience.
Each worker’s ability to perform efficiently helps ensure that orders are fulfilled promptly and then delivered quickly. Their efforts to operate with total accuracy reduces errors–and enables your 3PL to track down any wayward shipments after they go out. And their commitment to handling your warehouse customers’ brand image with the care it deserves will ensure that the final recipient will receive their order exactly the way they expect it, and your customer demands.
In short, while many warehouse workers may not have any direct contact with an end recipient, the truth is, in today’s B2C-focused world, almost every task performed is ultimately a customer touchpoint. In the end, every employee should deal with every item they pick, pack, and prepare for shipment as though the final recipient was standing right there in front of them.
And finally, the new demand for a superior customer experience will have a major impact on your salesforce as well. They should be 100% aware of its importance to every one of their retail and ecommerce prospects. In fact, a 3PL’s reputation for superior customer service could become the single reason why these prospects will choose your 3PL over one of your competitors.
The ability of a 3PL’s salesforce to know, embrace,and use this insight to their advantage can set your warehouse apart from the competition. In addition, supporting all of management’s efforts to educate and assure workers, customer service reps, and everyone else working within the four walls of a warehouse will reap the benefits of its critical importance when it comes time to closing a deal. Sales reps should gather tangible metrics detailing your 3PL’s prowess, along with compelling case studies, real-world brand stories and anything else they can find to corroborate your track record of providing superior customer service.
These materials, and potential use of Big Data your warehouse is already collecting, could become the key differentiators between yourself and your competition when looking to impress new business. Showing that your 3PL truly understands your prospects’ most pressing pain points today – and can provide their desired solution – can often help tip the scale when a prospect is making a decision.
As you have seen, the new demand to provide a superior customer experience will be a defining factor in 2018 in every aspect of your organization. It will be critically important that every warehouse worker understands how valuable they are to the business and how their roles and levels of commitment help drive customer satisfaction. Not only to the final recipient, but to your 3PL’s customers, the long-term viability of your entire organization–and, by extension, their own jobs. It is not an overstatement to say that 3PLs who struggle to provide a superior customer experience on a consistent basis will almost certainly struggle to survive in this new era.
It is essential, therefore, that every worker in your warehouse understands their role, owner expectations–and how vital each and every one of them are to the overall success of your organization.
Access Extensiv's 2018 State of the Third-Party Logistics Industry Report
We hope you found our tips and tactics for dealing with the pressure of providing a superior customer experience to be helpful for your 3PL’s circumstances. Read the full report to learn the emerging industry trends and five opportunities you can use to grow your 3PL warehouse.
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