Customer Service Tips for the Transportation Industry
How To Provide Top-Notch Quality Customer Service In An Environment You Have Almost No Control Over
Today’s customers and clients expect to be wowed by outstanding customer service. From the old Burger King’s “Have it Your Way” campaign to today’s specialized coffee order culture, customers have been groomed to demand individualized customer service to receive exactly what they want. In an industry where so many factors are outside our control, how do we provide exceptional customer service in transportation?
Top quality customer service can be performed in this chaos that is transportation, and we have four easy tips for you to steal and use yourself.
Work with Qualified Carriers
This is common among a lot of 3PLs, not just us. At LDI we only agree to work with qualified carriers. They go through a validation process so we (and you) know they are a legitimate business. We have a database of qualified carriers, and when our agents find new ones, we provide the paperwork to start the validation process immediately.
Just because a carrier is qualified once doesn’t mean they will always be qualified. Our carriers must work with us regularly to keep their good standing. If we don’t work with a carrier for a while, they fall out of good standing and have to be validated again.
This validation process might sound redundant, but this is our means of connecting serious brokers to qualified carriers. Quality agents working with quality carriers makes everyone’s jobs easier and excellent customer service that much more attainable.
As mentioned before, if we don’t have regular contact with our carriers, we can’t guarantee their quality. Communicating often with your customers is key to maintaining good relationships and therefore quality customer service among transportation pros.
Picking up the phone is the fastest way to resolve any issue that pops up. Don’t be shy to call whoever you need to in order to solve a problem or provide some help.
Also, be respectful of people’s time. If you want to catch up about non-business talk, start with “Is this a good time to talk?” It demonstrates you don’t want to waste their time if they’re swamped, while also showing you’re interested in maintaining a friendly professional relationship.
Another excellent means of communicating without having to talk to people is to use a robust Transportation Management System (TMS) web-based program or app. Scheduling loads, tracking a lane’s status, and invoicing can all be done in a good TMS software. Regularly updating through a TMS is an easy and passive way to maintain top customer service specifically in transportation.
This doesn’t mean become a “Yes” (wo)man, but learning to stop saying “no” is a way to make yourself stand out as a stellar partner. Rather than saying “no” to something, switch it to a “yes” answer. For example, instead of “No, I can’t do that,” say “I’ll see what I can do.” If you know the answer is a hard no anyways, say “No, that can’t be done, but let’s see what else we can do” and present another option. These are called “yes” answers that don’t say yes.
Consider how you feel whenever you hear a “no” answer versus a “yes” answer. A “no” answer stops all progress, and unless one side of the conversation is the confrontational type, it’s usually the end of the discussion. A “yes” answer doesn’t mean someone is shutting a door in your face, but instead it tells you something can’t happen one way, but doesn’t mean it can’t happen another way.
“Yes” answers can turn an angry customer into a customer who was impressed with your willingness to help and is more likely to return despite the original issue.
Know Your Customers and Clients
Know your business acquaintances well. You more than likely work with repeat customers and drivers. Be familiar with what they want: the lanes they prefer, the days they want to work, the kind of loads their trucks can haul or kind of product they need, etc. The more familiar you are with your business acquaintances, the better you can preemptively service them by keeping an eye open for good matches. Looking for opportunities on others’ behalf helps you succeed while– you guessed it– providing top shelf customer service.
These four easy tips can help you achieve a positive reputation when it comes to working with others in this industry. Warehouse workers can handle product carefully, drivers can be safety idols on the road, but damaged goods, delays, and other issues are going to crop up. You don’t have control over those things, but you do have the power to provide customer service that makes people prefer to work with you over the other broker. By showing respect for others concerns and well-being, you’ll be bringing in the business.
What things have you done so others continue to work with your company? Share your own customer service tips with us and the readers to help improve everyone’s daily interaction in the trucking community.