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 are groomed to demand individualized customer service. We all want to receive exactly what we want. In an industry where so many factors are outside our control, how do freight brokers provide exceptional customer service?
Top quality customer service in transportation can be performed in this chaos, and we have four tips for you to use.
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 process might sound redundant, but this is our way to connect serious brokers and 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. In supply chain and logistics, communicating often is key to maintaining good relationships and quality customer service.
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). Scheduling loads, tracking a lane’s status, and invoicing can all be done in a good TMS software. Regularly update through a TMS to easily and passively deliver top customer service specific to transportation and logistics.
This doesn’t mean become a “Yes” (wo)man, but learning to stop saying “no” makes you stand out as a stellar partner. Rather than say “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 no, say “No, that can’t be done, but let’s see what else we can do.” Then present another option. These are “yes” answers that don’t actually say yes.
Consider how you feel whenever you hear a “no” answer versus a “yes” answer. A “no” answer stops all progress. 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 someone who was impressed with your willingness to help. Those customer’s are 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 kind of loads their trucks haul, 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 will 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 the pinnacle of safety, 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.