Darren Matthews, Business Development Analyst for WiseTech Global, suggests listening to the people who matter most.
“Fact: All customers are idiots! They
constantly call in with questions and become frustrated when they can’t get
answers. They don’t understand the time difference between here and Brazil or
that I can’t get their copy of that POD until 4pm. They just blame me every
time for their delayed cargo. They just don’t get it!”
Of course customers are not idiots, but the view here expresses how some
of your staff might see them. Such a view can only lead to one outcome: a poor
customer experience. Paying close attention to customer complaints is a
leadership “best practice.” Here’s an even better practice: Pay closer
attention to staff complaints about customers. Few things say more about an
organization’s culture and character than employees’ complaints about the
clients they serve.
The “Customer Experience” is ingrained into many industries already, and
while they may not always get it right, the retail, telecommunications, and
even tourism industries, are investing time and effort into enhancing the
customer experience. Of course “a happy customer buys more,” and statistics
show that 80% of customers will abandon a retail purchase if they have to wait
more than 5 minutes for assistance. So why should the logistics industry be
viewed any differently? Ultimately, every customer in every industry wants
accuracy of service delivered in a timely manner by knowledgeable staff.
Of course, in the technological times we live, the fallout from poor
customer service is reflected online through social media. 51% of Facebook
users expect a response to their complaints within a day, and 52% of Twitter
users expect one within a 2 hour period! It stands to reason that if customers
are using technology to make their complaints known, then we ought to use
technology to prevent the complaint in the first place.
Some of today’s leading Transport Management Systems contain the ability
to define entire Customer SOP’s into the Workflow engine. Through this process,
not only do you list each step, you also define how, when, and by who each step
is performed. By working in collaboration with your customers you are able to
scope out every detail of their requirements and put this power in the hands of
your software where it can guide your staff through every step. Fewer mistakes
occur in the life of a job file, and each task is executed correctly. These
SOP’s can be different for every client, and your software should be
intelligent enough to look at the job file that is being created and recognize
what rules to apply based on the information supplied. The more sophisticated
Workflow toolkits allow you to build a high level of automation into each of
the steps. No longer will your staff have to remember where to send the booking
confirmation; your software automatically delivers it to the right recipient on
time, every time. The same goes for arrival notices, invoices, and all other
documents your staff must manually generate. If we can provide our customers
with the right information at the right time, whether good news or bad, we
eliminate many of the complaints and criticisms received.
So we have saved your staff time and kept your clients updated with
their all-important cargo, all without having to lift a finger. But what about
the other staff complaint (mentioned above) regarding delays due to time-zone
differences? A single-database solution is the answer to this issue. Bringing
all of your global offices into a single database where every aspect of freight
movement is recorded and shared removes the delay in waiting for overnight
updates. Your colleague in Caracas, for example, won’t have to be in his office
to see if his cargo was delivered. All information updates in each office in
real-time, meaning no matter whether you sit in Sydney or Sao Paolo, everybody
speaks the same language. From pick-up to delivery, departure to arrival,
everyone is kept in the loop with shared information.
Customers are the lifeblood of a company.
Rather than thinking of them as idiots, treat them like the essential part of
your business that they are. Invest in their needs. Your staff need not work
harder. Quite the opposite: make your software work smarter.
Darren Matthews is Business Development Analyst for WiseTech Global
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