As all logistics professionals know, problem solving is a big part of the job. My clients are mostly small or medium sized firms working with minimal staffs, so I frequently assist them in resolving service issues.
We engage with a variety of LSPs (Logistics Service Providers) including freight forwarders, carriers, integrators, and customs brokers. Most have automated systems for efficiency and cost control purposes. LSPs invest heavily in technological solutions and this is a major determinant in selecting a provider. When looking for a status update or answer to a simple question these systems are fine. Self service can be frustrating, though, when the problem is not easily described, and is of no use for more complex issues. Examples are customs delays, re-routing of shipments, special pricing, or real emergencies. Information is easier to get than action.
Solving problems on the spot is what defines great customer service. Reaching a human being requires patience and many times that person is simply reading from a script. If I haven’t been able to solve the problem on-line then I need someone with the ability and authority to resolve the issue. It seems that as logistics providers invest in technology they are disinvesting in human customer service.
LSPs, don’t force your clients to dump problems on their account rep or e mail the CEO. A few key people in customer service roles with the authority to fix problems on the spot will earn you a lot of customer loyalty.