You could be the customer service rep receiving an angry customer call on why they have only received one out of two parcels, or the warehouse team member getting pressure from management to ensure the carrier driver turns up today to take all 20 pallets you have to dispatch, or even the accounts person chasing a tailgate fee credit for a customer that did not advise a tailgate was needed. No matter how you’re involved in transport, it can be stressful. You’re loaded with this responsibility that you don’t necessarily have any control of.
And what about the people who are on the other side? Working in the industry it self?
Logistics and transport is a big operation; heavily regulated with many hands and moving parts involved to create the interconnected network necessary to move freight. There are many variables to this complex network so we have to get used to the idea that problems are therefore going to happen at some point. So what can we do about it?
Yes, there is always room for improvement. Yes, like us as a freight manager, we will provide you with contingencies and systems. BUT yes, something will still happen. This is where we say it’s time to build the underrated skill of setting expectations with your staff and your customers. Having systems and clear conversations BEFORE a job leaves your warehouse allows you to reassure them you can do all you can but sometimes issues happen in transport.
When a problem occurs, it can be compounded by the confusion of not knowing what is happening. Which is minimised, if not eliminated, by setting expectations. Some methods to consider in setting expectations include:
- Have Shipping and Delivery FAQs for customers to view and refer to – detail here basic info on couriers used, how/when to enquire on a job, common issues in the freight industry right now (looking at you COVID-19) and info required from them to ensure a smooth delivery.
- Automated ETA / tracking notifications – giving customers easy access to tracking their freight and viewing the ETA.
- Easy enquiry process – if the above point has not answered the customers’ question of where it is or when it will arrive, have an easy and hands off way for the client to enquire on their consignment. Some ways could be online like via our “Track My Parcel” function.
- Education – on how logistics works and the current industry environment. A lot of this can be provided from the freight providers’ customer service and account manager.
Don’t be afraid to use this as at the end of the day, customers don’t want to be left in the dark. If they are given reassurance that everything possible is being done and that sometimes things happen, they hopefully can be understanding too and still have a good customer service experience even if something turns a little curly in freight. Lastly, if you have a good freight provider / manager, they will be monitoring these issues, providing rationales, analytics, as well as strategies to improve to be on the front foot in collaborating and minimising problems in your supply chain.