Most employees are busy enough with their daily responsibilities. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is something going wrong with their cargo. Ensuring your cargo gets from one place to another is imperative for businesses to run smoothly. Unfortunately, efficient cargo management doesn’t happen on its own. Your freight management will only be as good as the parties overseeing it, and that’s not always your company.
How Controlling Your Cargo Improves Customer Service
In our previous posts, we talked about the differences between standard and customer routed shipments. Depending on how your cargo is managed, you may not be the one responsible for making shipping decisions. But along with the “responsibility relief” comes an unfortunate sacrifice of control.
Deciding whether you want control over shipping boils down to how much you think it will influence your business. By giving the foreign party control, they have all the responsibilities for shipping solutions. That approach certainly has its benefits, but are you fine with being left in the dark on key milestones of a shipment? While it may release you of a few obligations, you are giving up control, visibility, and various advantageous opportunities during the shipping process. Sitting back and hoping your cargo gets delivered on time might not be a suitable option for you. If your cargo is important to you, the risk may be all-too-high for something to go sideways when using customer routed shipping methods. If it does, how are you going to fix the problem before it damages your customer service?
Here are 5 ways that controlling your own cargo improves customer service:
1) Cost Control
Money saved is money earned.
Considering the complexity of shipping, many businesses assume customer routed is a great way to go. But leaving the shipping solutions up to the other party puts you at risk for hidden costs. Being the one in control of the cargo allows you to choose efficient routes that keep cargo safe while in transit as well as keeping costs down. Being attentive to costs improves customer service by allowing you to offer the best prices to your customers.
In a commoditized world, companies want inventory levels to be as close to consumer demand as they can get. But this is not always an easy task. Overstocking your inventory creates more expenses through increased storage costs. But selling out on your company’s inventory leads to stock outs, lost customers and bad customer service. It’s crucial to have good inventory management practices, and that starts with the movement of your cargo.
Inventory corresponds directly with customer service. If a customer purchases a product, they expect to get it in the time that was stated and in proper condition. Your business will be held accountable by customers for proper supply and demand practices. If that seems important to you, you may want to re-evaluate whether it’s too risky to have someone else controlling the shipping process on your behalf. Controlling your own cargo gives visibility throughout the transportation for you to make sure everything runs smoothly.
3) Risk Mitigation
Your products arrived damaged by no fault of your own, but it’s your responsibility to break the news to your customers.
In a survey research our team at InterlogUSA conducted, we found that one of the top complaints from shippers was cargo damage. Damaged product is detrimental for multiple reasons. Cargo damage is financially destructive, as it essentially requires you to purchase the product twice. It also has major implications on customer service – the customer doesn’t care who broke it; they only care that it’s not available. Knowing the right carriers and low-risk shipping options will help you to mitigate the potential for damage. By putting the process into your own hands, you control the fate of your cargo.
4) Delivery Date
Your cargo is now delayed because of an unexpected hiccup in the process. Did the foreign party choose the most efficient and reliable shipping routes or did they opt for the cheapest option? Having no control over the shipping solutions can put your company at risk for delayed shipments.
Controlling your cargo gives you visibility over the whole process. That includes both arrival dates and the security of your cargo. Meeting delivery date expectations is incredibly important for maintaining good customer service levels. Reliability and organization within logistics process strengthens loyalty and trust between you and your customers.
5) Return Policy
Returns are a common occurrence.
Constructing a clear return policy allows everyone to be on the same page with one another. When businesses go with a customer routed approach, there may be an increased work load for returns management. If you leave returns up to your foreign counterpart, you are working on their time when it comes to product returns. That leaves you with the responsibility of ordering new products for your customers to maintain good customer service even if you are unable to return the initial product and receive a refund in time.
Having control over your own shipments allows you to handle returns productively and improve your customer service.
As a business, you want to provide the best customer service for your customers. After all, customer service is imperative for maintaining and growing sales. There is always room to improve customer service, so looking at it from all angles within your business can create room for improvement. The benefits of controlling your own cargo gives you a complete handle on running a smoother logistics process, which is directly connected to the level of customer service your company can deliver.
Want to know whether controlling your own cargo will help you improve your customer service? Reach out to our team! We would love to answer any questions you may have!