As a third-party logistic owner, your team can be held up by clients who don’t understand the importance of good customer service. You can only be as effective as your client’s processes, which means it can be helpful to recognize signs of poor customer service to help correct them. Here we look at how to identify and address bad customer service as a 3PL:
How Poor Customer Service Impacts Your Business
When your clients can’t seem to get over bad habits that contribute to poor customer service, it impacts your 3PL in several ways:
- You lose control over logistics functions
- It is more likely you’ll experience rising costs due to inefficiencies related to issues such as increased returns
- You’ll face an increased risk of standard inconsistencies that impact your effectiveness
- The client might become over-reliant on your services, which creates conflicts based on your contract agreement
However, if you can identify and address customer service shortfalls, you can mitigate risks by creating a streamlined process that improves the level of customer service at your end of the supply chain.
Common Warehouse Customer Service Problems and Solutions
There are several customer service problems you might encounter as a 3PL. Luckily, you can identify the following common issues and use strategic solutions to overcome customer service deficiencies:
Finding items when picking orders ensures the right products are picked, quickly packed, and sent to meet customer expectations. Poor warehouse management increases the risk of mistakes and disappointment if the item is out of stock. Shipping delays are customer enemy number one, especially in cases where the client promises delivery and ensures the customer the item is in stock.
Solution: Maintaining real-time inventory data using a smart order and warehouse management system ensures pickers know where items are located and how much inventory is available. As a result, you deliver items on schedule to reduce returns and increase customer satisfaction.
Managing thousands or even hundreds of SKUs can lead to incorrect picks, which increases costs related to returns and restocking. Not only does it cost you money for that specific mistake, but also in lost future revenues from a happy lifetime customer.
Solution: Proper inventory management and picking processes leverage scanning technology that matches order SKUs to SKUs on the shelves. It also provides specific locations for items and allows you to plan where high-demand items are stored for easier, faster, accurate picking.
Lack of Transparency
Trusted e-comm sites leverage package tracking and automated shipping notifications to provide complete customer transparency. If you find this technology is not used, your team is paralyzed by complaints related to missing or late deliveries.
Solution: Introduce software solutions that automate package location from warehouse to carrier and carrier route to delivery. This reduces customer service calls that waste time and money and eliminates the risk that customers never place an order again.
Out-of-Control Shipping Costs
Retailers that don’t understand shipping costs might not realize they are gouging customers, leaving a bad taste in their mouths. Common misconceptions about shipping costs can present a very real customer service issue.
Solution: Introduce shipping cost best practices based on the type of shipments, carriers available in the area, improved shipping routes, etc.
No Customer Service Process
Smaller or less experienced retailers might avoid the costs associated with a customer service team to assist customers experiencing issues such as delayed deliveries, items missing from the order, damaged goods, etc. Although this might seem to save money at first, it actually loses money in the long run by reducing the average lifetime value for customers. Furthermore, this colossal mistake will likely cause the most issues for your team, as you won’t have clear access to issues and can’t develop a process to resolve them.
Solution: Provide an easy way to a) collaborate between customer service departments and your fulfillment team, and b) track packages and errors via automated, integrated warehouse management software.
Illogical Process for Lost or Damaged Goods
Common issues that set a customer’s teeth on edge include not being able to replace lost or damaged goods quickly, not knowing how to replace lost or damaged goods, or worse, having the onus placed on them to cover the cost of returning damaged goods or proving the package was lost.
Solution: Use tracking software to confirm receipt and explain how improved efficiencies for the above customer service issues covers the cost of a free return and replacement policy.
By identifying these issues and addressing them, you improve your client’s customer service issues while making your own team’s life easier.
VeraCore is SaaS order and warehouse management software trusted by top fulfillment companies and 3PLs. Affordable, flexible, easy to use; VeraCore is everything you need to keep clients happy and run a lean operation.
With VeraCore, you can grow your business and handle any challenge with ease. Rules-based automation enables you to control all aspects of your warehouse operation and satisfy each of your clients’ unique requirements.
Hundreds of fulfillment service providers and 10,000+ fulfillment clients place VeraCore at the “core” of their business to get the job done right, for over 40 years.