What are you customers saying about your last mile home delivery service? This leter from Mrs. Jones makes it clear why home delivery is so important and what difference a good experience can make. See for yourself...
Topics: It's Mrs. Jones' Day
You hire a 3PL provider to help you work through the necessary and final step of completing a sale, but taking a vested approach by collaborating and communicating with your 3PL provider can cut costs and improve customer satisfaction.
At Diakon Logistics, it is our goal to treat every delivery of the day like it’s the only delivery that day. This past Monday in Charlotte, NC one of our delivery teams was just one stop away from a 100% score when suddenly their truck broke down. Roadside service determined the truck could go no further and would need to be towed.
In our last post, we discussed the importance of choosing a 3PL provider that is willing to go the extra mile to provide you with “Golden Rule” service. Part of this service is ensuring that your working relationship is a true partnership, where both groups are committed to success and have similar viewpoints about how to attain it – through every stage of the process.
Unfortunately, both Third Party Logistics companies and their clients sometimes forget this important point. The result: misaligned goals, crossed wires, and an unhealthy working environment. We all have full plates, and the last thing anyone needs is the extra time and heartburn associated with dealing with issues that arise when clients and providers aren’t working together as a team.
So how can you avoid potential problems and work together as a team? Here are some suggestions:
Maintain open lines of communication. Misunderstandings are often the result of a lack of communication between provider and client. If you’re keeping in regular contact with each other, you’re less likely to
Take responsibility for – and learn from – mistakes. No one is perfect. Sometimes things don’t happen the way we expect them to; rather than wasting time pointing fingers, admit slip-ups and ensure that you avoid repeating them in the future.
Work to your strengths. One of the great things about a partnership is that both groups can look to each other as experts in certain aspects of the business. Tailor your plans accordingly and pool your resources – you’ll achieve much more with much less stress.
Remember the goal. Ultimately, it’s about working together to achieve your objective. Try not to sweat the small stuff too much; if your interests are properly aligned, you’re bound to be more efficient.
Holding your customer service practices to high standards is part of what makes you a professional. Excellent customer service means that your customers can look to your business as not just a place to buy furniture, but as a source for an experience that improves their lives and solves problems for them. Investing in third-party white glove home delivery can be an excellent way to solve problems for your customers and establish your business as a trusted resource and partner.
Not long ago, John Rodeheffer of Zipline Logistics wrote an article called “Does Your 3PL Provide ‘Golden Rule’ Customer Service?” In it, he outlines some of the characteristics that you should expect from your Third Party Logistics carrier in terms of customer service, including:
When you choose a Third Party Logistics provider, the hope and intention is that you’re forming a partnership that will last for years. Indeed, you likely spent months researching, interviewing and analyzing your candidates before making your decision. But what if your provider isn’t living up to expectations? When do you resolve to look for another company? Consider the following factors when making your decision.
Lack of growth. Your company is growing – but your 3PL provider isn’t growing with you. Maybe the company is resistant to change – or maybe they’re losing clients due to poor service. Either way, it’s a cause for serious concern.
Massive price hikes. While price fluctuation is inevitable, huge spikes in cost shouldn’t be. In addition to affecting your budget, major price increases on the part of your logistics provider suggest poor financial management.
Turnover. No company is free from employee turnover – it’s the nature of business. But if your 3PL provider’s executive team appears to be a revolving door, it’s a clear indication of internal turmoil – which affects the company’s overall focus.
Not learning from mistakes. No relationship is perfect, in life or in business. Part of fostering a successful partnership is through trial and error. But is your logistics provider making the same mistakes time and again? And are you dependent on workarounds to control the damage that these mistakes cause? Your productivity suffers as a result – and it demonstrates poor management on behalf of your provider.
No “disruptive innovation.” In our last post, we talked about the importance of disruptive innovation on the part of 3PL providers – that is, striving toward the discovery of new methods and innovations that disrupt the industry status quo in a positive way. Ask yourself if your 3PL provider is motivated to make these kinds of discoveries. If not, your bottom line is ultimately affected.
In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the advantages of hiring a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider for your business needs. We’ve also talked about what to look for in a provider.
Choosing a 3PL provider is just the first step, however. In order to guarantee a successful partnership, you – and your selected provider – need to take steps to nurture your business relationship. Below are some tips for ensuring a long-lasting and beneficial association with your chosen logistics company.
Get – and stay – on the same page. Have an in-depth and honest conversation with your 3PL provider at the outset of your relationship; discuss your mutual goals and the steps that both of you need to take in order to make sure that those goals are met. Otherwise, you run the risk of making decisions that don’t align with your shared objectives.
Understand the technology. Recent advances in technology processes are making an impact in the logistics industry. For example, some 3PL companies are looking at cloud computing as the future of their information management systems. Treat your 3PL’s technology offerings as more than just a peripheral, value-added service; taking advantage of the benefits these offerings provide may translate into increased efficiency for your business.
Be flexible (within reason) – and reward initiative. You provide your own employees with incentives for performing; think of your logistics company in the same light. If you allow your outsourced logistics provider the flexibility to exceed expectations – and reward them accordingly – you strengthen your relationship and reap the benefits of superior performance.
Analyze progress regularly. Keep an open dialogue with your 3PL service, and evaluate progress on a regular basis – not just yearly. In the world of logistics, strategies can change, and you and your provider need to be agile in your approach, ready to tweak processes if necessary.