Managing the delivery of numerous packages of all shapes and sizes between businesses and consumers is a monumental task. Customer experience (CX) moments of truth constantly occur in the transportation and logistics (T&L) industry, from initial contact until post-delivery. The long-term success of logistics companies, including international carriers, freight forwarders, and local couriers, lies in recurring, high-volume business.  

Loyalty is key to third-party logistics (3PL) success. Loyalty is earned through an unwavering commitment to CX excellence. The global pandemic didn’t cause the rapid growth of online commerce or market demand for hassle-free shipping services. Yet online sales grew rapidly as consumers and business procurement teams increased online buying for health, safety and convenience reasons.  

At the same, supply chains slowed in many industries automotive, technology, and including due to:  

Recent T&L trends have seen disruptive startups leverage digital platforms to better understand customer needs and market gaps. T&L firms are finding ways to harness technologies like integrated CRM to protect and grow their client base.  

Here are five recent CX trends transforming customer experiences, according to a recent Zendesk report, based on surveys of 97,000 customers in over 20 countries. CX Trends 2022: Improve your bottom line by putting customers at the top.  

1. Increased focus on enriching customer relationships 

Fostering loyalty and enriching relationships demand more than solving individual customer challenges and fighting fires as they flare-up. Some key findings of their CX customer survey found:  

Sixty-four percent of executives surveyed reported that positive customer experiences help their business grow. Nearly as many say it helps improve customer retention. CRM platforms like Zendesk play a crucial role in meeting the customer expectations described above.  

2. Customers want to do business with companies that understand their needs 

Business clients prefer doing business with companies that understand their needs and priorities. This means the companies they buy from and the freight carriers that bring their products to their receiving door. Therefore, T&L firms should know the key points of contact their company interacts with day-to-day.  

Furthermore, they need line-of-sight to the interactions across all channels: 

Zendesk’s surveys found that 68% of businesses need to provide better customer service agent (CSR) training. Over half of respondents, including 64% of customers over 40, reported that customer service didn’t seem to understand them or their needs. Interaction channel variety and quality don’t necessarily produce better customer experiences. The human (or virtual) agent in a conversation must understand a client’s needs and how to meet them.   

3. Companies are worried their resources can’t scale enough 

Many high-volume freight carriers and last-mile delivery couriers struggle to keep their systems updated with real-time delivery status information. Factors like harsh weather, parts availability, and fluctuating inventory availability can create uncertainty about delivery dates and times.  

Logistics companies essentially have two clients for each delivery — the sender and the receiver. Keeping all parties informed about the goods transportation requires personalized interactions and a CRM strategy that supports them. The Zendesk study found that 34% of businesses predict that customer engagement will increase by 25%. Yet only 14% plan to increase their technology, agent hiring, or training budgets accordingly.  

These companies must discover how to best enable their agents to serve more customers more effectively. Otherwise, they could experience a quick retreat of their customer engagement levels when their clients take their business elsewhere.  

4. Siloed Systems Create Confusion and Impede Growth 

Do your customer service agents’ CSRs access the same information about customer shipments as that presented online? Seventy percent of the respondents to Zendesk’s survey said they expect companies to have self-service portals or content available. However, the same percentage said they make purchase decisions based on poor customer service experiences.  

As mentioned earlier, customers expect that customer service representatives share their information across a service provider’s enterprise allowing them to receive consistent communication across channels. Modern CRM platforms are purpose-built for integration with back-office systems like telematics (vehicle location tracking) and ERP. For example, a cloud-based integration hub like Flare for Zendesk increases data visibility across structured and unstructured data systems and departments like sales and customer service.  

When customers check shipment status online, the risk of conflicting information is too high. Therefore, T&L companies must have an integrated CRM that makes self-serve and agent-assisted interactions consistent.  

5. CX Commitment Must Extend Throughout the Business 

Many executives and departmental managers insist their sales and CSRs input their interactions and forecasts into their corporate CRM. Yet far fewer practice what they preach. For individual employees to engage in their company’s CRM platform, they need to see a similar level of commitment from their management team up the line.  

The strategy and technology that powers CX must have support and participation from across the business. Privileged employees and managers have access to real-time performance dashboards about customer engagement, sales forecasts, and resource utilization. There shouldn’t be many reasons for manual spreadsheets, frequent meetings, or flurries of update inquiry emails.  

Looking forward 

The past few years have significantly transformed the ways businesses sell their products to consumers and other companies. Customer expectations are rising in service-based industries like transportation and logistics. Customer experience quality, information accuracy, and transparency are leading differentiators in the 3PL space.  

Our partnerships with CRM platform leaders like Zendesk and integration capabilities with Flare help us empower our clients to enhance their customer experiences.  Our recent acquisition of Faye’s CRM practice adds depth to our expertise in industries like transportation and logistics. It expands our service capabilities in Canada and the midwestern United States.    

To increase your competitive edge and customer understanding, contact Faye