How many calls do your customer service representatives (CSRs) have to make related to shipping?
- Get a rate quote
- Confirm a customer has a loading dock
- Provide a status update (tracking)
- Provide instructions on how to handle damage
Here are a few tools that can reduce the burden of freight on your CSRs that a good Transportation Management System (TMS) ought to provide:
If you've followed this blog over the past year, you've seen repeated reference to LTL Freight carriers going overboard to reduce costs. If you have called an LTL Freight carrier for information recently, it's probably not been the experience you've enjoyed in past years.
This is why it is more important than ever to limit your need to rely on the carriers' customer service and bring the information they use right to your fingertips with a rock solid TMS. Most carriers provide shippers electronic access to the same updates and information as their own reps have. So why not take advantage?
The tools I'm going to introduce below are all employed by the ReconTMS, but ought to be staples of any good LTL Freight management technology today. I'm not going to waste time on some of the more obvious features like Rate Quotes, BOL creation or even Auto-Dispatch. Here are a few less common, but equally valuable features that will save your Customer Service Team time and help provide your customers a special experience.
NUMBER 1 - Branded Advanced Ship Notice (ASN)
Here you can see a sample Recon Logistics branded ASN. This should be branded with your company's logo and marketing concept; however, beyond the aesthetic appeal, the content is critical today:
- Quick Link to Tracking Information (no need to call)
- Ship Date and Expected Delivery Date
- Relevant Reference #s like PO Number
- and... What to do if the shipment arrives with shortages or damages.
Preempting a call about damages and instructing your customer what to do in that situation can not only save your CSR time, but also increase your odds of a successful claim.
NUMBER 2 - Instant, No Click Tracking & Delivery Notifications
I often ask shippers how frequently their customers ask for shipping status and how do they go about providing it? Funny thing is, it seems more often that a sales rep is asking than the customer. Well, how can we tackle all of the above most efficiently.
First, there should be no limitation to users accessing your TMS, so why not give the sales rep credentials. Let them not only view shipment status, but also let them get their own rate quotes! Of course, they need to know the critical elements to getting accurate rates, but that's another story you can read about in a previous post.
The sales rep and the CSR should be able to view real time tracking (to the extent the LTL Carrier makes it available). Many TMS systems allow the user to click on a Tracking Link that will take you to the carrier website to find the most recent status of your shipment. How about you simply HOVER your mouse over the tracking number and whalah! There it is, never leaving the ReconTMS!
In addition to ease of tracking, if your team simply needs to know when something is delivered, a delivery notification can be instantly emailed to whomever you like. Once status is updated by the carrier, you can be notified.
NUMBER 3 - Take a Peek!
How frustrating is it when your customer neglects to inform you that a lift gate is needed to make a delivery. Not only can it be costly because a "lower cost" carrier may become the "highest cost" carrier when the additional charge is added, but a delay is almost certain if the carrier either needs approval or attempts delivery and is unable. Can you imagine?
A good TMS can show you where you are delivering. In the ReconTMS, simply click on a link next to the delivery address and there it is... a Google Earth view of the location. Didn't realize it was Residential? Or maybe the location could require Limited Access?
This feature helps avoid the delays of the carrier calling your customer service team; having the instant visibility can preempt the delay altogether.
These are a few ways a solid TMS like Recon's can help your Customer Service Team operate efficiently and also provide best in class customer care. Are you taking advantage of the latest and greatest?
Schedule some time to review!