It usually depresses company leaders when they find out how much effort their own people are spending tracking and tracing shipments. This activity can be a massive time suck for customer service reps, purchasing folks, shipping people and sales men and women. The kicker is that it can be totally automated with KDL's simple event notification tool and tracking panel.
Last week I was sitting with the Vice President of Operations of a $100,000,000 prospective customer and asked her the simple question, "Do customers call your company looking if their order has been shipped?" Her reply was, "All the time!" I then asked her to walk me through this process.
Common Practice for Dealing with Tracking Calls
She dialed her customer service manager and asked him to describe the process. Pay attention because this is pretty typical from what I see out there. He told her the first thing they do when they get a customer looking for their order is determine if the product was shipped or not, which they can see from their internal system. If it was shipped, they have to look up the order in their system for the proper sales order number. Then, they have to call down to shipping to find out what carrier was used on that order.
The next thing that happens is the shipping person has to look at the actual paperwork in the customer file to find the carrier pro number (tracking number). The CSR then goes to the carrier website or calls the freight carrier to identify where the shipment is in-transit and when the anticipated delivery time is. Once that information is retrieved they call or email the customer to let them know the status. The customer service manager told my contact that this tracking procedure can occur multiple times for one order if the customer is anxious to retrieve it. Of course the VP of Ops couldn't believe all of the employees involved in this.
In case you weren't keeping track, I counted five, count them, FIVE phone calls to track ONE shipment (several being internal phone calls) - one from the customer to customer service, one from customer service to shipping, one from shipping back to customer service, one from customer service to carrier, one from customer service back to the customer to provide the shipping location information.
How Much Does This Activity Cost?
You don't need to have a business degree from Wharton Business School to figure out that there is a lot of operating costs going into this simple task. After all, time is money and good customer service reps and logistics supervisors aren't even close to minimum wage employees by a long stretch.
Customers Deserve a Better Experience
Plus, when you can't give a customer an instant answer it reflects badly. Customers command instant answers. Why? Because if they don't, they'll go to a competitor. Nobody wants to make a phone call to get a quick update and have to wait for you to call them back.
An Opportunity To Be Better Than The Competition
There is no reason $100,000,000 companies need to be going to a file cabinet to find a tracking number in the year 2017. There is actually no reason any company, no matter what the size, should be doing this. However, I know for a fact that so many companies are ridiculously inefficient when it comes to tracking a simple shipment for a customer (because I talk with companies every day about this). So the companies that can simplify this process will make their customers much happier than their competitors are making them.
Making Tracking Shipments Ridiculously Easy
KDL's event notification and track & trace tools virtually eliminates all customer calls and proactively gives customers and customer service reps what they want and need at their fingertips...information!
Through KDL's TMS application, shippers can eliminate much of the incoming customer phone calls and proactively help the customers stay on top of their own orders by sending a simple "event notification". With a click of a button, an email gets triggered when a shipment has been picked up by the freight carrier and provides links so customers can check on their order as much as they want. Again, your customers are craving this information. If you give them a way to search for it themselves, they'll be very appreciative and won't bother calling you and waiting for you to give them the same detail. This gives this gives them the ability get real time tracking info any time they want.
Track & Trace Panel
You never want to deter your customers from calling you. The more you touch your customer the better...so long as you make it a pleasant experience as possible. One way is to have KDL's Track & Trace Panel at your fingertips. This is a tool that shows every single shipment you've shipped out on one screen, where they are in-transit and when they will be delivered. How cool would it be to instantaneously tell your customer where their shipments are? Much better then all those phone calls and digging through file cabinets, eh?
BONUS: Shipping Documents at Your Fingertips
One thing that can happen from time to time is companies may not have visibility to what actually delivered at their own company. I know customer service reps can relate. A customer calls irate looking for their product that was supposed to be delivered. The CSR calls the carrier and they say they delivered it four hours ago. The customer questions this was delivered because their system says nothing came in. So the CSR has the carrier fax or email a copy of the delivery receipt to show the customer the name of their receiving person who signed for it.
KDL customers never have to deal with any of that because with a click of the button they can retrieve all of the shipping documents instantly. So before a customer get's huffy, a CSR can say, "I show it was delivered at 10:30am and Joe Schmoe at your company signed for it." A big win for everybody!
Why KDL's Technology Tools?
No other business segment touches every department like logistics does. Whether it's accounting, purchasing, customer service, leadership, shipping or administration, KDL provides the services and technologies that allows shippers to hit the easy button on logistics.
Contact us to have a conversation with one our seasoned reps to find out how KDL can help you manage your logistics so you can focus your time on your core offering.