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3PLS: Going the Extra Mile for Customers

Pleasing a customer and keeping them pleased is the hardest part of being in a business in this modern age. E-commerce has done a lot of great things for the world, but it has also spoiled the consumer for choices. This has resulted in all-time low brand loyalty by customers. Businesses now have to scrap for every bit of validation and acceptance from customers and make their quality experience their top priority.

Customer Experience can be confused with Customer Service. The main difference between the two is that Customer Experience has more to do with the tone and feel of a buying experience for the customer, which is devoid of any factual data. You know when you’ve got it right because the rate of repeat customers will increase. Customer Service on the other hand is comparative data on which you can base decisions.

Most of the time, achieving the greatest Customer Experience depends on aspects like the speed of delivery, quality of the product, communication with the customer, and after-sales experience. Lots of these factors can be controlled by the company itself, but for someone just starting out, hiring a third-party service for taking care of the inventory or fast shipping is a wise move.

“Third Party Logistics” services or more commonly known as 3PLs or TPLs are a great way for businesses to outsource some of the toughest and most complicated parts of the business. Depending on the needs of a particular business, different aspects of a transaction can be outsourced. Commonly these services include warehousing, shipping, distribution, and transportation. Most industries that are in the business of exchanging goods and products can make use of a service like this.

Depending on where on the supply chain does a 3PL lies, their role of how to make the customer’s experience great will be different. If it’s the warehousing that you hire for outsourced help, that service provider will have to make sure that the products are kept fresh and safe from any damage. They have to ensure that the process of finding and getting the product ready for shipment should be fast and well-organized.

When it comes to the delivery aspect, it is important that the warehouse is in the perfect location depending on the cluster of end customers that you’re going for. This makes for good flow when it comes to making deliveries. Third-party warehouses should also, always be sufficiently stocked.

There are many factors that make 3PL Services work efficiently and fulfill both their E-commerce partners and the end customer. Let’s take a look at some of these factors.

1. Delivery Quality: Delivery quality doesn’t mean merely the quality of the product and getting it to the customer on time. It also means that a seamless transition takes place with no requirement for any correction later. This calls for proper inspection, packaging, padding, labeling, etc.

2. Proper Error Analysis: A lot of the time, companies focus on what they are doing well, and keep doing it more. This is a great practice, but once you start looking at the statistic of Error Rate as a serious Key Performance Indicator, you’ll understand how your operation can be more streamlined and free of faults.

3. Frequent and Thorough Auditing: Most people confuse the auditing process with a check-up of all the documents and their availability. That is not how it works. For an auditing process to work and give you the valuable feedback you need, processes must be looked at closely. A survey with all your frequent customers (even the non-frequent ones) is one way to conduct a proper audit.

4. Turnaround Time on Small Parcels: The speed at which parcels move in a warehouse can sometimes lead to negligence towards the small parcels. These small parcels are what can sometimes have the most variables in designs and whatnot. This should be taken extra care of, and if a fault is made and a return is processed, that transition should take place even quicker to show the customer that you care.

5. Customer Feedback: It’s all about the customer in the end! Frequent contact with customers and asking them for their feedback is very important. When a majority of your customers give you the same suggestion, you must imply those suggestions and make changes. Weighing in what the customer needs and thinks about your operation is the most important aspect of being in business.