Blog
>
Customer Service
>
Customer Service in Logistics: How to Improve it Using Tech

10,000+ teams use Hiver to delight their customers!

Request a Demo

Table of contents

Customer Service in Logistics: How to Improve it Using Tech

Jun 04, 2024
    |    
12 min read
    |    

Table of contents

Logistics is largely a level playing field.  All players tackle similar challenges: bad weather, global regulations, trade wars, and recently, even a pandemic. 

They also enjoy much the same advantages such as speed of vehicles, growing demand, and fuel prices. 

What separates established logistics companies from their not-so-successful counterparts — is a longstanding reputation for reliable and trustworthy customer care.

Table of Contents

The Importance of Customer Service in Logistics

5 Top Technology Trends in Transportation and Logistics Industry
Technology trends in the transportation and logistics industry

While this creates lucrative opportunities for logistics companies worldwide, it also has added challenges. Increase in online shopping has also led to an increased focus on reverse logistics, which possesses a different set of challenges.

The logistics industry is also seeing an increase in players providing last-mile delivery. As competition increases, great customer service serves as a powerful differentiator, with retailers and suppliers likely to opt for providers going the extra mile to satisfy end customers’ needs. For companies looking to expand globally, excellent customer service accelerates their growth manifold.

Top 5 Customer Service Logistics Tools in 2024

1. Hiver

Hiver is an ideal tool for logistics professionals seeking to enhance their customer service. By integrating directly with Gmail, Hiver enables streamlined management of customer emails via shared inboxes—a key feature for logistics teams needing quick, coordinated responses. 

The platform enhances efficiency with tools like email tagging and collision detection, which are crucial for organizing high volumes of logistics-related communications. 

Moreover, Hiver’s analytics help identify trends in customer queries and response effectiveness, aiding in the continuous improvement of service delivery within the fast-paced logistics industry. This makes Hiver not just a tool but a strategic asset for logistics operations focused on reliability and customer satisfaction.

Hiver’s UI

Hiver’s features

  • Shared Inbox: Allows teams to manage group emails like info@ or support@ from within Gmail.
  • Email Tags: For categorizing emails by urgency or type (e.g., returns, dispatches).
  • Collision Detection: Prevents multiple agents from replying to the same query.
  • Automation and Templates: Speeds up response times with automated workflows and preset replies.
  • Analytics: Provides insights into team performance and customer satisfaction trends.

Pricing: Plans start from $19/user/month

2. Zendesk

Zendesk stands out in the logistics industry by providing a robust suite of tools that streamline customer service across multiple communication channels. This platform simplifies the management of customer interactions, ensuring that regardless of how a customer reaches out—be it through email, social media, or live chat—their concerns are addressed efficiently and from a single interface.

Zendesk is highly adaptable, integrating seamlessly with a wide range of apps and services. This flexibility is crucial for logistics operations, where coordination across various platforms and real-time updates are key to effectively managing deliveries and service tickets.

The rich feature set, while beneficial, requires a commitment to learning and initial configuration to fully leverage its capabilities. This could pose a challenge for teams with limited resources or less technical expertise.

Zendesk’s UI

Pros:

  • Offers a wide range of customization and integration options, making it versatile for various customer service channels.
  • Offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities that can assist in making informed decisions.

Cons:

  • The platform’s extensive features can be overwhelming for smaller teams and require a significant time investment to learn.
  • Additional costs for personalized support (anywhere from $1500 to $2800) can be expensive for smaller teams.

Pricing: Plans start from $55/user/month.

3. ShipStation

ShipStation is integral for businesses in the e-commerce and logistics sectors focused on enhancing their shipping operations. The platform automates the entire order fulfillment process, reducing the manual effort needed and increasing accuracy. It also features robust carrier integration, enabling businesses to connect seamlessly with multiple shipping services and optimize dispatch times.

However, ShipStation’s strong emphasis on shipping optimization means it mainly offers features like batch label creation and real-time rate calculation rather than a broad range of customer service functionalities.

While excellent for streamlining shipping processes, its narrower scope might not fully address the needs of logistics firms that also prioritize comprehensive customer engagement and support across multiple channels. This focus could limit its applicability for those seeking an all-encompassing customer service tool.

ShipStation’s UI

Pros:

  • Automates shipping processes, reducing manual work.
  • Extensive carrier integration simplifies logistics operations.

Cons:

  • Focused more on shipping operations than comprehensive customer support.
  • Most features are e-commerce-centric, which might not meet all logistics needs.

Pricing: Plans starts at $9/user/month.

4. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is tailored for logistics companies looking for an easy and effective way to manage customer inquiries and support tickets. It stands out for its user-friendly design and scalability, catering to businesses of all sizes.

While it offers a free tier suitable for small operations, accessing more advanced features necessitates moving to paid plans, which might escalate costs for growing businesses seeking sophisticated features.

Freshdesk’s UI

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface simplifies the support ticketing process.
  • Scalable, with a forever free pricing plan for small businesses.

Cons:

  • Advanced features are locked behind higher-priced plans.
  • Some users may need more comprehensive customization options.

Pricing: Paid plans start from $15/user/month. Free plan is also available with limited features.

5. Salesforce Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud is renowned for its robust CRM capabilities, providing deep insights into customer interactions. This feature is particularly valuable for logistics companies seeking a comprehensive understanding of their customer relationships. The platform’s advanced analytics tools enhance the ability to analyze customer data, enabling businesses to tailor their services more effectively.

However, the depth of Salesforce Service Cloud can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Its extensive customization options, while powerful, can make the platform complex and potentially daunting for smaller businesses or those with limited technical resources. The cost associated with its high functionality also presents a significant consideration for smaller logistic businesses.

Salesforce Service Cloud’s UI

Pros:

  • Offers a 360-degree customer view, enhancing service personalization.
  • Robust analytics aid in decision-making and performance improvement.

Cons:

  • The complexity of the platform may require a steep learning curve.
  • Higher cost, potentially making it less accessible for smaller logistics businesses.

Pricing: Starts at $25/user/month.

What does great customer service in logistics look like in 2024?

Let’s say you’re a logistics company specializing in furniture and home improvement items.

Here’s what a seamless customer service experience should look like: from the moment you pick an order from sellers – to the time it is delivered to the end customer – both the seller and buyer receive prompt updates.

They’re informed of the location of their shipment (using a service such as My Package Tracking),estimated time of arrival, and if there’s an unexpected delay, they’re not left guessing why.  

Most companies aspire to provide seamless services that boost their customer satisfaction. But it takes a combination of processes and tools like multi-carrier shipping software to make them a reality.

Integrating logistics app development into your customer service strategy can significantly improve the efficiency of your supply chain and elevate the overall customer experience. For those ready to invest in the next level of operational efficiency, SCM development offers a suite of advanced tools and features, enabling businesses to optimize their supply chain management through innovative software solutions.

In this post, we’ll delve into how companies can improve customer communication, internal processes, and deliveries with the help of technology. 

How to Improve Customer Service in Logistics Using Technology

You’ve probably bantered a bit with Siri. But did you know that artificial intelligence tools can do a lot more than book tables for dinner? With the help of modern logistic software development and international freight system, logistics companies can communicate better with customers, predict delivery conditions, and better manage packaging and inventory.  

Here are some ways logistics companies can harness technology to improve their customer service: 

Streamline customer communication

Communication is a cornerstone of great customer service. Here are some ways to simplify communication with your customers:  

Improve processes

In a study by Toister Solutions, customers stated they expect companies to reply to their email within an hour.

This can be a tall order for teams that don’t have a system in place to manage customer emails.

Often, such teams forward emails from one inbox to another and manually sort through customer requests. 

This is where a smart email help desk would help – to categorize and assign emails to team members – and track the status of emails. All of this without sending a single email.

Try Hiver for Free

Send updates

Ecommerce companies have mastered the art of keeping customers in the loop about their orders every step of the way. There’s no reason why logistics companies cannot adopt a similar tactic for every step of the supply chain. This will help build customer confidence, and reduce the need for them to reach out to customer support.  

Around 40% of retail respondents in a survey stated that their end consumers demanded specific delivery slot selection, delivery options, and real-time visibility. 

Thus, those companies providing last-mile delivery should also allow consumers to update their delivery preferences in real-time. They should also inform providers if they will be available to collect a parcel. 

Companies can employ multiple channels such as email, web, push notifications, and SMS to send real-time updates to their customers. Various tools, such as Intercom and Amazon SNS, allow you to send push notifications to users. On the other hand, tools like TextMagic and SimpleTexting can be used for sending SMS updates. 

What end consumers demand in terms of delivery
What end consumers demand in terms of delivery

Optimize internal operations

Companies with simplified internal communication, collaboration, and operations are better equipped to handle customers’ requests. Engaging custom logistics software development services can further streamline these processes, introducing advanced automation and data analytics to enhance decision-making and customer satisfaction.

Fleet and fuel management, material handling, warehousing, stock control, each forms a crucial link in delivering an overall superior customer experience. 

Here are some ideas for optimization of internal operations for your team:  

Simplify collaboration

Customer service representatives often need input on matters such as warehousing capacity, arrival and departure times, and inventory management. For lack of a better option, teams juggle multiple external chat apps or lengthy email threads to collaborate with other team members and departments. 

Managing multiple communication apps is not only a hassle but also leads to higher response times and subpar experiences for customers. 

Luckily, shared inboxes provide a simple solution for logistics teams to collaborate without leaving their inbox. Customer service teams have the ability to discuss queries internally, and rope in other departments with a simple “@” message. 

They get a complete overview of actions taken on an email, whether it has been resolved or not, and comments from other team members. This eliminates miscommunication and helps teams move faster. 

Ultimately, smooth internal collaboration facilitates better customer interactions.

Use prediction software

Prediction software helps companies anticipate demand and better manage internal operations. How many fleets would you need to add to keep up with demand? Is your fleet ELD compliant and ready to take to the road? How do you best utilize your warehousing capacity? How should you schedule deliveries, given the weather and traffic conditions? These are some questions prediction software such as Transmetrics can help you answer.  

Improve supply chain visibility

At a logistics fair in Munich, Hapag-Lloyd revealed its new program, Hapag-Lloyd Live. The service offers real-time GPS locations, temperature information, and power alerts to its customers. The tool, and various other startups, are now pushing the frontiers of supply chain management and visibility. 

Says Juan Carlos Duk, Managing Director Global Commercial Development at Hapag-Lloyd, “Customers need more reliable supply chains, and the industry needs to change and invest sufficiently.” Gartner reports that supply chain visibility is among the top 3 funded initiatives in logistics, with 46% of leaders considering it a priority. This is why you see investment in tools like Transportation Management Software that provide improved insights.

How can more companies promote transparency and visibility at every stage of the supply chain? The solution comes in the form of IoT sensors and trackers. 

IoT trackers are physical devices that monitor and transfer real-time GPS location data. These can be attached to parcels or fitted inside cargo vehicles. As a result, customers are always in the know about the position of vehicles, weather and traffic conditions, as well as the temperature of the vehicle.  This reassures them their cargo will be delivered in the best quality. 

Camcode lists AIRcable Gateway, Aruba BLE, and AT&T Shipping Container as a few of the top IoT devices for tracking inventory. 

With the advancements in logistics app development, companies can further enhance supply chain visibility and streamline their operations. By leveraging logistics apps, organizations can achieve real-time tracking of shipments, optimize routes, manage inventory, and improve overall efficiency in the logistics process. These apps provide intuitive interfaces for monitoring and managing various aspects of logistics operations, empowering teams to make informed decisions and respond promptly to customer demands.

Take advantage of data

Delayed deliveries, half-filled containers, and empty trucks on return journeys are a result of poor planning and prediction. SaaS companies can help logistics companies overcome these hurdles using data and analytics. 

End customer expectations around delivery have soared in the past few years. Referred to as the Amazon effect, retail respondents in a survey stated that 48% of their end consumers demand next-day delivery, while 23% of consumers want same-day deliveries. Most of this demand comes from the B2C e-commerce sector. 

Analyzing historical voyage data helps companies solve the dual conundrum of forecasting demand as well as efficient delivery planning. 

Expectations of consumers in terms of delivery
Expectations of consumers in terms of delivery

There are two types of forecasts companies rely on. Medium to long-range forecasts is used for budgeting, planning new purchases, and building storage facilities. 

Short-term demand forecasts help plan day-to-day operations. For instance, with the help of tools such as Vanguard Software, companies can analyze data from various sources such as weather conditions, warehouse data, and on-the-road data to better plan routes, last-mile deliveries, and pick-ups. 

Tools such as Infoplus also help companies track metrics such as delivery times, pickup times, warehouse capacity, and more. This helps them increase efficiency across all areas of their logistics business. 

Increase efficiency with automation

automation in logistics - Logistics customer service
Automation in logistics

Essentially, automation in logistics customer service helps reduce the manual effort for your customer support representatives, allows them to focus on more complex issues, and provides quicker resolutions for your customers. 

A good customer support software can help you automate the following tasks: 

Categorizing and assigning customer emails

Depending on the size of your logistics operation, you may serve a few different types of businesses in different locations. You might also offer different types of services such as end-to-end deliveries, last-mile deliveries, and so on. In this case, it helps to have specific agents deal with customer emails based on their content. 

Manually sorting and filtering through emails can be a cumbersome process. Using Hiver, you can set up rules to automatically tag emails with customer names or the location (or anything all – to categorize them).

And then: you can have emails assigned to your team based on the above tags – or the subject line, and more. For instance, emails containing the words “ETA” or “pickup” may be routed to one agent, while those containing the words, “inquiry” or “feedback” may be routed to another. 

Setting up auto-responders

To begin with, set up an auto-responder that lets customers know you’ve received their request and an agent will get back to them as soon as possible. 

You can also set up automated replies for common customer queries such as transit times, prices, location inquiries, and pick-up scheduling. This saves your reps’ time, and ensures customers receive speedy responses.

Automated replies are not only useful for acknowledging customer service emails, but they are also handy in a few other situations. For example, you can set up auto-responders to inform customers when their cargo has left your warehouse, when it reaches its destination, and if the weather conditions turn unfavorable along the way. 

Similarly, you can also send automated emails asking for feedback after they’ve used your services or after they’ve interacted with customer support.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are the biggest challenges in customer service for logistics companies in 2024?

In 2024, logistics companies are facing challenges like managing increased demand due to online shopping, handling reverse logistics efficiently, and staying ahead in the competitive last-mile delivery market. Advanced customer service tools like Hiver can help address these challenges by streamlining communication and improving collaboration.

  1. How can technology improve customer service in logistics?

Technology significantly improves customer service in logistics by enabling more efficient order processing and real-time tracking, thus enhancing transparency and responsiveness. It also integrates advanced analytics to proactively manage delivery expectations and streamline communications, ensuring a smoother and more reliable service experience for customers.

  1. What features should a customer service tool for logistics offer?

A robust customer service tool for logistics should offer features like multi-channel support, automation for routine tasks, real-time analytics, and integration capabilities. Hiver, for example, excels by turning your inbox into a powerful customer service hub, facilitating seamless team collaboration and efficient email management.

  1. What strategies can logistics companies adopt to improve customer satisfaction?

Logistic companies can invest in efficient communication tools, optimize internal operations, and enhance supply chain visibility – all of which have a direct or indirect impact on customer satisfaction levels. The faster internal teams can communicate and collaborate in a logistics setting, the more efficient they become in responding to customers and resolving their queries on time.

Wrapping Up

Exceptional customer service should be a priority, not an afterthought. Those looking to provide superior customer services should take advantage of innovations such as collaboration software, artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analytics. 

Remember, your reputation as a dependable and customer-friendly logistics provider travels faster than any of your fleets. Focus on it before any other aspect of your business. 

Farheen Gani is a content marketer and writer for SaaS companies. She helps businesses grow with customer-focused content. She loves geeking out about content marketing on Twitter.

Deliver stellar customer support right from Gmail

* 7-day free trial | No credit card required
CTA image
Subscribe