Ponder this. A little over a decade ago, customer service and customer engagement were terms reserved exclusively for direct consumer-facing businesses. Think retail chains, clothing boutiques, hospitality chains, and such. For them, at practically every step of their business process, they had to keep their customers’ needs, interests, and behaviour in mind.
Now, are we saying that such a concept was not prevalent in the B2B space? Certainly not. Yet, whether for a buyer like you and me, or another business which comes with certain requirements, customer service was not as widely discussed or brought into the open as it is today; more so, in core industries like logistics. We could say, in one way, that technology has also played a significant role in enhancing the quality of services provided by logistics companies, and as a result, companies in this space are looking beyond just providing a service. They’re working to provide quality, timely, and efficient service in order to stand out among their competitors.
Process optimization, efficiency, speed, and timing have become key metrics for logistics companies to stand out in the market. There are several digital transformations the industry is witnessing today. The first, and most important one, is the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that help companies wade through heaps of unstructured data and generate patterns and insights that help improve operations. The second is the availability of tracking tools that help trace a shipment from a manufacturing facility to the end-stage delivery. The third is the rapid increase in the number of 3PL (third-party logistics) providers who help control costs and reduce overheards. And lastly, the proliferation of autonomous vehicles and robots that enable companies to manage transportation and storage.
New market entrants and new business models
Closely linked to the digital disruptions in the industry, the sub-segment of logistics which is facing high competition is 3PL providers. As much as they are on demand, there’s also a slew of new market entrants with better technologies fighting for a share of the market.
Changing customer expectations
You could call it a chain reaction. Today, companies in the manufacturing space are mandated to proactively understand customer needs and increase their go-to-market pace. This, in turn, means logistics companies worldwide need to ensure shipments get delivered quicker, and that their operations are more flexible,more transparent, and affordable.
Among these, why does customer expectation take precedence? With the global transportation industry becoming highly competitive, while affordable pricing, timely delivery, and data adoption could help your business stay competitive, what will really set it apart is its ability to deliver quality service - one that creates repeat business and builds customer loyalty.
How can companies ensure customers remain at the core of their business? By adopting a customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Be it to track the progress you are making with your prospects, to measure how your business is performing, or to track your shipment status, a CRM for logistics software can ensure that you get a deeper, clearer insight into your overall business performance, while also improving speed, efficiency, and quality of customer interactions.
Your prospects may come from different sources: paid, excel imports, brokers, or other such sources. What happens once your leads get added into the CRM? In addition to the information you’ve gathered about the prospect, the CRM for Logistics software comes with an ability to auto-enrich features, by updating information from the prospect’s social profiles or any publicly available data.
This ensures that you have context into your prospect’s needs, interests, and behaviour when you engage with them, and this results in increasing your chances of closing a deal.
Once you know that the prospect is interested in transacting with you, the Logistics CRM software enables you to add your deals to a pipeline and track the progress you’re making with each prospect across deal stages. You can even identify bottlenecks in the process, and make business decisions accordingly.
How many deals have you closed this month? Which sources are your prospects coming in from? How are your teams performing? You can track this and much more by generating reports and even comparing reports on a dashboard in simple steps with a Logistics CRM software. Reports can help you track the nitty-gritty of how your teams and overall company is performing across different parameters, and help you come up with relevant strategies to improve your business.
Work smart, not hard could be an apt statement here. While digital transformation and technology adoption could be the major factors that will make your business stand out among competitors, the speed and quality of engagement with customers also play a vital role.
If your teams are going to spend a large portion of their day on manual tasks, it translates to lesser time spent in understanding and engaging with their customer better. A CRM for Logistics software can offer a simple workaround for this and save you hours of manual work by simply automating a large chunk of your tasks. For example, every time you enter a prospect’s data into a CRM and need to validate it, you can trigger an automated email to them as soon as the lead is created. This saves hours of work if you have a high number of prospects being added into the CRM every day. On the other hand, you can even set up workflows to move deals across stages, to raise invoice reminders, to assign prospects to specific team members, and much more.
Understanding your customer is not just about drawing information from their past transactions with your company, or creating a information repository of their interest and preferences. It’s also about being aware of their quality of experience with your business. Some customers might come back with issues pertaining to the loads not being assigned in time, challenges pertaining to delivery, or more. While on one hand it’s important to address these customer concerns, on the other hand, integrating your Logistics CRM with a support software will ensure that you can view the tickets raised by each customer right in the profile, so that when you approach them for a load or requirement, you have context on what their challenges are as well.
Thanks to structuring data and having a goldmine of information about your customer preferences from past transactions, you can now build a good rapport with them by sending targeted, customized emails from time to time to create recall, build loyalty, and even earn more referrals.
In the increasingly competitive world of logistics, technology, data, and customer management play a significant role in helping you stay competitive and generate higher revenues for your business. Freshsales CRM can be your one-stop platform to manage customer relationship end-to-end right from the time they enter the prospecting stage, to much after they begin transacting with you. With Freshsales CRM, not only will you have context into who your customers are and what they are looking for, but you can practically track your entire customer journey across stages in simple steps.