Products reach their value when they are in the hands of the customer, at the required time and place. The concept of customer service is this clear contribution of utility. The role of customer service in logistics processes is to achieve an added value as this allows to achieve a significant differentiation of the total supply derived from the value of the provided service to the value of the product itself.
The great importance of customer service comes, above all, from the fact that, together with quality and price, it shapes the consumer’s’ vision of products. The effectiveness of customer service depends to a large extent on the design and management of the logistics system. It is more than desirable to have a statement of the customer service in a company’s mission, and, on the other hand, to define the purpose of the company itself, as well as its limits and goals. This will allow a clear indication of the foundations on which the company seeks to consolidate its position of advantage. This position is also based on an approach in the relations of the company with the final customer.
If we analyze in depth the concept of customer service, we will realize that this represents a business philosophy, as well as an objective of all the elements that make up the organization when making executive decisions of all kind. For this reason, it is necessary to assume a common commitment in all the areas of your company, from the production department, through the finance department, to the marketing department. It is essential to prioritize the fact of giving a good level of customer service. This is one of the aspects that most represent benefits abroad, in the market. If a company manages to differentiate itself from the competition through customer service (and the good reputation derived from it,) the main consequence will be a strategic competitive advantage that perhaps competitors do not have.
Read also: 5 Reasons Why Your Logistics Are Failing, by David Kiger
Customer expectations grow in a directly proportional way to their requirements. These requirements are made on the level of the service received in daily matters such as the delivery times of the products, or the attention of warranty claims in case of damages. In the market, the influence of the brands on their products diminishes when the characteristics that differentiate several products of identical nature also disappear. So, here comes the choice of the customer: Why some people buy some products and not others, even though those they don’t choose are better and/or cheaper?
The commercial function of customer service has such relevance that without this, logistic processes could become useless. A satisfied clientele is simply a differentiating element between the offer of a company and its competence. Customers see this as an added value of a company’s products or services, and, of course, this value creates more demand. A company without a clear customer service policy, which is present throughout the whole supply chain, will eventually have many reputational problems.
The quality of the product and the reliability of the delivery, in many cases, substitute the price and the promotions as the criteria of decision when clients make an order. This is serious: The impact of customer service and logistics management on the effectiveness of the business function is best appreciated not only when the approach towards the end customer is introduced but also towards intermediaries. This is known as relationship marketing, and it is a vital issue when it comes to social media and e-commerce.
For an adequate organization of customer service, it is necessary to provide added value to the product and from a segmentation of customers, either by geographical area, volume of sales, or profitability, so that the logistics, financial or administrative functions, are coordinated in a consistent manner with the activities of orders, credit, storage, transportation, shipping, billing, and claims.
What is needed for this? You can start by creating a customer service department, which can be at the head of a single person, in case the organization is not very large. This department, or person, must have access to all available documentation. The logistics service can only respond to a customer service orientation if it includes auxiliary coordination mechanisms and processes which are designed to ensure that the defined purposes of customer service are achieved.
The level of service offered by your company directly affects the continuity of customer response. This, to the point of becoming an incentive element for sales that, in turn, provide results identical to those obtained through digital marketing, SEO, discounts, voice to voice, and advertising in general.
For this reason, the resources on customer service activities will provide you more benefits than those derived from the investment in promotion or customer recruitment campaigns. Getting a new customer is almost always more expensive than keeping the one you already have: The latter contributes more to the benefit and has the potential to grow in value and frequency of purchases. So, think about it.
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