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Kiri Burgess, InMoment’s Senior CX Consultant breaks down how a comprehensive CX strategy can better business results through higher profitability and greater customer retention in the logistics industry.
Over the last two years, there has never been more of an increased need to adapt to dramatic shifts in supply and demand. When I think about logistics and supply chain, I reflect on the things I couldn’t get a hold of easily in the pandemic: toilet paper, flour, chalk, dumbbells, bedside tables, timber and most recently, the right sized new school shoes! Thinking of these examples, it really struck me how unforeseen spikes in demand, such as overnight panic buying, can highlight just how fragile supply chains can be.
What Are The Challenges Across the Logistics Sector?
Not only have we been dealing with environmental impacts such as floods, earthquakes, bushfires, but there are a number of other challenges that come to mind:
- Consumer demand for certain products has skyrocketed overnight
- We have closed borders around the world
- We have had constantly changing working conditions, safety protocols, and contact rules impacting ourselves, our employees, our partners, and the way we work together
- In Australia, we have had multiple lockdowns, curfews, working from home, remote learning and customers have had to change the way they order, receive and return goods overnight
- And, digital has accelerated by around 5 years—with data peaks in the pandemic increasing 80 per cent on typical levels
No doubt, these challenges have demanded that brands adapt—and fast. As Alla Valente, Senior Analyst at Forrester put it, “If the mechanisms, processes and partners that power our value chain suddenly come to a grinding halt and we’re unable to deliver to our customers, then effectively we have no business.”
Where Are the Experience Opportunities Across the Supply Chain?
These challenges might sound overwhelming, but there are many opportunities to refine business processes and stand out by providing excellent experiences to partners and customers across the supply chain. Let’s break down what some of these opportunities might be.
- Speed: No matter where you are in the supply chain, we have customers waiting for goods to arrive—and the sooner they arrive, the better.
- Visibility: End-to-end supply chain visibility for ‘customers’ including raw materials, inventory levels, distribution timeframes, retail availability, and the exchange/returns process to name a few.
- Communication: Consumers are expecting transparent, accurate, and proactive communications across all levels of ordering, tracking, delivery, delays, returns.
- Collaboration: Elements of the end-to-end supply chain need to work together in partnership to better address hurdles such as getting product to where it needs to go quicker; or taking advantage of opportunities such as the increased desire for sustainability all along the supply chain.
- Safety: We need to provide safe working conditions for our staff, our partners, our customers, and ourselves.
These opportunities show that there has never been a greater need to adapt rapidly to dramatic changes in customer demand in an ever changing environment. Businesses need to think like their customers and act accordingly to continually deliver on their brand promise and meet customer needs.
How Can Your Customer Experience Program Save the Day?
We know that companies with comprehensive CX strategies achieve not just better customer results (such as higher NPS/CSAT, etc), but also better business results than those who don’t such as higher profitability and greater customer retention. To get those business results, we’ve put together a six step CX transformation framework for the logistics industry to thrive.
Step #1: Set Up Your CX Program With the End in Mind
To be successful, you need to identify and articulate what your program needs to achieve from a business and financial point of view. Think big picture— what is the business trying to achieve and most importantly, how does the program support that business or strategic goal?
Step #2 Create the Right Listening Posts
It’s never been more important to view the supply chain through the customer’s eyes—before, during and after order delivery. Implement a customer journey map to really understand the steps your customers go through and the moments that really matter along the way. Then, build out the right listening posts at those key moments. These listening posts can be through solicited feedback (such as surveys), unsolicited feedback (such as call notes, delivery notes, strategic planning conversation, social comments, or reviews), or inferred feedback (churn data, loyalty data, etc).
Step #3: Leverage Experience Data For the Richest Insight
Bring what you hear from your listening posts together for insight, remove data silos, and demonstrate relationships. First, start by understanding your feedback. Be sure to consider the most important experience drivers to clearly identify your business’ strengths and weaknesses from a customer point of view. Then, start to bring in relevant behavioural, operational and financial data to continually better understand your customer feedback and drive more meaningful business insights.
In this process of understanding what is important, remember to identify what you’re doing well, not just what you need to improve. Sharing and celebrating strengths and what you should continue to do is just as important.
Step #4: Build a Culture of Taking Action
To embed your CX program into the entire organisation, you need to facilitate getting your customer insights to the right people, in the right way, at the right time. Thoughts on how to do this:
- Start with frontline staff. Use real time dashboards and reporting for customer feedback to be incorporated into regular coaching or team huddles. Help your frontline staff understand from a customer’s point of view what excellent service looks like, recognise those who are delivering great experiences and drive the training required to get everyone to that level. In fact, some of our clients have brought in top performing frontline employees to help coach and train others.
- Use your customer stories to build empathy. Customer stories are great for illustrating the issues that are occurring and the impact this is having on customer’s lives or their business. Stories can come in all sorts of forms—it could be customer verbatim, audio, video or images.
Step #5 Tie Your Program to Financial Metrics and Strategic Goals
To prove the value the CX program is delivering, link back to the business, and financial goals that we identified at the foundational stage of program design. Often, financial benefits aren’t something you can prove right at the beginning, but be sure you have a plan to prove the return on investment of your program. Build ‘proving value’ into the design of your program, and as you work through this plan, keep stakeholders informed and iterate.
Step #6: Don’t Drop Momentum, Continuously Improve
The supply chain is constantly evolving and improving with digital technology innovation, hyper-automation, and end-to-end visibility. And, so should your customer experience program. Make sure you have a program roadmap to continuously evolve—consider where you will start and what you’ll work through next so you continuously build that sophistication over time.
Identify, communicate, and share this roadmap internally so everyone knows where the program is headed next. You can even bring key stakeholders into your program development process if you think it’s going to help with buy-in and engagement.
To learn more, check out InMoment’s webinar on Enabling CX Transformation in Logistics
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