The Role of Customer Service In The Supply Chain

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Did you know that almost 69% of people refuse to do any further business with a company because of bad customer service? That’s a massive blow to a business’ revenue, just because you weren’t “nice” to people!

We joke, of course, but one cannot deny the influence good customer service can have on your business. In the age of easily accessible information, word travels at lightning speed. Reputations can be gained and lost very quickly based on your interactions with customers.

That is why modern businesses work hard to integrate customer service into their supply chain. 

But while customer service is usually considered the face of the business, the supply chain happens behind the scenes. What role can customer service and support possibly play in dealing with logistics? Well, let’s elaborate on that below!

What Is Customer Service In The Supply Chain?

Customer service in the supply chain refers to the comprehensive set of activities and strategies aimed at satisfying customer needs and ensuring a positive experience throughout the entire supply chain process. It encompasses the interactions, support, and assistance provided to customers from the moment an order is placed until the product is delivered and beyond. According to a Geodis supply chain survey, up to 70% of business organizations believe their supply chains are either “extremely” if not “very” complex. 

At its core, customer service in the supply chain involves understanding and anticipating customer requirements, addressing their concerns promptly, and exceeding their expectations. It involves effective communication, responsiveness, and a commitment to delivering high-quality products or services in a timely manner.

One crucial aspect of customer service in the supply chain is order management. This includes accurate order processing, order tracking, and proactive communication with customers regarding order status updates, potential delays, or any other relevant information. Transparent and timely communication builds trust and enhances customer satisfaction.

Additionally, customer service in the supply chain involves efficient and reliable logistics operations. This includes careful inventory management, streamlined warehousing, and transportation processes to ensure products are available and delivered on time. Proper packaging, labeling, and documentation also contribute to a positive customer experience.

Resolving customer issues and handling returns or exchanges is another vital component of customer service in the supply chain. Promptly addressing complaints, offering solutions, and providing hassle-free return processes demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Furthermore, technology plays a crucial role in enhancing customer service in the supply chain. Implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, order tracking tools, and automated communication platforms enable companies to manage customer interactions more effectively and provide real-time updates.

The Role Of A Customer Service Representative

The role of a customer service representative in the supply chain is vital in ensuring a seamless and satisfactory customer experience. Customer service representatives act as the frontline communicators and problem solvers, serving as a bridge between the customers and the various departments within the supply chain.

One of their primary responsibilities is to address customer inquiries, concerns, and complaints promptly and effectively. They serve as a point of contact for customers, providing information about product availability, order status, and resolving any issues that may arise during the order fulfillment process.

Customer service representatives also play a crucial role in order management. They assist customers in placing orders, ensuring accuracy in order details, and coordinating with other teams such as logistics and inventory management to ensure timely delivery.

Moreover, customer service representatives act as advocates for customers within the supply chain. They gather feedback, identify areas for improvement, and relay valuable insights to the relevant departments to enhance overall customer satisfaction.

Features Of Customer Service In The Supply Chain

1. Rising Demands

With the advent of modern communication channels, it’s now easier than ever to get in touch with your favorite brand. Most brands, as part of their branding process, employ social media as a direct link to their customers and followers. 

As such, the demands from your customers concerning customer service are very high. With such a direct line of communication available, most customers won’t appreciate slow responses – or worse, no response at all. If you mess up, you can’t just put people on hold. Your customers will see and feel your absence, and the disgruntled ones will spread word of your failure to all who will listen.

Thus, transparency becomes the number one priority for a business, after marketing. Customers are now much better informed and have greater access to info than ever before, and they will demand that you be honest and truthful with them in all aspects of your venture. 

Customers are also now far more informed when it comes to overall knowledge of the products and services they’re buying, as well as of your particular niche. Guides and review articles are aplenty on the internet, and anybody with a bit of willingness and time can educate themselves quickly and easily. 

With that, your business cannot display ignorance about your products or services. Customers now demand that they be served by experts, and experts in your own field employing your services will be quick to point out if you and your staff don’t know what they’re doing or talking about. 

Finally, customers demand empathy from your customer service. The old adage “customer is always right” doesn’t mean that you should be enslaved to your customers, but that their issues should be taken seriously and looked over carefully.

There is nothing more customers hate than being put on hold and made to wait. 85% of customers expect brands to respond within six hours of being contacted via social media, and the majority (52%) want their problem to be resolved quickly. 

After all, time is money and your customers will quickly switch to your competitor if you leave them waiting for too long. If you leave your customers hanging, this will signal them that they aren’t important, and that you’re only interested in their business, rather than their satisfaction. You can quickly gain a reputation for being callous and money-grubbing, which will surely have a massive impact on your company’s image later down the line. 

2. Integration

As we said in the beginning, your supply chain is something that happens behind closed doors. And, while it is not important for customers to be privy to the inner workings of your supply chain, your customer service will definitely benefit from the close cooperation of the two elements. 

One of the biggest things modern businesses strive towards is integration of customer services with order systems. This kind of integration allows your customer service reps to quickly gain insights about all orders, and provide your customers with that information when they need it.

After all, most of the interactions between a customer service rep and a customer will come down to their order. Armed with all the information necessary, your customer service representative can better understand the issues your customers present them with, and they’ll be that much more effective at resolving said issues.

With that said, many companies are now investing heavily into warehouse management systems, as well as automation. These WMSs provide businesses the ability to integrate multiple elements of customer service, supply chain and order fulfillment, into a single logistics system.

Thus, companies become better equipped to fulfill orders, and enhance their customer experience immensely by having a single system create an order, handle the packaging, ready the package for delivery and finally deliver the product. In combination with automation, this system becomes extremely efficient, while allowing the order to be tracked every step of the way, enabling maximum transparency both for the customer and your reps. 

3. Customer Satisfaction

In the end, the key role of customer service within your supply chain is customer satisfaction. Without being able to satisfy your customers through the product itself, the service, the speed of delivery and with transparency of your process, you’ll be left behind the competition.

You can have the best lead gen companies working to supply you with quality leads, but if you cannot satisfy the customers you already have, you’ll quickly find yourself unable to convert those leads.

Ultimately, running a business all comes down to satisfying the customer’s demands for quality products, speedy delivery, transparent communication, and empathic, informative and able service. 

Once you have all those elements down, you can truly claim that you’ve reached peak customer satisfaction. And once you integrate that satisfaction with your supply chain, you’ll find it much easier to grow your business, and acquire new customers. 

Final Words

Achieving ultimate customer satisfaction is no easy feat. There are a lot of elements and moving parts to making it work. However, as evidenced by many popular and well-liked brands today, this goal isn’t impossible to achieve.

It won’t happen overnight, though. The key is educating yourself and your staff, innovating and learning lessons from your peers. And, most importantly, remaining flexible: only the brands that are willing to adapt their ways in the modern business landscape are the ones that will thrive.

About the author

Sophie Douglas is a digital marketing specialist and a journalist based in Columbus, state of Ohio.

Her characters are passionate, innovative, and ambitious. Before becoming a writer for DigitalStrategyOne, she was writing short stories, screenplays, and directing short films.

FAQS

What is the transaction fee for a Shopee seller?

Shopee charges sellers a 2.24% transaction fee for every successful transaction using Shopee’s payment services.

Does the shipping fee go to the seller?

No, the shipping fee does not go to the seller. The shipping fee is paid to the logistics partner that delivers the product to the buyer.

Who pays for shipping on Shopee?

The buyer pays for shipping on Shopee. The seller sets the shipping fee for their products, and the buyer is charged this fee when they checkout.

What is the cheapest way to ship?

The cheapest way to ship on Shopee depends on the product’s weight and dimensions. Standard shipping is usually the cheapest option for small and lightweight products, while non-weight-based shipping may be more economical for bulky or lightweight products.

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