How logistics businesses can develop a winning strategy to deliver a strategic ‘partner contact center’ with minimal investment and optimal results…
B2B businesses, particularly in the logistics space, are lagging in the digital journey they are offering to their customers when compared to other sectors. Most have customer attendance organizations in order but have struggled to realize the next big step – building digitized contact centers that can efficiently and proactively manage post-sales activities.
Doing so can transform a classic area of pain into a world of opportunity that can drastically improve customer acquisition and retention rates.
There is a call for action here, which can lead to great results provided that good foundations are laid to support the contact center strategy.
Where are B2B Logistics businesses today?
Logistics companies that are hesitant to take the leap are conscious that there may be inadequate understanding on their customer’s side with regards to the difficulties they may have down the road and the lack of visibility and transparency on the shipments they are managing on their behalf.
The graph below shows a snapshot of the maturity of the logistics sector on our digital radar.
Interestingly, freight forwarders and road logistics players have developed “asset-light” business models, where they are using third parties to manage the major share of their operations.
This model is based on a double promise:
- The promise of flexibility and competitive rates for their customers
- The promise of a regular, smooth flow of business and on-time payments to their suppliers
Thus, the question to answer is double-edged and not linked to customers only.
It must evolve into a dual commitment to make to both customers and suppliers. Therefore, customer service organizations must mature into partner service organizations.
What does this mean?
Companies will naturally want to start with customers for a lot of valid reasons, they are the revenue makers after all.
The winning approach will be to integrate as much as possible a parallel approach with suppliers.
What are the benefits of this approach?
A digitized partner contact center is one of the identified key elements to avoid being disrupted by pure digital players.
The risk of disruption can come from two fronts:
- Unhappy customers generating fewer revenue opportunities
- Unhappy suppliers not allowing you to match customers’ needs for speed and competitivity
6 Top Tips to Build a Winning Strategy
1.Walk before you run:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning laden sophisticated projects can only happen when you have built a solid ground and kick off some basic digitization programs. An efficient contact center that can run a multi-channel strategy on point (voice, mail, text messages) is the starting point for success.
2.Stick to standard:
Contact center IT solutions have been implemented for years in very complex environments: the key challenge is to trust their efficiency in principle and do the necessary groundwork to limit deviations from the standard, through change management actions and by adding transparency to the goals.
3.Adjust organizational setup and goals to the company’s vision:
Contact centers may be local, regional, or central, depending on how critical it is for the business to have close proximity to their customers. There are some cost impacts of being less central, but it can be compensated by greater productivity and enhanced customer knowledge. Provided that the data acquisition foundations and business processes are standardized, it does not harm the digital journey.
The same applies to contact center automation level and appetite for a self-service platform: the sooner you set your objectives, the more efficient you are in delivering the needed features.
4.Secure a quick data acquisition process:
The systematic case creation from day 1 of all incoming requests must be promoted then enforced. Promoting some level of automation to reduce transactional tasks may help reduce the pressure on your organization. Building knowledge must be part of the contact center’s primary objectives. This function must be energized from the start with dedicated people assigned to it.
5.Use Agile methods to deliver innovation/automation:
Logistics businesses must deploy agile methodologies to deliver innovative solutions around the following objectives:
- Chatbots treating 1st level inquiries
- Proactive information sharing: real-time events notification/ predictive ETA through enhanced connectivity with operational systems
- Upselling / lead generation / contribution to sales efficiency uptick
- Managing feedbacks/caring about them / learning from them
- Developing digital marketing
- Easy access to pricing / invoicing / statement of account on a self-service platform
6. Bag two wins with one strike
Last but not least, turn this customer contact center into a partner contact center, where you apply the same step-by-step approach for your suppliers, using similar digital capabilities to improve supplier experience, raising attractivity and retention levels, therefore allowing you to grow and be the leader of your ecosystem because you care equally for your customers and suppliers – your ‘partners’.
We have helped European customers in the logistics and the consumer goods sector to define their action plan and priorities, and select the right contact center tools for their IT landscape. We enable leading players in this space to secure their implementation and advise them on the necessary change management strategy to build complimentary digital layers in their ecosystem that allows process efficiency, automation, and the creation of self-service platforms displaying real-time information. Want to learn more about Partner Contact centers? Contact our experts today.
Associate Partner, Infosys Consulting
Lionel has 20 years of experience in the logistics and transportation industry. He spent the last two decades leading the IT and business process transformation of CMA CGM before deciding to move to the strategic consulting area. He joined us recently as an associate partner, within our consumer goods, retail, and logistics practice in Europe, with a specific focus on driving digital transformation programs for leading clients in the French market. Lionel was formerly the CEO of CMA CGM Brazil, as well as the CMA CGM Group’s regional leader for east coast South America. He completed a management program at INSEAD and graduated from the University of Montpellier and Saint-Etienne in Economics.