Why a Strong Customer Support Team is Important When Choosing a 3PL

3PL customer support, logistics information
Author PhotoKyle Pendergrass - October 6, 2022

A strong 3PL customer support team is essential when selecting a logistics partner. Learn the characteristics of the best freight shipping support teams.

What’s in the article:

  • What 3PL support teams need to know

  • How strong support teams build trusted relationships

  • How logistics support teams become an extension of your business

  • How strong 3PL customer support improves visibility

There are many factors to consider when selecting a 3PL shipping partner such as shipping modes, technology, scalability, expertise, locations, and stability. But one of the most important attributes to look for when choosing a 3PL partner is a strong customer support team.

Receiving excellent support from your freight shipping partner frees you to focus on other elements of your business while your 3PL attends to transportation details. This improves visibility, overall operations, and ensures your customers have an excellent experience with your business, leading to growth.

Characteristics of a Strong Customer Support Team

What does a strong 3PL customer support team look like? Here are some key attributes to help you recognize the best team when you find them.

Knowledgeable Experts

Look for a 3PL with a customer support team consisting of subject matter experts in their field. They need to have detailed knowledge of things like transportation modes and shipping functions to improve your supply chain while saving you time and money. This understanding enables them to identify and address potential challenges to shield you from the many frustrations of the fast-paced and often unpredictable freight transportation industry.

In addition to industry knowledge, a strong 3PL customer support team develops an intimate knowledge of your specific business and supply chain. This enables effective mode optimization and load consolidation, plus the ability to agilely navigate difficult challenges. These support programs are tailored to how your business works, and your supply chain flows.

Establish Trusting Relationships with Shippers

Customer support team members are on the frontlines of interaction with your shipping business, speaking with your key shipping staff daily. Continuous communication enables the support team to understand your likes and dislikes, wants and needs to shape a support program based on your preferences.

This level of open communication between teams leads to a trusting relationship facilitating timely resolution if issues arise. And when unexpected challenges are encountered, your 3PL support team demonstrates a level of empathy and sympathy for how your business may be impacted. This enables your shipping partner to act as an extension of your business.

The best 3PL support teams are equally responsive to all your requests, regardless of urgency. Whenever you need their assistance, they are ready to help in a timely and accurate manner, so you can rest assured that you have an advocate on your side.

An Extension of  Your Business, Dedicated to Your Success

Strong 3PL customer support teams learn the important details of your specific business so they’re able to act as an extension of your business. Taking steps like an onsite visit, scheduled touch points with customer stakeholders, and continuous open dialogue will illuminate key details about your business. This enables the support group to perform as a member of your internal team, celebrating your victories and empathetically helping you during challenging times.

Provide Consistent Communication

The best logistic support team becomes familiar with key contacts within your organization and their communication preferences. This enables them to effectively communicate vital information with speed and clarity through your preferred method. The stronger the communication from the 3PL support, the more efficiently you’re able to act on this information.

Consistent communication must include proactive communication. This facilitates heading off potential problems before they become a reality, minimizing negative impacts on your operations or customers.

Improves Visibility and Reduces Stress

Look for a 3PL with an advanced transportation management system (TMS). This enables both you and the service team to track your shipments, view trends, and catch potential shipment challenges proactively. Plus, the support team can provide you with daily, weekly, and monthly shipment reporting to educate and empower your staff to guide intelligent internal decisions and plans.

The Value Add of Strong Customer Support

Ultimately, all the characteristics of a strong 3PL customer support team boil down to adding value to your process by streamlining and improving your shipping functions. The skill sets and experience of such a customer support team drive a level of performance that can’t be attained without a 3PL partnership.

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