The 'softer' side of 3PL and shipping matters, too

Dive Brief:

  • Once a 3rd party logistics company (3PL) establishes its capabilities, users should turn to examine the company's soft skills, such as white glove delivery, personal touches, and problem-solving as well, Inbound Logistics reported last month. 
  • Although measuring these soft skills may seem challenging, evaluating a shippers' on time-response, rate of proactive communication and knowledge of quality touches, such as thank you notes, can help identify an excellent carrier and the value system that they practice. 
  • Speed and cost-effectiveness will always be paramount, but adding communication and refinement to a customer's delivery experience can make the biggest difference.

Dive Insight:

Go ahead and blame the retailer. After all, customers do.

The fact is that 36% of consumers have a carrier preference when given the choice at checkout, and 31% admit that would choose not to shop with a retailer because of its choice of carrier. This preference reflects a customer's past experience with the carrier, and can indirectly wind up impacting a retailer, which may have packaged and shipped an item perfectly, only to have it crushed by a last-mile carrier. This misguided frustration aligns with a Dropoff study that found that 94% of consumers blame the retailer for poor delivery, while only 42% blame the delivery provider.

It pays for both retailer and manufacturer to concern itself with every aspect of the delivery process. Get to know your 3PL. Do some test deliveries. Find out in advance exactly what you'll find at your front door, and solicit feedback. The feedback received will assist all parties involved, making a more positive experience for everyone. Most importantly, put yourself in the place of your customer: would you be happy with how you receive your order?

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Filed Under: Logistics Procurement
Top image credit: Joost J. Bakker