Many 3PLs are all asking the same question. How can warehouses weather this economic storm and keep their existing customers happy? More important than ever before, and especially true for warehouses who focus on ecommerce fulfillment or may look to transition their warehouse to support ecommerce, customer experience needs to take priority.

Today’s 3PLs need to consider proven methods to retain customers and operate their warehouses more efficiently by utilizing the right technology and using ecommerce best practices. In some cases, warehouses may simply need to optimize their current workflows to continue to meet customer demands or win new business. In other cases, 3PLs may need to reconsider their approach to providing a positive customer experience to retain warehouse customers.

Improve the 3PL Customer's Experience

“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.” – Wayne Dyer

This sage advice from an American author also applies to the current economic predicament of every warehouse. Sure, we can’t control the economy – but we can control the impact we have on our customer experience and reduce operational costs by leveraging technology. Having the ability to pass these savings down to your warehouse customers can drive real loyalty.

How to Retain Third-Party Logistics Warehouse Customers

Keeping existing customers in an increasingly competitive third-party logistics warehousing environment can be challenging. Below are three ways your warehouse can keep customers happy and reduce operational overhead in the process.

Method #1: Have an organized process for collecting customer feedback

Every third-party logistics professional knows the importance of being “customer-centric”. However, what are warehouses doing to proactively take customer input and improve their customer experience? One of the most efficient ways to operate a customer centric warehouse is to implement a formal process for collecting and prioritizing customer feedback.

This critical customer feedback enables warehouses to learn how and where they can improve workflows and make the necessary changes to their WMS to meet and exceed customer expectations. One of the easiest ways for warehouses to gather feedback is by using surveys. Check out these free survey platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to start building your own.

Method #2: Provide transparency and visibility to improve the customer experience 

One of the most neglected parts of the customer experience is how customers can receive support or have their questions answered quickly. 3PL customers frequently have the same questions related to order processing, viewing their inventory status, and other basic operations. Using a WMS platform, like 3PL Warehouse Manager, that offers a customer portal gives customers visibility into their inventory. Allowing 3PL customers self-service to find these answers helps give warehouse staff the ability to focus on more pressing concerns within the warehouse.

3PLs can also proactively share information with customers such as notifications for low stock, shipping orders, and billing reports. With the right technology, you can automate processes to alleviate the need for warehouse staff to manually pull these reports. Sharing information in real-time will showcase transparency and trust between the warehouse and their customers, offering a great experience.

Self-Service Portals help with:

  • Sharing 100% accurate and real-time Information with the customer
  • Reducing customer requests for order status and minimizing the response burden on warehouse staff
  • Providing real-time email notifications when an order is received and shipped with tracking information

Method #3: Deliver modern ecommerce workflows to increase efficiency

The final way to differentiate 3PL warehouse services from competitors is by offering modern ecommerce capabilities to optimize customer orders. When warehouses have the opportunity to easily pick, pack, and ship orders with nearly 100% accuracy, their ability to please their customers increases exponentially. Using software that offers 3PLs the ability to measure and share these actions and results with their customers is also a huge opportunity for staff to focus on meeting shipping deadlines and increases productivity.

When securing new business for a 3PL experience warehouse, meeting customer requirements is a necessity. Warehouses looking to improve the customer experience must have end-to-end solutions for ecommerce and high-volume fulfillment to meet customer needs quickly. When combined with the self-serve customer portal to see shipments and inventory in real-time, 3PLs will have a winning combination to improve the customer experience.

Now more than ever, listen to warehouse customers so you can retain business and improve satisfaction. It is not too late to start gathering customer feedback to improve warehouse operations, provide a self-service to see inventory levels, shipments, and more, or providing automated ecommerce workflows to increase throughput.

Why Customer Experience Matters to 3PL Central

We don’t just preach about creating a positive customer experience. At 3PL Central, we live by it. We host regular Customer Advisory Board feedback sessions, have implemented customer feedback tools within 3PL experience Warehouse Manager, and built our own customer support portal to ensure customers can have real-time visibility of all their requests. To learn more about how we support our customers and how you can better support yours, schedule time to speak with one of our experts by visiting us here.

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