This is part two in a two-part series. Read part one here.
In part one, we explored three ways that a 3rd party logistics company (3PL) can help make your customers happier, from ensuring secure credit card transactions to keeping you aware of inventories so customers don’t have to wait for backorders.
But that’s not all a 3PL can do, far from it. It can also handle the details when it comes to shipping and juggling returns — serious pain points for customers, according to UPS’s 2015 “Pulse of the Online Shopper.”
Shipping and Returns Can Be Handled Better
UPS found that only 62 percent of online shoppers are satisfied with the way that online returns and exchanges are handled and that 28 percent of customers paying for shipping expect to see their purchases in five days or fewer. These are both stressful demands that 3PLs can help you turn into customer-pleasing opportunities, by providing:
- Speedy shipments. It goes without saying that hiring a 3PL should help speed up shipments, but the way they do it can make for impressively fast package movement. Choosing a centrally located 3PL naturally cuts down on domestic shipping time, then their efficient picking and packing further shave time off of product processing.
By partnering with a variety of shippers, your 3rd party logistics partner can arrange for shipment via the fastest method available and send the shipment details ahead to the shipper via EDI so that all the paperwork is done before the package arrives. These steps can take days off the total trip of any given package, making it possible to meet increasingly short delivery window expectations.
- Customer web portals. Although customers are happy enough to track their shipments using UPS, USPS or FedEx portals, they can only tell so much about a package in transit from these sites. By providing your customers a web portal, they can follow their package from the moment they place the order to the minute it hits their porch. Knowing where their order is in the process, whether that’s picking and packing or waiting for the shipper, will give customers the tools they need to plan to either collect the package at home or arrange for alternative site delivery.
- Reverse logistics. Returns remain a devastating failure point for eCommerce businesses. Many don’t plan for returns or lack the staff to devote enough time to this part of the sales process. Customers, on the other hand, are screaming for better returns processes. Luckily, 3PLs have teams in place that do nothing but manage your reverse logistics. These specially-trained employees provide customers with the information they need to make a return and do their best to take the pain out of the returns process.
If your company is lagging behind because your customers aren’t completely satisfied, it may be time to talk to a 3rd party logistics company. These six ways outlined in this two-part series are just the beginning of what they can do to help improve your customer experience and increase customer happiness across the board.