As e-commerce continues to boom, asking more of your parcel shipping software to streamline deliveries, analyze data, and help inform future decisions is non-negotiable. The complexities of building and maintaining fully integrated and comprehensive parcel shipping technology make home-grown solutions less practical than ever.
In the inaugural post of this series, Why Buy? The Demise of Home-Grown Parcel Shipping Technology, we examined some of the modern complexities of parcel shipping and the intricate technologies enabling this supply chain function. In today’s post, the third in the series, we look at how parcel shipping technology can positively impact customer service and the complexities involved with making it all work seamlessly.
In the age of online shopping, customers expect only the best and fastest service at the lowest possible cost. In response, shippers are doing all they can to empower their customer service teams to deliver a top-notch customer experience from the moment a customer places an order to the moment it is delivered.
Sharing a tracking number and being ready to answer questions and provide updates is no longer enough. E-commerce businesses and online retailers increasingly seek to communicate more proactively with their customers, and advanced multi-carrier shipping software helps them do this in several ways.
Seeing is Believing: Visibility and Self-Service
Advanced multi-carrier shipping software will go beyond rate shopping and labeling and include a Control Tower that allows customers to track shipments in real-time, any time they want, and without needing to visit carrier websites–but a lot has to happen behind the scenes to make this happen. Achieving full visibility from order placed to delivery completed involves integrating multi-carrier shipping software with systems for e-commerce, warehouse management, carrier tracking, and more.
With these integrations successfully in place, multi-carrier shipping software not only empowers customers with real-time, on-demand delivery event updates (parcel has left the warehouse, parcel has arrived at the distribution center, parcel is out for delivery, etc.); the technology also empowers customer service representatives to solve problems and answer questions with ease. In fact, accessible, timely delivery event tracking often helps answer questions before customers even ask, proactively alerting customers to unexpected delivery delays, for example. This added benefit can lower call volumes and wait times and enable customer service representatives to better help those customers who still want to speak with a representative.
The Pitfalls of a Home-Grown Solution
Integrating multi-carrier shipping software with carrier, partner, and enterprise systems is complex, and to make the software useful to customer service teams, these integrations have to be maintained. Let’s use carrier tracking systems as an example.
After building native integrations between your home-grown multi-carrier shipping software and UPS, FedEx, DHL, and others, your developers’ work on those integrations isn’t over. The carriers will frequently update their software applications to a new version, which will likely break the integration your developers built in-house. As a result, your dev team will need to sink even more hours back into those particular integrations. (And you’d have to multiply this process by however many internally-built integrations you currently maintain.)
And while maintaining integrations helps with day-to-day operations, it doesn’t directly contribute to your company’s product(s), revenue, or strategy. Analyst firm Gartner reports that 90% of organizations “lack a postmodern application integration strategy and execution ability resulting in integration disorder, complexity, and cost.” In other words, in-house integrations and maintenance, being so low on the strategic totem pole, are often poorly-planned affairs.
Now translate this back to customer service. The minute your carrier integration(s) is broken, so too is your customer’s ability to track his or her package on your website, not to mention your customer service team’s ability to identify the unwanted delivery event in advance and take remedial action… So the unwanted delivery event catches all parties by surprise, and even worse: when your customer calls into customer service for support, your customer service rep lacks immediate access to the delivery data, forcing him or her to contact the carrier for information. Suddenly, there’s inefficiency and a lack of transparency in the one arena where you can’t afford a sub-par performance: customer experience.
Logistyx’s multi-carrier shipping software includes a Control Tower and features integrations with more than 8,500 carrier services as well as most leading supply chain and enterprise technologies, alleviating your dev team of the burden of integration maintenance and setting your customer service teams up for success around the clock. Explore our solution today.