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Highest Quality Logistics Services: Balance People with Technology

January 19, 2024 Rick LaGore

First Class Customer Service

Technology alone is not what provides the highest level of customer service, but instead the quality of the logistics service provider's direct day-to-day operations liaison that drives the customer experience equation for shippers.

Backing this claim up was an article published by the Journal of Commerce (JOC) entitled Stronger Intermodal Service in H2 Leads to High Customer Satisfaction: Survey where the JOC queried intermodal shippers on the service they received from the intermodal providers. While JB Hunt received top billing, the smaller IMCs scored highest in five of the six categories, with JB Hunt coming in second. Shippers said they valued service over price and the smaller IMCs were able to outshine the larger intermodal providers because of their personalized approach. 

While it's hard to believe that many companies operate their logistics departments off spreadsheets, it is also hard to believe others base their sole existence on technology to drive their logistics strategy. I'm sure artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will change the equation in a faster period of time than we all can imagine, but for now the best logistics service solution involves a good balance between human intelligence & communication and technology.

In other words, validation and review of the daily operations contact should be a requirement in your carrier vetting process, along with gaining a thorough understanding of the operational process from freight tender. The reason for the latter question is some freight operations are structured by shift and task, while others like us here at InTek Freight & Logistics manage it by aligning their team by customer. 

We’ve found that the management of the freight operations by customer provides a superior service. That's because under this model, the contact remains the same from origin-to-destination and the single point of contact develops a deep understanding of their customers’ businesses - also building relationships with their contacts that allow them to provide the service each expects. With this structure, customers really appreciate not having to guess who to contact at what hours of the day or night. They also don't have to waste time and effort explaining their company's unique featuers to a call center representative that often knows nothing about their business.

What Is Customer Experience?

In the logistics industry, understanding the difference between customer service and customer experience is crucial. While both are important aspects of a successful business strategy, they play distinct roles in shaping your company's reputation and growth.

Customer Service Vs. Customer Experience

Customer service, at its core, refers to direct interactions between a business and its customers and how well you respond to inquiries or complaints, and provide solutions for problems encountered during the shipping or delivery process by companies.

Customer experience, on the other hand, encompasses every interaction a client has with your brand from their first encounter with your website or sales team through each touchpoint in their journey as a customer. It's about creating an overall positive impression that makes clients want to continue doing business with you.

The Importance of High-Quality Customer Service in Logistics

High-quality customer service can be seen as the backbone of any successful freight company. It directly impacts satisfaction levels and retention rates among existing customers while attracting new ones. In this highly competitive sector where truckload costs matter significantly, timely delivery, excellent communication skills, prompt problem resolution capabilities along with technological prowess offered by transportation management technology becomes paramount for providing superior quality services.

Paving the Way for Enhanced Customer Experience

To improve upon these facets of logistics operation requires proactive strategies such as, regular staff training programs aimed at enhancing soft skills amongst employees handling client communications and investing in advanced technologies capable of streamlining operations thereby improving efficiency etc. All contribute toward elevating the overall customer experience provided.

With improved customer experience comes increased customer loyalty, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. Ultimately, this can translate into a significant competitive advantage in the freight industry.

All said, good customer communication helps maintain and elevate brand image, creating trust and preference among users. With more than 58% of customers willing to pay extra for superior support - and 70% willing to pay more for a convenient experience - it's clear that customers place significant value on their service providers. While this study is consumer based, it translates well into expectations at home and in business.

To enhance logistics customer service, companies must adopt strategies such as leveraging technology for better communication and committing to going the extra mile. These actions are vital not only for appeasing clients, but also crucially affect profit growth by fostering long-term relationships.

The Significance of High-Quality Customer Service in Logistics

Quality customer service in logistics is more than just a pleasant conversation; it's the backbone that supports every interaction and transaction within this dynamic industry. As companies grapple with evolving consumer expectations, they find that high-quality customer service becomes not only an operational imperative, but also a strategic advantage.

Building Brand Loyalty Through Exceptional Service

In the competitive landscape of logistics, brand image can hinge on each customer encounter. Stellar service is essential for cultivating trust and preference among clients, the two key ingredients to fostering long-term relationships. This kind of loyalty isn't earned overnight; rather, it blossoms from consistent positive interactions that reassure customers their needs are understood and valued.

The aforementioned study  reveals an eye-opening trend: that consumers don’t mind paying up if it means receiving superior service. This statistic underscores how quality customer care translates directly into business growth—a fact savvy logistics companies cannot afford to ignore.

Strategies for Enhancing Logistics Customer Service

To improve logistics' customer experience markedly requires adopting multiple strategies harmoniously aligned with modern shipper demands. These methods often revolve around three pillars: technology adoption, effective communication, and going beyond what’s expected.

Embracing Technology for Customer Satisfaction

The right technological tools streamline operations while providing supply chain visibility, a crucial factor when issues arise or updates are needed quickly. Technologies that offer instant support options making help accessible precisely when customers need them most thus eliminating much frustration associated with waiting times during critical moments like delivery delays caused by weather reports or other unforeseen circumstances impacting transit times.

Communication as a Trust-Building Tool

Evidence suggests maintaining open lines of communication (and visibility) throughout delivery processes strengthens client relations immensely, because informed clients feel empowered through tracking updates about their shipments’ progress, which increases satisfaction levels significantly. 

Moreover, we continue to find that the speed with which the team resolves an issue is directly proportional to customer service scores and ranks amongst top metrics assessing overall performance regarding responsiveness. Quickly jumping to the "rescue" reflects greatly upon the company's reputation, hence emphasizing why effective dialogue remains the central theme within any successful marketing strategy aimed at keeping customers contented (while simultaneously attracting new ones).

Going Beyond What's Expected

Customers appreciate not having to look back on shipments they've tendered to see if the shipment has performed as planned. Shippers want to know the shipment is going to pick up and deliver as was requested. While that does not seem too much to ask - and doesn't seem to be going beyond what's expected - it often is, as a panelist in the JOC Inland Conference noted to their surprise.

In the Journal of Commerce Quarterly Intermodal Service Scorecard,  the biggest factor in the quality of service was the customer's direct contact on daily operations. This is probably why the medium-sized IMCs, like us here at InTek, score highest in quality of service.

Leveraging Positive Customer Experiences for Business Longevity

In the competitive world of logistics, customer service is not just a department; it's an ethos that should permeate every facet of your operations. The quality of customer experiences related to a logistics company can make or break relationships with clients and significantly impact bottom lines.

Why High-Quality Customer Service Matters

A high level of customer service in logistics ensures seamless communication between all parties involved in freight transport. It helps to:

  • Resolve issues promptly
  • Keep everyone informed about changes
  • Foster trust among stakeholders

This leads to improved client retention rates, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and ultimately more business opportunities.

The Role of Technology in Enhancing Customer Service

Those freight management companies that score the highest in the customer experience understand the role technology plays in enhancing customer experiences, not the customer experience. They understand technology is a tool to help their operations, not THE tool to manage all aspects of moving freight for customers.

By leveraging state-of-the-art transportation management systems (TMS), companies can streamline their processes while providing real-time tracking information to customers - fostering transparency and building trust.

  • TMS allows you to automate routine tasks like scheduling pickups/deliveries or generating invoices, which frees up time for employees to focus on resolving complex issues that require human intervention.
  • Real-time tracking features enable customers to monitor their shipments at any given point, thereby reducing anxiety associated with uncertainties around delivery timelines.
  • Data analytics capabilities provide insights into performance metrics, enabling continuous improvement initiatives.

Maintaining a Proactive Approach

Beyond adopting advanced technologies, maintaining a proactive approach towards addressing potential problems before they escalate is another key to exceptional customer service. This means anticipating common issues that might arise during the shipping process and having contingency plans in place.

For instance, if there's a delay due to unforeseen circumstances like weather disruptions or equipment breakdowns, proactively communicating this information with clients helps manage their expectations and reduces dissatisfaction levels.

High-quality customer service is critical for business longevity in the logistics industry. By leveraging technology and maintaining a proactive approach towards problem-solving, companies can enhance their customers' experiences leading to improved client retention rates and more business opportunities.

Key Takeaway: 

Exceptional customer service in logistics isn't just nice to have, it's the lifeline for growing your business and building a brand that clients trust. Companies using tech smartly, communicating effectively, and consistently exceeding expectations are setting themselves apart as leaders in satisfying modern consumer demands.

Strategies for Enhancing Logistics Customer Service

In the competitive landscape of logistics, companies that leverage strategies to improve customer service not only stand out but set themselves up for sustained success. Effective tactics encompass technology integration, enhanced communication, and an unwavering commitment to exceed expectations.

Embracing Technology for Customer Satisfaction

The adoption of advanced technologies can lead to significant enhancements in client satisfaction by streamlining processes and ensuring a smooth logistics experience. Consider how tools like real-time tracking updates and automated notifications have transformed expectations; customers now anticipate visibility into their shipment's journey from start to finish.

To this end, implementing a robust TMS becomes invaluable. A TMS can offer supply chain visibility that is crucial not just for operational efficiency but also as part of quality customer service in logistics. With features such as detailed weather reports affecting transit times or AI-driven recommendations on faster delivery routes, clients gain insights they never knew they needed and won't want to do without once experienced.

Beyond tracking capabilities, technology such as live chat offers instant access to support teams. Immediate response time is no longer a luxury but an expectation among modern consumers who seek fast solutions. 

To add to it, technology can also be used to bring in outside market data to create a robust reporting tool to help customers understand their costs and service levels in comparison to what others in the market are experiencing for the same freight lanes they operate. This service used to be available only through high-priced consultants, but in today's data-driven freight markets, this can be an added feature to enhance the overall customer experience knowing they are within current market rates.

Communication as a Trust-Building Tool

Maintaining open lines of communication isn't merely about keeping customers informed, it's about building trust through transparency during every step of the delivery process. It starts with setting clear expectations around delivery times, then continues with proactive outreach should issues arise which we know is going to happen. 

By employing effective communication strategies within your team members' workflows you solidify your company’s reputation, while appeasing clients who value honesty above all else when dealing with delays or other hiccups.

A pivotal component here involves training those that are on the frontline with customers thoroughly, so each member can handle issues competently and confidently, which is a direct reflection on both product quality and overall brand image in the eyes' of the customers served by logistic firms today. It stands to reason why investing efforts towards improving these skills across the board will yield substantial dividends in long-term relationship building with those served on a regular basis, particularly given the high costs associated with acquiring new customers versus retaining existing ones. It speaks volumes to potential profit growth areas that are too often overlooked amidst the day-to-day operations grind. After all, satisfied customers are likely to become advocates and recommend products and services to others, effectively becoming extensions of the marketing strategy at large.

In practice, though, what does this look like? It's about bringing ideas to life and tackling challenges head-on. We're talking real-world applications that show off the theory in action. So when we dive into a project, it's not just about hitting milestones; it's also about learning and adapting as we go. That way, we keep improving every step of the way.

Key Takeaway: 

Superior customer service in logistics is a game-changer, driving growth by using tech like real-time tracking and robust TMS for transparency and efficiency. Quick, competent support responses are expected; they build trust and turn satisfied customers into brand advocates.

Effective Communication Metrics in Logistics

What's the difference between communication and effective communication?

Communication refers to the exchange of information, thoughts, or ideas between individuals or groups. It involves conveying a message from a sender to a receiver through various channels such as spoken or written words, gestures, or visual elements.

Effective communication, on the other hand, goes beyond the mere transmission of information. It involves conveying a message in a way that ensures the intended meaning is accurately understood by the receiver. Effective communication considers the needs, perspectives, and background of the audience, aiming to minimize misunderstandings and promote a shared understanding.

Key differences between communication and effective communication:

  • Clarity and Understanding: Communication may involve conveying a message, but effective communication ensures that the message is clear, easily comprehensible, and accurately interpreted by the recipient.
  • Feedback: Effective communication often includes a feedback loop, allowing the sender to confirm that the message has been received and understood. This helps in addressing any potential confusion or misinterpretation.
  • Engagement: While communication may be one-sided, effective communication encourages engagement and interaction. It considers the audience's feedback, questions, and responses to enhance mutual understanding.
  • Purposeful: Effective communication is purposeful and goal-oriented. It aims to achieve a specific objective, whether it's providing information, persuading, instructing, or building relationships.
  • Adaptability: Effective communication adapts to the needs and characteristics of the audience. It considers factors such as cultural differences, language proficiency, and individual preferences to enhance communication effectiveness.
  • Non-Verbal Cues: Effective communication takes into account not only the words spoken or written but also non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to convey the intended message accurately.

Last, but not least, the point of effective communication that is often lost is that email and text messages are not the most effective tools in all circumstances, particularly when there are issues that need both parties to engage to come to a resolution. So, for heaven's sake get outside your comfort zone and pick up the phone and have a verbal conversation, when it is needed.

While communication is a broad concept encompassing the exchange of information, effective communication emphasizes the quality of the interaction, ensuring that the message is not only transmitted but also received and understood as intended. It involves conscious efforts to minimize barriers, consider the audience, and achieve specific communication goals.

Maintaining Effective Communication with Customers

As logistics professionals, we know that clear and efficient communication is the backbone of stellar customer service. The real question is how to measure it effectively. We often turn to team resolution time as a starting point, considering it a reflection of our ability to address and fix customer issues swiftly. But there's more nuance here than meets the eye.

The handle time metric comes into play as well; not just measuring how quickly an issue is resolved but also understanding the complexity and nature of each problem encountered. It’s about striking a balance between thoroughness and efficiency, while ensuring customers feel heard without wasting precious seconds.

And let's not forget about Customer Satisfaction Scores. These scores provide us with direct feedback from those who matter most, the customers themselves, giving us insight into whether or not we've met their expectations for service quality.

The Impact on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

A critical aspect often overlooked in logistics is how effective communication can lead directly to heightened satisfaction rates which, in turn, fosters loyalty among clients. Our latest benchmark report underscores this connection: companies excelling at keeping lines open have consistently higher satisfaction metrics.

Keep in mind, shippers not only want their goods delivered promptly, but also value being kept informed every step along their supply chain journey.

This data serves as both validation for current practices around maintaining effective communications and motivation for continuous improvement efforts within our industry's client interactions landscape where even incremental changes can make substantial impacts on long-term success rates.

Key Takeaway: 

Measuring team resolution time and handle time is key, but the true gold standard in logistics communication is Customer Satisfaction Scores. They show if we're meeting expectations and drive loyalty.

Data proves customers will pay more for better service, emphasizing the need for clear updates throughout their supply chain journey.

Understand the difference in using the correct tool when communicating. Communication tools that convey a message via a keyboard are more announcement related, while a phone conversation is an equal two-way means of communicating. Both have a place and need to be used for the correct situation.

Unifying Communications for Streamlined Customer Interactions

In the logistics landscape, where every second counts and clarity is key, unifying communications stands as a linchpin to operational success. Minimizing customer touchpoints while maintaining thorough communication channels offers a smoother journey not just for goods in transit but also for the invaluable human element, the customers.

Embracing Technology for Customer Satisfaction

To keep pace with today’s expectations, logistics firms are turning to advanced solutions like Front software for logistics teams. This technology acts as an orchestration platform that consolidates various communication methods into one cohesive system. The result? A marked reduction in response time and elimination of siloed conversations which often lead to errors or delays.

The benefits here extend beyond mere convenience; they translate directly into heightened customer satisfaction levels. By leveraging such unified systems, clients receive swift updates on their shipments, whether it is through email, live chat or social media. All accomplished without having to repeat information across different platforms.

Communication as a Trust-Building Tool

Maintaining effective communication within the supply chain isn't simply about keeping customers informed, it's about building trust through transparency. In scenarios where weather reports might delay delivery times or when unexpected issues threaten transit times, real-time tracking updates can transform potential frustration into appreciation by managing expectations accurately.

This approach fosters long-term relationships with clients who come to recognize your brand not only as reliable but also genuinely committed to their experience.

Leveraging Positive Customer Experiences for Business Longevity

The correlation between exceptional customer experiences and business longevity cannot be overstated, especially considering how fragile new businesses can be; consider that roughly one-fifth do not surpass their first year, while half succumb before hitting the five-year mark. Delivering consistently high-quality service thus becomes more than just best practice; it evolves into a survival strategy amidst cutthroat competition.

A single positive interaction has the power not only to secure another transaction but potentially turn customers into advocates who recommend products based on their great service experience alone, an outcome exponentially valuable compared against traditional marketing strategies’ ROI metrics.

Key Takeaway: 

Streamlined communications in logistics are crucial for operational success, leading to smoother customer journeys and increased satisfaction through technologies like Front software.

Effective communication is key to building trust with customers; it can turn challenges into opportunities for enhancing loyalty by managing expectations transparently.

Exceptional customer service isn't just best practice—it's essential for business survival, transforming satisfied customers into powerful advocates.


The importance of high-quality customer service in logistics cannot be overstated. By delivering consistently positive experiences, businesses can reduce failure rates and ensure longevity in a competitive market. 

Building brand loyalty through exceptional service, embracing technology, and effective communication are key strategies for enhancing logistics customer service. By unifying communications and striving for seamless experiences, businesses can drive growth and build loyalty with their customers.

Customer service is key. It's what keeps logistics ticking, from fostering brand loyalty to ensuring repeat business. Remember the importance of high quality customer service in logistics, it’s a game-changer.

Go the extra mile. In our tech-driven world, adopting new tools can mean faster responses and happier customers. Make sure your team knows this inside out.

Communicate effectively. Whether it's through live chat or weather reports for delivery updates, clear communication builds trust with every shipment sent and received.

Leverage experiences; they're powerful growth engines that drive long-term success by keeping customers satisfied and spreading positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

In conclusion, don't underestimate how these practices can transform your company into one where quality customer service is not just an aim but a guarantee, a true hallmark of excellence in logistics services.

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