If good business practices were a machine, solid customer satisfaction ratings would be the ignition spark that sets the whole thing in motion. Reliable, periodic "tune ups" in the form of feedback and adjustments help keep everything humming along— and they may also reveal some opportunities for improving your logistics approach.
Here's a few of the best practices, plus a peek at who has the upper hand: in-house logistics or 3PL.
There’s No Time Like the Present
In a recent SurveyMonkey poll, a whopping 83% of responding businesses who self-described as "successful" use customer satisfaction metrics like polling and questionnaires to keep themselves informed. If you haven't started formulating and incorporating these metrics yet, it's never too late to begin the process.
Point: In house. While outside allies are more likely to become a stronger force in the implementation process, your in-house logistics team may be helpful in drafting the initial questions that should be posed to your customers. They are familiar with the product and the business flow of your company, and offer a slight edge when it comes to phrasing queries that will assist in needed changes.
Keep it Simple
Your customer satisfaction surveys should only be a few questions. You're more likely to get honest answers and full feedback when you aren't demanding a lot of your customers' time. Stick to broad impression questions, such as their overall opinion of their experience with your company on a 5 point scale or simple yes/no questions about whether they'd return or recommend your services.
Point: Third Party Logistics. While it's possible to work with your in-house logistics manager(s) to send out and receive surveys, it typically involves adding a step— distributing the surveys or accurately collecting the answers and getting them to the right person in the company. This can cause confusion and a learning curve that can skew results, while a third party company is more likely to be familiar with this need.
Frame Your Expectations
Asking questions is all well and good, but if you don't know what you're looking for or what steps you'll need to take if results come back with x or y information, you're just treading water.Before you distribute your first survey— or issue the request to have your 3PL do it for you— consider how you'll turn the results into an actionable motivator.
If your customers say they wouldn't recommend you to their friends, or that they wouldn't return for another visit, how will you change their minds? The end goal of any customer satisfaction effort is to help make your business better, so be sure you're ready to put that information to good use.
Point: Third Party Logistics. More adept at gathering and quantifying information from customer surveys, an outside company is less likely to get lost in the weeds if the information flowing back in isn't expected. There's a lot to be said about a calculated reaction rather than a knee-jerk one - especially in business - so letting someone else do the gathering while your company formulates a response is just good sense.
And the Winner Is…
The third party provider, for a variety of reasons.
The distance and external 'space to think' that an outside vendor provides allows your company to gather feedback efficiently and respond in a measured, targeted way that keeps you moving forward. Your customers are the most important aspect of your success, so if you aren't listening to them it's definitely time to start. Keep it simple and make a plan for what comes next and you'll be as satisfied as your market share is!