Logistics Industry February 28, 2011
A Day in the Life of a CSR
Customer Service! Customer Service! Customer Service! As a National Accounts Sales Manager, I am quite often asked by prospective clients what level of customer service they will receive if they join McKenna Logistics Centres. Logistics companies use all different strategies when it comes to customer service-however; the client only wants one thing: someone that is dedicated to their account and will get to the bottom of their issues or concerns in a timely manner. As sometimes happens, Customer Service Representatives' (CSR) are busy, overwhelmed, and dealing with multiple client questions, concerns, and issues all day every day. As a client, it becomes very important to understand a day in the life of a CSR and find out what could they possibly doing other than dealing with your needs?
The front line is where all the action happens and is where the customer service representative spends the majority of their busy day. A typical day starts with checking e-mails and closing any other pending correspondence from the day before. Client orders going to places such as mass retailers like Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire are then taken via phone, fax, e-mail, or EDI and then entered and/or transmitted into a Warehouse Management System. The orders that shipped the day before are typically closed out so that the customers know that the product shipped. A list of open orders are checked and verified to ensure that all orders in queue have shipped and then the orders are filed away. All pretty routine CSR work, you would think.
Depending on the season, out of the norm requests begin to flood in. The requests that are for full truck loads that need to be picked, staged, and shipped in less than 1 hour. The CSR has to drop everything-and begin to message urgent requests to their warehouse counterparts or supervisor to find out if the order can ship, when it can be ready, create the paperwork, and then relay all the info back to the customer. All the while, customer requests are still pouring in and not to mention that your biggest customer is waiting on a Proof of Delivery for an order that shipped less than an hour ago to a city that is 5 hours away and has not delivered yet. All that-and it is lunch already!
Challenges! Challenges! Challenges! Managing your time as a representative is critical to achieving success in the logistics industry as challenges will arise that will take you away from your 'regular routine' of work-possibly every day. It is important to develop a relationship with your CSR and ask them what time will work for them in the day to work through an issue with you. Or depending on the size of the client, work out a weekly meeting time and use that time to discuss any outstanding issues that are pending... the majority of clients are willing to work with you to get the job done right.
Last but not least, logistic companies are embracing new methods of technology where inventory details are available online 24/7, 365 days a year and much more. Having this info readily available and accessible to your clients can save them the time from picking up the phone and calling a CSR. Not to mention that our clients are retaining a sense of control over their account although they may be many miles away.
Ultimately-as a potential or existing client-you want your CSR to be detail orientated, efficient, and a great communicator. By understanding their day to day schedule and setting up weekly meetings-you are respecting their time and developing a relationship that is critical to the success of your business in Canada. Next time you speak with your CSR, take a leap of faith, and find out how their day is going!