Customer Service in the Transport Logistics

Topics: Logistics, Transport, Customer service Pages: 10 (3433 words) Published: May 16, 2011

The South African transport industry is one that is changing. In terms of Customer service there are certain companies that are excelling and are able to provide service that gains them a greater measure of customer satisfaction. Good customer service is an integral part of any business or organization. The process of managing stock, warehouse inventory, and freight transportation is at the heart of logistics. Logistics is the management and coordination of moving inventory from its origination to its ultimate destination. The goal of a logistics team is to find a way to do this process in the most streamlined, cost efficient method possible. The overall High costs in the logistics industry though are a cause for concern as they hinder the ability of organisations to provide maximum efficiency, to their customers thus not achieving maximum customer service. We will discuss what customer service is and its importance in the transport industry. We will look at the challenges facing the South African Transport industry as well as current developments going into the world cup and what these developments mean for the future of the South African transport industry.

Customer Service is defined by Vogt and Pienaar as “the integrated series of activities between a supplier and a buyer, which enhance the sale and facilitate the effective use of the suppliers’ products. When rendered effectively, customer service is the overriding logistics supply chain function that can create demand and retain loyalty. In a broader sense customer service is the measure of how well the logistics system is performing in providing time and place utility for a product or service (Pienaar & Vogt; 2009, 25). According to Christopher and Peck (2003) customer service includes points of contact between a supplier and buyer also including tangible and intangible elements. Logistics performance is extremely important in achieving customer satisfaction.

Importance of Customer service

The importance of customer service in any organisation and the transport industry as a whole cannot be over emphasized. Customer service is the most critical aspect of the whole supply and distribution chain (Ron). According to Karl it has been proven in surveys that most customers do not come back to certain business establishment because of the indifferences they might have had with the owner, manager and employees regardless if they like the product or service the business renders. Every business management must recognize the reality that customer service is imperative in the success of the business. This ensures customer loyalty and commitment to the business. The company’s ability to focus on customers needs rather than on their own will ensure that company is cost effective and efficient at all times.

Characteristics of customer service in transportation

There are a number of factors that make up customer service and specifically for the transport industry these include, dependability, time in transit, flexibility of mode chosen, loss and damage performance of the mode, and ability of the transport to adapt to the changing customer needs. (Craig, 2004)

Most customers are more interested about receiving their delivered goods on time than whether the person delivering the goods has a cheerful face. Successful companies try to under-promise and over deliver in terms of delivery time. This allows the firms to capture their customers ensuring that the company’s reputation is not jeopardized so firms need to ensure that their lead times are accurate. Customer service excellence is about reliability and consistency. Reliability means that the suppliers commitment to maintain a promised delivery schedule and to advise customers if deliveries subsequently cannot be made on time. This shows that the suppliers are reliable and keep the customer at ease. It is better to switch to a more expensive but reliable supplier than to rely on a relatively...
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