The 'Golden Rule' for 3PL Customer Service

01/10/2013 — Scott Frederick

PartnerShip Contact Us PictureI stumbled upon an article today written a while back by John Rodeheffer of Inbound Logistics. The article is titled "Does Your 3PL Provide 'Golden Rule' Customer Service?" It caught my eye because PartnerShip, being somewhat of a 3PL ourselves, aspires to provide excellent service to our customers day in and day out. So I was curious what the author had to say.

In the article, Mr. Rodeheffer paints a picture of the ideal third-party logistics provider (3PL) that does whatever it takes to fix shipping problems, believes there is no such thing as "just a transaction," and treats every customer interaction as a chance to build a trusting relationship. To achieve such 3PL harmony, he suggests that shippers look for a 3PL that employs the 'Golden Rule' of customers service. Additionally, he offers the following tips for determining if your 3PL values and delivers Golden Rule customer service:

  • Browse the company's Web site. What kind of ethics do the owners say they embrace? Read the Mission and Values statements and check for membership in the local Better Business Bureau and service organizations. Note any local, regional, and even national service awards.

  • Get to know the provider. What kind of experience does your 3PL have? Does it strive to do the right thing in every dicey situation? Does it push to get positive results for customers and live its values in every decision? A corporate culture establishes itself in every company, no matter the size. The best corporate cultures are intentionally cultivated and reinforced by management— from the CEO to the college intern.

  • Consider the provider's communication policies. What communications channels are available when weather, mechanical problems, or road conditions delay shipments? Do you have to babysit your provider and worry about your shipment, or are you kept informed throughout the entire life of a load?

  • Talk to your peers. Ask industry colleagues who they prefer to work with, and what kind of experiences they have had. Have they pulled contracts from the logistics company you work with? Has the 3PL's employees treated others with honesty, integrity, and loyalty? Also talk to carriers. Who do they prefer to take loads from? When a small hauler likes a 3PL, you can bet the company is worth a look.

The PartnerShip Test

As I think about these four areas for Golden Rule customer service, I am comforted by the fact that PartnerShip is doing its part to pass every one of these tests. Specifically, we here is how we stack up:

  • PS Live ChatBrowse the PartnerShip.com Web site. While our current site is fairly transparent, I am excited that later this month we will be introducing a brand new PartnerShip.com website that includes a detailed company overview (mission, values, etc.), local and national recognition and affiliations (including top workplace awards Better Business Bureau membership), and a variety of prominent ways for customers to contact us (by form, email, phone, or even live chat).

  • PS Employee DirectoryGet to know PartnerShip. In addition to a detailed company overview, our forthcoming new website will include pictures and contact information for every employee of the company - now that's transparency! We'll also introduce you to our senior management team, and provide you with even more details and tips on the services we provide and how best to access them.

  • PS Contact UsConsider the PartnerShip communication policies. Unlike many 3PLs, I am proud to say that PartnerShip assigns a small, dedicated regional team with one primary contact to every new customer. This team has total accountability for customer satisfaction, including regular communication regarding service issues, weather delays, and claims resolution. And as I mentioned above, we don't bury our contact information - we display it prominently on our website.

  • PS Recommendations WebTalk to your peers about PartnerShip. I continue to be impressed by that fact that PartnerShip receives customer recommendations and business referrals on a regular basis. So if you ever have a chance to talk to one of our customers - we'd highly encourage it. Being founded as a small business subsidiary of a non-profit organization twenty years ago, we know how important the 'small stuff' can be to a small business that is trying hard to succeed. That's why no request is too small or big in our minds when it comes to helping a customer be successful.

If you took the time to read this blog post and are interested in learning more about PartnerShip, please give us a call or send us a note. I promise that you'll receive Golden Rule customer service from our team!

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