Keys to Customer Retention in a Competitive Environment
Q: What do you attribute to be the most significant key factor with customer retention in today's competitive marketplace?
A: Value over price seems to be an old adage that still is true even in today's market. A key contributor to this is having local sales effort, and knowing customer requirements. Being able to provide that local sales presence is important to any customer. When actually located where the customer is, there is a better understanding of actual requirements and how to better service the customer. Customers are generally more open about their needs or pain points when you're able to actually have a face-to-face meeting. Most customers today just simply don't have the time to explain their business over a phone call; having experienced local people adds a lot of value and saves time for everyone involved. I have witnessed that platforms using large call centers have a higher turnover rate compared to the majority of our agents or corporate sales representatives that have a tenured presence in a market and focus on customers they have solid relationships with versus calling customer targets and only offering a price quote.
Q: Are you saying that price is not important?
A: I'm merely stating that it's less important than providing the customer the service they require to facilitate their respective business. If shipments don't deliver when they need to, or a project does not go as planned, the client's business is put in jeopardy. There almost always will be a competitive element with price, but you would be surprised about the many other key contributing factors there are that cause logistic providers to lose customers such as claims, limited service options, or simple billing accuracy.
Q: Why is billing accuracy so important to maintain customers?
A: A lot of platforms underestimate the importance of the payables department, which is always attached to the finance group that really runs most business today. LTL is a large part of what everyone is offering today, as all the people who own and operate the trucks are doing extensive corrections (weight and class). This causes a ripple effect with customers getting multiple invoices, creating a nuisance and additional work with doing business in some cases. By simply delaying the final invoice provided by the carrier until after delivery versus invoicing on the day of pick-up, logistic platforms can actually create value with a single and accurate invoice on every shipment.