5 Skills the Technical Support Reps of Your Logistics Management Software Must Have

The work of a logistics software provider does not stop at providing up to date technological solutions to its users. A software which matches the requirements of the industry it is used in increases the volumes that the users can handle, minimize errors & eliminate revenue leakages. The real test of the IT provider are its after-sales services. To handle the same, the logistics software provider should have a team of dedicated support reps to solve customer queries efficiently. This is easier said than done since, the software provider needs to build & train a team of support reps who have knowledge of both their IT solutions & the user’s industry. For maintaining a quality support staff they need to be trained to develop the following –

i) Listening Skills –

The rep should be able to listen, interpret & then act.

Listen to the executives of the LSPs. Understand their queries regarding entry of the fields & filing of documents.

Interpret the query & pinpoint the actual issue the user is facing. This can only be done via a good training & thorough understanding of the user’s domain.

The rep should be able to act on the same in a way that conveys intent to solve the issue & communication of the same.

ii) Problem Solving Skills –

This is where you can differentiate a rep who plainly follows a script & one who can actually solve real time problems. The rep should be able to empathize with the user & act on the issues he is facing regarding filing of documents in the software, report generation etc..

iii) Knowledge Sharing Skills –

The support rep should focus on empowering the user with knowledge of the usage of the software. This serves a dual purpose which are firstly the user understands the software better which gives him the feeling that the software is more user friendly & secondly so that there are not too many calls made on the same query.

iv) Follow-up Skills –

Follow ups can only happen when there is an organized & structured way of doing work. All queries cannot be solved on the spot however good the support rep may be. For this the query number has to be recorded. The tools that can be used to solve the same should be in place & the timeline the query should be defined as per its category. Along with this the rep has to assure the user & follow-up regarding the solution of his query.

v) Personal Rapport –

Here is where soft skills come in which is a core skill of a support rep. The rep should be able to handle all sorts of different users. The rep should be able to work under the pressure of solving a critical query of a user which affects his immediate business needs. It is the support team’s response in such situations that decide whether a customer is retained or lost. In such situations when a good personal rapport is built over a period of time with the user there is mutual understanding between the two. Thus both co-operate with each other to get to a common goal i.e. solution of the user’s issue.

Thus, it is of utmost importance to you that when you choose a logistics management software, you look into the support services provided by the company comprehensively. You can refer to current clients of the software provider to get feedback on the quality of the support provided to them. A meticulous research of the software providers services will only benefit your business in the long run.

TL Logistics Management Software – Giving You the Most For Your Money

Although owning a small to midsize company can allow you greater control over your business’s daily functions; if you own a small to midsize company that has shipping needs, chances are that you have little control over the logistical aspects of your shipping process. Because most small to midsize companies don’t have the payroll to hire logistics professionals or construct an internal freight council, they are left with two options for truckload transportation management: relying on warehouse management and/or purchasing personnel or hiring a third party logistics (3PL) firm. Because truckload (TL) shipping solutions are a critical pricing element in the freight shipping process, many companies prefer to delegate transportation logistics to logistics experts and hire a 3PL provider.

When a company hires a 3PL provider, it almost always realizes TL shipping solutions that are more cost effective than shipping solutions arrived at in the absence of expert logistics. However, outsourcing logistics is currently falling out of fashion, with the main reason being that small to midsize companies can become their own logistics provider by implementing TL logistics management software. Unlike 3PL firms, TL logistics management software is not priced as an expert logistics service, but as an online or internal software application (depending on a company’s preference) that can be customized to a company’s unique shipping needs. In addition to providing truckload management, logistics software can also yield integrated shipping solutions or be used to manage any form of transportation, including rail, air and sea.

To understand how TL logistics management software saves you money compared hiring a 3PL firm, it helps to understand how a 3PL firm works. When small to midsize companies outsource their truckload logistics to a 3PL provider, the typical truckload solution is less than truckload (LTL) shipping, where two or more shippers ship partial loads that create a full load and spilt the full load price. But 3PL providers don’t just go with the LTL carrier that makes the most sense for their clients in terms of LTL shipping concerns such as route length, warehouse fees, number of pick-ups and deliveries along the shipping route, etc. Instead, they begin by identifying LTL carriers that will offer the best freight discount, which allows 3PL firms to make money on the price differential between what they charge their customers and the discounted shipping price.

When companies use TL logistics management software, they not only reduce the price of their logistics solutions; they also realize a greater number of shipping options due to the removal of a 3PL firm’s business interest from the logistics function. As an example of how much money companies can save from using TL logistics management software instead of 3PL providers, research shows that companies can reduce their total shipping costs by 10 percent after one year of using logistics software.

Shipping Management Software Vs Freight Brokerage: Which Is Better?

Many shippers spend nearly as much on shipping as they do on payroll. Consequently, they look for ways to improve freight management with the goal of reducing freight costs. When creating a logistics department would be too expensive, most shippers implement logistics software or hire a freight broker. Also known as shipping management software, logistics software allows shippers to become their own logistics provider by supplying them a comprehensive logistics function. Also known as Third Party Logistics (3PL), freight brokers make carrier arrangements on shippers’ behalf.

Both options can yield solutions that combine quick delivery time, excellent freight care, and affordable rates. But logistics software offers certain advantages that freight brokers often don’t, beginning with low service cost.

Low Service Cost

Not all brokerage options require a significant investment. But the ones that don’t are oriented toward specific logistics services (e.g. cross docking, and tracking and tracing), not comprehensive solutions. For complete management of the shipping process via 3PL, a shipper must use a customer adapter or customer developer, which could cost as much as maintaining a logistics department.

Excellent Customer Service

The number one complaint among 3PL customers is a feeling of distance from the shipping process. In many instances, this is the result of what 3PL is supposed to do: take the logistics function out of a shipper’s hands. But many shippers discover they want more control over shipping than they first believed. Logistics software eliminates distance between the shipper and the shipping process by allowing the former to become its own logistics provider.

Broader Shipping Options

A freight broker will provide more options than you could realize on your own, without the aid of logistics software. But those options could be limited compared to the options offered by logistics software. Some freight brokers use electronic posting systems, where available carriers are matched with available loads, to arrange shipments. While using these systems is a valid strategy, it should not be the only strategy, as it often is. Logistics software empowers shippers to form relationships with carriers who don’t use posting systems.

Control of Shipping

Almost every shipper wants control of the shipping process. But when creating a logistics department would be too expensive, many shippers relinquish the process – and control – to a 3PL provider. Logistics software gives you the same control over shipping as a logistics department would, but a fraction of the cost. If problems arise with the software, or if you need new logistics options, the software provider can resolve the problem or make the necessary changes.

Conclusion

The shipping process involves significant costs, which can be mitigated by implementing a strategic logistical solution for transportation management systems. Although freight brokerage is a valid option, it often lacks basic benefits that shipping management software always provides: low service cost, broad shipping options, and control of the shipping process. Logistics software is often advertised as a solution for small to midsize shippers, but it can also benefit large shippers who wish to save money by not hiring a team of in-house logistics experts.