Delivering excellent customer service is a crucial element of any logistics business. For World Options, providing a premium level of franchisee support is absolutely core to business success.
As Malcolm Rees explains, there are a myriad opportunities to deliver on the brand promise, and to enable better communications between franchisees and customers.
“Logistics is a complex industry, and there is always the potential for errors to arise because of the manual handling of parcels at pick-up, during shipment processing, during linehaul transportation and at delivery points.
“So what do you do when there is a problem? It’s a very real concern for franchisees because they want to maintain a good relationship with their customers.”
World Options prime franchisee support
Over the past year, World Options has focused on providing a sustainable solution.
“This is about what happens after you become a franchisee, what support do you receive?” asks Malcolm.
“We’ve invested in technology and people-power in order to eliminate some of the communication problems that can arise for our customers.”
The first part of the solution is a high-tech response. World Options has introduced a customer support software solution called Front. This tracks all communications between customers, carriers and support staff. All parties have instant access to conversations, which are all streamlined into one portal.
This real-time access improves productivity by eliminating the need to respond to different parts of the conversation. The solution also allows for customised elements. For Example, franchisees can maintain a private conversation with a supplier or support staff, if they believe that will provide a better customer experience.
There is a great AI-driven feature that allows the user to summarise complex cases. If there are a large number of strings in a conversation, at the push of a button a summary will pop-up that gives the reader the key points.
Franchisees find it so much easier to then communicate the final solution to the customer. “We want to ensure we deliver the best customer and franchisee experience,” says Malcolm.
World Options introduced the software a year ago, and feedback reveals it is paying big dividends. Franchisees are reporting that the program delivers an improved response time and that more accurate and timely information is provided to customers, which ensures an enhanced level of customer and franchisee satisfaction.
World Options enhances customer service
The second element to the solution is looking at outsourcing repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as an invoice queries.
Malcolm points out that ancillary and after-the-fact charges are common in logistics. For example, if a customer doesn’t declare their delivery address as residential some carriers will add an additional charge to the original cost as quoted. This might be seen as an unexpected cost for the customer.
An outsourced company handles these invoice queries, taking on the investigative elements of confirming the pricing and services with the particular carrier. The finance team then provides a summary for the franchisee to easily communicate to the customer.
“Our invoice enquiries are handled very professionally. The outcome is such that the customer will understand the associated fees, or they will receive a credit if the carrier invoicing is incorrect.
“We are streamlining our customer service offering in order to make us easier to deal with and to link back to a customer experience,” says Malcolm.
“When you have shipping problems – that’s where the customer takes more interest,” he admits.
“So, we appointed the same company to provide a front office team that handles shipping problems. The team stays connected with the franchisee, who speaks directly with the customer, maintaining that personal relationship.
“This support system allows franchisees to get a good, accurate response to the problem which they can communicate back to their customer.
Investing in people and technology
“Our strategy has been to invest in people and technology, to deliver a full customer support unit,” says Malcolm. “This is a big commitment from us to boost the customer experience.”
As he points out, the support that World Options provides to its customers far exceeds that available to a customer booking their shipping directly with a carrier.
“It has taken time to implement everything of course, but it is paying off. We brought in the technology first, then appointed the frontline support team so we are not mixing jobs. Our offshore teams specialise in doing the heavy-lifting, removing the tedious tasks for franchisees, and provide them with a summarised account that is then communicated to the customer. This has reduced the time taken to get a response to the customer, which is a great outcome.
Now World Options’ strategy is to extend this level of tech support to business analysis to add value to the franchisees.
World Options boost operations to support franchisees
“We have taken a strategic and tactical approach to improving the operating elements of the business for franchisees. Now we are investing in adding value to the franchisees by looking forward.
“We are in the process of developing improved technology that helps franchisees with their business development, providing more KPIs for their business,” says Malcolm.
The incoming program will deliver key metrics and insights to a franchisee and show the impact of increasing customer numbers by a specific figure.
“The noise control, the repetitive tasks we have outsourced, is underway so now the franchisees have more time to go out and sell and build/maintain customer relationships. We want them to boost their business. If they can achieve an increase of 25-30 per cent productivity, it will benefit everyone: the customer gets carrier choice and price and there is more margin for the franchisee.”
World Options’ tactics are focused on providing a better return on business for franchisees.
“We will keep focused on this,” says Malcolm. “We have the foundation set, now we are focused on improving turnover and profits for the franchisee.”