• Home
  • >
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On Importance Customer Service In Supply Chain

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On Importance Customer Service In Supply Chain

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On Importance Customer Service In Supply Chain

Following are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Importance Customer Service In Supply Chain that we have encountered in our speeches, workshops, seminars, and other forums.  Feel free to ask more questions if your particular question is not answered below.


Table of Contents


Why we are qualified to write this list of FAQs on Importance Customer Service In Supply Chain?

VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW SUPPLY CHAINS LIKE WE DO - retail, beverages, food, milk, dairy, meat, livestock, explosives, chemicals, cotton, rice, graphite, solar power, natural gas, crude oil, fertilizers, electronics, packaging, glass manufacturing, machine parts, automobiles, industrial goods, mining, etc are just some of the industries where boards and executives have benefited from our proprietary knowledge of the supply chains. 

Click on our project methodology above to see how Customer Service In Supply Chain is an integral step in each and every project that we have undertaken in the last three decades.

Since when no one had heard of supply chain, our co-founder Vivek Sood has been considered one of the most authoritative professionals in the field when it comes to the subject of supply chain analytics in Australia, Asia, North America, South America and Europe.

 He has written four seminal books about restructuring supply chains to gain massive advantage in business. He also regularly delivers keynote speeches at business schools and conferences such as University of Technology Sydney, Supply Chain Asia, Asian Bankers Forum, APEC Business Advisory Council.

He has been quoted in the authoritative business press and over 100 academic papers written by supply chain researchers around the world. Vivek and his team have examined thousands of supply chains during their projects over the last three decades and helped hundreds of executives build safe, cost effective and sustainable supply chains and careers. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On Importance Customer Service In Supply Chain

Is Customer Service a part of sales, or Marketing, or Finance, Or Supply Chain?

This debate continues to raze - where exactly is the 'right home' for customer service within the organisation structure of a company. 

Nobody ever doubts that customer service is very valuable, and can form competitive advantage for a company. But the nature of their work is such that they handle enquiries ranging from pre-sales information dissemination, to customer education, to order processing, to order fulfilment, to warranty claims, to returns handling.

In addition they also handle valuable finance department processes such as accounts enquiries, receivables etc.

We have worked with organisations where everyone wanted customer service as part of their remit, and we have also seen organisations where no department wanted customer service as part of their remit. 

There is no clear answer, and it depends on the nature of the organisation, and the nature of its customer service. 

You can make as strong as case for customer service to be part of finance, or supply chain, or sales, or marketing, or even warranties and engineering - as you can for any other department. 

The most important consideration is that the customers get their answers and resolutions with minimum fuss and most efficiency. 

In rest of this page we will not make a case for customer service to be part of supply chain team - but we will elaborate on how they can be more effective if they are already a part of the supply chain team. 

Why is customer service in the supply chain so important? 

Look at the picture of modern supply chain extracted from the book The 5-STAR Business Network

The customer is the centrepoint, the linchpin around whom the entire supply chain revolves. The sole purpose the all the activity in the entire eco-system - whether it is automotive, laptop or clothing  - is to create outstanding customer delight. 

Customer experience is the key - and customer service is critical to fitting that key appropriately. 

How can the supply chain be structured to include customer service?

Almost no organisation has mastered the end-to-end supply chain game as well as Apple did under Steve Jobs. And taking a leaf from the Apple book - consider the role of the Apple Genius Bar, and the "Apple Geni" who work there. 

They are your primary contact within the company, and the frontline problem solvers who are trained to solve problems and/or get them solved for you. 

If you have not yet experienced the customer service in an Apple Store, do yourself a favour and walk into an Apple Store either with a product you own, or with a friend who owns an Apple product, and experience the customer service yourself. 

Then try and imagine the internal training and processes that were configured to make it all become a reality in a world where this kind of service never existed in a retail environment before. 

Now try to imagine what will it take to bring a similar quantum of leap in the customer service in your industry - for the end consumer in your eco-system. 

Customer expectations have progressed far ahead of companies ability to match supply chains such as Apple who have brought the customer expectations to these lofty heights. 

What are the seven sins of customer service as per global supply chain group?

Every one from McKinsey (see link) to Vendors of CRM software (see link) have written excellent articles on the sins of customer service from their own perspective.

If you search google you will see a plethora of decent articles on this topic from the perspective of sales, marketing, CRM, strategy and others. Our list is written from the pespective of supply chain management. 

1. Squeaky Wheel Response - Some customers are perpetual complainers and end up hogging most of the customer service effort from a company by the shear virtue of how mch they complain. Your attention and time devoted to a customer should take many other factors into consideration. 

2. Overservicing low profit customers  - 

3. Underservicing high profit customers

4. Inability to segment customers by their lifetime value

5. Inflexibility where necessary

6. Lack of empathy

7. Unsegmented supply chain response


How Is Customer Service In The Current Environment?

Today you are fortunate to be treated well as a customer in retail or a restaurant. These “feel good” places are now the exception. I only go back to those few who offer excellent customer service and good quality.

Today, we "talk" about customer service, but displaying genuine customer service in the supply chain is lacking. Today, people feel it is "extra work" to please the customer. "Do I have to be pleasant to the customer all the time?" It is an exception, in my experience, to be treated well in restaurants, retail stores and industry.

Let's look at today's retail stores. Well, known brands are going down big hill time. Racks are messy, the visual presentation is non-existent, and shops are not being kept up or filled with merchandise. It's sad to see the brand devalued. The brand is being devalued because the sales associates do not care. If they were customer service oriented, this would not happen.

Where Does The Customer Service Begin In The Supply Chain?

To have successful customer service throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, and the result of customer purchase, it must first start with top management focused and committed to holistic customer service in the supply chain. From the procurement of supplies and from suppliers through collaboration, all the way to the delivery of the product to the customer in the retail store. CEOs of companies should be called Customer Experience Officers. Their yearly bonus should be based on improved customer service in the supply chain. The CEO filters customer service through the organization by giving key managers customer service key performance indicators (KPIs).

What Are The Integrations And Improvements We Can Do To Increase The Customer Service Value Of The Supply Chain?

The following systems can be implemented to aid improved customer service in the supply chain:

  • Integrate with the order entry system
  • Build-in adaptability
  • Confirm with bar codes
  • Conducting automated pickings
  • Automated shipping plans
  • Automate shipment verification
  • Automate shipment verification
  • Sourcing orders based on facility workload

Explain The Role Of Integration With Order System In Customer Service Improvement Of The Supply Chain?

In today's hyper-competitive economy, it is tough to maintain order fulfilment through the internet. Most of them placed through Internets are managed poorly and which end in resulting distorting customer satisfaction due to delay in product delivery. Integrating a systematic order fulfilment process tends to reduce manual labour that saves time, increases profitability and customer satisfaction, E.g. Order received in the night and make delivery in the day time.

Explain The Role Of Building Adaptability In Customer Service Improvement Of The Supply Chain?

Providing exceptional customer service has proved to be challenging in today's competitive environment. Companies can meet this challenge by proving to be adaptable with the customer wants changes in their orders right from the purchase and even up to and after shipment. These can prove to be successful as the customers can get what they want even if their product changes from the market—E.g. Tailor-made transportation system like packaging facility as per the weather.

Explain The Role Of Bar Codes Usage In Customer Service Improvement Of The Supply Chain?

By changing the barcoding into an automated one, the company can save a large amount of its time and energy and even implement perfection in planning as it presents real-time data instead of mere projections. E.g. In the warehouse material arranged with bar-code easy to locate a particular product with the bar-code system, we can quickly shift goods as per the priority of delivery and delivery places.

Explain The Role Of Conducting Automated Pickings In Customer Service Improvement Of The Supply Chain?

Automated technologies quickly fulfil the needs of the customer, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and bringing in repeated business in a shorter period. E.g. Goods collection from customer destination is one of an excellent example of automated pickings it saves time and money of customers which bringing repeated business.

Explain The Role Of Automated Shipping Plans In Customer Service Improvement Of The Supply Chain?

Using automated shipping plan, the workers can pick to a predesigned way of stacking the containers without going for trial and error methods. This saves a lot of time and energy of the workers engaged in stacking the boxes and speeding the delivery with less expense than without automated shipping plan. As an example, Bar-code system on containers and on the area of the warehouse which easily track the goods and efficient stacking and speeding the delivery.

Explain The Role Of Automate Shipment Verification In Customer Service Improvement Of The Supply Chain?

By applying automated verification together with automated picking and using bar codes, more time can be saved on packing, verifying and shipping process.

Explain The Role Of Sourcing Orders Based On Facility Workload In Customer Service Improvement Of The Supply Chain?

 Logistic managers should use the method of best utilize of space when multiple warehousing and distribution facilities are available to improve responsiveness and maximize flexibility.

How The Voice Of The Customer (VoC) And Six Sigma Can Improve Customer Service In The Supply Chain?

Currently, professionally, we talk about the Voice of the Customer (VoC) as a way to increase customer service in the supply chain. We can't just talk about it. We have to listen to the customer and make the necessary changes to please them, improve our companies and increase profitability. Today, it is used in Six Sigma, but should be part of a company mission statement.

The "voice of the customer" is a process used to capture the requirements/feedback from the customer (internal or external) to provide the customers with the best in class service/product quality. This process is all about being proactive and always innovative to capture the changing requirements of the customers with time.

The "voice of the customer" is the term used to describe the stated and unstated needs or requirements of the customer. The voice of the customer can be captured in a variety of ways: Direct discussion or interviews, surveys, focus groups, customer specifications, observation, warranty data, field reports, complaint logs. The point is: listen to your customer to improve your business and your customer service in the supply chain.

Explain The Term CRM In The Supply Chain?

CRM is a business strategy that enables businesses to:

  • Understand the customer
  • Retain customers through better customer experience
  • Attract new customers
  • Win new clients and contracts
  • Increase profitably
  • Decrease customer management costs

There is also CEM. Customer experience management (CEM) is the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal of CEM is to optimize interactions from the customer’s perspective and, as a result, foster customer loyalty.

Implement VOC and take customer comments seriously, to improve your operation. Listen to your customer. Be courteous on the phone. Don't put your customer on hold indefinitely, check in with them frequently, if you have to put them on hold for a short while. Please don't force it: feel it. Use the CRM tool to improve customer service. Use social media to assist you in providing excellent customer service in the supply chain.

How is customer service in the current environment?

Today you are fortunate to be treated well as a customer in retail or a restaurant. These “feel good” places are now the exception. I only go back to those few who offer excellent customer service and good quality.

Today, we "talk" about customer service, but displaying genuine customer service in the supply chain is lacking. Today, people feel it is "extra work" to please the customer. "Do I have to be pleasant to the customer all the time?" It is an exception, in my experience, to be treated well in restaurants, retail stores and industry.

Let's look at today's retail stores. Well, known brands are going down big hill time. Racks are messy, the visual presentation is non-existent, and shops are not being kept up or filled with merchandise. It's sad to see the brand devalued. The brand is being devalued because the sales associates do not care. If they were customer service oriented, this would not happen.

Where does the customer service begin in the supply chain?

To have successful customer service throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, and the result of customer purchase, it must first start with top management focused and committed to holistic customer service in the supply chain. From the procurement of supplies and from suppliers through collaboration, all the way to the delivery of the product to the customer in the retail store. CEOs of companies should be called Customer Experience Officers. Their yearly bonus should be based on improved customer service in the supply chain. The CEO filters customer service through the organization by giving key managers customer service key performance indicators (KPIs).

What are the integrations and improvements we can do to increase the customer service value of the supply chain?

The following systems can be implemented to aid improved customer service in the supply chain:

  • Integrate with the order entry system
  • Build-in adaptability
  • Confirm with bar codes
  • Conducting automated pickings
  • Automated shipping plans
  • Automate shipment verification
  • Automate shipment verification
  • Sourcing orders based on facility workload

Explain the role of integration with order system in customer service improvement of the supply chain?

In today's hyper-competitive economy, it is tough to maintain order fulfilment through the internet. Most of them placed through Internets are managed poorly and which end in resulting distorting customer satisfaction due to delay in product delivery. Integrating a systematic order fulfilment process tends to reduce manual labour that saves time, increases profitability and customer satisfaction, E.g. Order received in the night and make delivery in the day time.

Explain the role of building adaptability in customer service improvement of the supply chain?

Providing exceptional customer service has proved to be challenging in today's competitive environment. Companies can meet this challenge by proving to be adaptable with the customer wants changes in their orders right from the purchase and even up to and after shipment. These can prove to be successful as the customers can get what they want even if their product changes from the market—E.g. Tailor-made transportation system like packaging facility as per the weather.

Explain the role of bar codes usage in customer service improvement of the supply chain?

By changing the barcoding into an automated one, the company can save a large amount of its time and energy and even implement perfection in planning as it presents real-time data instead of mere projections. E.g. In the warehouse material arranged with bar-code easy to locate a particular product with the bar-code system, we can quickly shift goods as per the priority of delivery and delivery places.

Explain the role of Conducting automated pickings in customer service improvement of the supply chain?

Automated technologies quickly fulfil the needs of the customer, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and bringing in repeated business in a shorter period. E.g. Goods collection from customer destination is one of an excellent example of automated pickings it saves time and money of customers which bringing repeated business.

Explain the role of Automated shipping plans in customer service improvement of the supply chain?

Using automated shipping plan, the workers can pick to a predesigned way of stacking the containers without going for trial and error methods. This saves a lot of time and energy of the workers engaged in stacking the boxes and speeding the delivery with less expense than without automated shipping plan. As an example, Bar-code system on containers and on the area of the warehouse which easily track the goods and efficient stacking and speeding the delivery.

Explain the role of Automate shipment verification in customer service improvement of the supply chain?

By applying automated verification together with automated picking and using bar codes, more time can be saved on packing, verifying and shipping process.

Explain the role of Sourcing orders based on facility workload in customer service improvement of the supply chain?

 Logistic managers should use the method of best utilize of space when multiple warehousing and distribution facilities are available to improve responsiveness and maximize flexibility.

How the Voice of the Customer (VoC) and Six Sigma can improve customer service in the supply chain?

Currently, professionally, we talk about the Voice of the Customer (VoC) as a way to increase customer service in the supply chain. We can't just talk about it. We have to listen to the customer and make the necessary changes to please them, improve our companies and increase profitability. Today, it is used in Six Sigma, but should be part of a company mission statement.

The "voice of the customer" is a process used to capture the requirements/feedback from the customer (internal or external) to provide the customers with the best in class service/product quality. This process is all about being proactive and always innovative to capture the changing requirements of the customers with time.

The "voice of the customer" is the term used to describe the stated and unstated needs or requirements of the customer. The voice of the customer can be captured in a variety of ways: Direct discussion or interviews, surveys, focus groups, customer specifications, observation, warranty data, field reports, complaint logs. The point is: listen to your customer to improve your business and your customer service in the supply chain.

Explain the term CRM in the supply chain?

CRM is a business strategy that enables businesses to:

  • Understand the customer
  • Retain customers through better customer experience
  • Attract new customers
  • Win new clients and contracts
  • Increase profitably
  • Decrease customer management costs

There is also CEM. Customer experience management (CEM) is the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal of CEM is to optimize interactions from the customer’s perspective and, as a result, foster customer loyalty.

Implement VOC and take customer comments seriously, to improve your operation. Listen to your customer. Be courteous on the phone. Don't put your customer on hold indefinitely, check in with them frequently, if you have to put them on hold for a short while. Please don't force it: feel it. Use the CRM tool to improve customer service. Use social media to assist you in providing excellent customer service in the supply chain.

Sink of swim Report: how information technology can save or ruin supply chains

Access the short guide to this report by filling in the form below:

Name*
Email*
Phone

Notes on FAQs

Clearly, any such list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about supply chain can never be fully exhaustive. Neither is anyone, including us, the final authority and arbitrator on this or any other topic. 

You will have your own opinions on many of these topics, and will have many other questions. 

We throw open the comments section to you for your opinions and questions. We will try to address all of these, and the best ones will attract a reward in the form of one of our books, or publications. 

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

OUR WORK

SPEAKS FOR ITSELF

>