Every business owner knows customer care is the name of the game. Unfortunately, offering the best customer care possible sometimes comes at a cost. While making shipping appointments seems simple at first glance, the logistics behind arranging a simple pickup or delivery is more complex than it appears.
The hidden cost of appointments
Every industry has annoying, unavoidable inefficiencies. The ones shipping companies like BYX deal with, however, didn’t exist just a decade or two ago. Originally, it worked something like this: Delivery companies would make their deliveries in the morning, and spend the afternoon making pickups. The only communication required was a quick phone call to let the customer know approximately when to expect the driver.
Today, expectations are very different. The workflow of a shipping appointment clerk looks something like this:
- Signs into a portal to input all the purchase order numbers on the trailer, the name of the driver, and the number of the trailer.
- Waits for the consignee to confirm the appointment details are acceptable
- Saves a copy of that documentation in case it’s necessary to prove all possible steps were taken to ensure a smooth pickup or delivery
- Prints multiple copies of all documentation including bill of ladings, delivery receipts, and unloading manifests
- Tracks down packing slips if the receiver requests it- often requiring an additional call or two to the shipper
- Manages the relocation of freight while waiting for the paperwork to come through since the consignee won’t accept the delivery without it
- Spends time searching for phone numbers and addresses since invalid ones pop up frequently
As one would imagine, completing all those steps for every appointment is time-intensive. While technology saves time in many applications, in this case, it does the opposite. Shipping appointments can even necessitate the addition of more routes to complete all the time-specific deliveries as requested. With an ongoing driver shortage, that’s not always an easy task.
To make matters even more complex, some shippers have their own scheduling software and transportation management system. This creates the need for multiple manual entries in more systems than one. This also leaves plenty of room for clerical errors that take up even more time to resolve. On the whole, technology has led to more inefficiencies than one. Unfortunately, no one has figured out a way around them yet.
Shipping appointments contribute to rising shipping costs
For better or worse, these steps are now an industry-wide customer service standard. The phrase “time is money” applies here perfectly. Appointment clerks juggle phone calls around the clock. Expectations for appointments are so much higher than they once were, and it takes more labor to meet those expectations.
Needless to say, we’re always happy to go the extra mile for our customers, but in some cases, the additional time it takes results in rate increases. We’re continually searching for ways to improve efficiency while offering the same standard of service. If you have any questions about current rates or how to ensure your scheduled appointment runs smoothly, contact us at any time!