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Keeping Up with the Retail Consumer 
Today, more than ever, sees the importance of building valuable relationships with retail consumers particularly with new pressures to deliver the ultimate in customer service experience. 
In a bid to meet customer’s unique demands, leading retailers are rethinking their overall supply chain strategies. 
The era of mass merchandising is slowly giving way to a new era; personalised merchandising, where tailored offerings are proving to be a real hit with customers, and where engaging with key targets plays a crucial role in knowing what the retail consumer wants. 
Here in our latest post, we discuss the positive ways in which you too can keep up with your retail consumers by making customer service your best supply chain strategy… 
Is Customer Service your Principal Supply Chain Strategy? 
When a customer buys a product or service, the value of the customer experience doesn’t rely solely on the quality of the product or service, but on a variety of stages that make up the customer’s buying journey. The slightest thing could go wrong and even the most perfect of product or service wouldn’t make up for it. In fact, any process where there’s scope to slip up could potentially lead to a negative buying journey for your customer. 
Customers are significantly influenced by their experience of the supply chain. Afterall, it’s easy to see how a late delivery can disappoint, whereas a speedy delivery can leave customers delighted. Undeniably, there’s far more to supply chain organisation than the speed of delivery, but by keeping up with your customer’s expectations, and acknowledging how your supply chain strategies can impact on them, can stand you in good stead of providing a great customer service experience. 
So, what’s the first step in making customer service your leading supply chain strategy? Well, if you want to meet your customer’s demands, the first step is to effectively identify customers’ needs and drive better customer experiences. We’re no longer in a time where we tell customers what to expect, expectations are now geared around your customer’s wants, and therefore your supply chain must be personlised and adapted to suit their personal preferences. 
How to Make Customer Service your Leading Supply Chain Strategy 
New pressures to deliver the ultimate in customer service experience are leading retailers to re-think their overall supply chain strategies, prioritising customer service on multiple levels. Here we explain all by listing 3 of the factors you’ll need to consider in helping you to achieve a more customer centric supply chain. 
1. Strive for Customer Feedback and Let this Power your Processes 
Due to the rise in intricacy, capacity and urgency of demand in the supply chain, it’s always a good idea to stay aware of your customers by operating with their needs in mind. Afterall, poor service in one part in the supply chain can have a snowball effect, impacting on the end user’s customer overall experience, and thereby damaging your company’s reputation. 
Reading and using real-time data is an essential instrument in grasping your customers’ needs every step of the way and knowing what they are looking for. Such data can provide you the infor-mation you need to better align your processes, services and people to those requirements. 
Accurate real-time metrics for customer behavior will enable you to gain all the intricate detail you need when it comes to tracking customer feedback, so you can pinpoint problem areas and make corrections where necessary. Such detail can infiltrate positive change throughout the supply chain, allowing for greater, more tailored customer solutions. 
2. Work to Improve your Customers’ Experience to Reflect your Own Expectations 
Think about your own expectations when ordering a product or choosing a service. What are your expectations, (i.e. excellent performance, affordable services etc.) and how can you strive to meet these same expectations in your own supply chain? After all, your own anticipations as a customer are likely to resonate with other like-minded customers. 
To ensure seamless transactions, and increase customer satisfaction you’ll want to ensure: 
• your inventory is promptly available 
• you can quickly despatch items/operate your services without delay 
• you can offer your customers some level of guarantee when they order from you 
3. Take Steps to Enrich your Third-Party Logistics Relationship 
Working closely and building a rapport with your suppliers and/or provider can help to better meet customer demands and keep your operations running more efficiently. A better collaborative and strategic approach can result in a more effective partnership and more enhanced customer service from pick and pack, to shipping. A great number of services can be outsourced to a trusted third-party logistics provider (3PL) including; storage, pick and pack, e-commerce, pre-retailing and distribution. 
Contracted carrier arrangements with trusted haulers and couriers enable the likes of a trusted 3PL partner to meet and provide timed deliveries for your customers, via proven and dependable logistics solutions, which can often be individually structured to meet your customer’s unique requirements. 
Achieving a Customer Centric Supply Chain 
Accomplishing a customer-centric supply chain should be the ultimate goal in today’s business culture, and this comes from always putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. Using real-time data, harnessing customer feedback, and working closely with your 3PL can equally ensure that your supply chain meets your customer’s specific expectations. 
If you are looking for a new value in your supply chain system, Colvanbridge Ltd can help. We offer a complete 3PL supply chain freight management service, helping to enhance your end-to-end supply chain operations. If this is something that interests you, please get in touch for more information. 
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