The Amazon Effect, Technology Raises Customer Expectations

Last Thursday, TMSA held yet another Connections Seminar – this time in Jacksonville at Landstar’s corporate headquarters. One of the primary goals of the TMSA Connections Seminars is to drive conversations and sharing of ideas among those who attend. After all, you can learn the most from your peers. Here are some of the biggest take-aways shared among this regional group in the Jacksonville metro market.

What are the concerns and challenges you’re hearing from your customers/shippers?
“The Amazon Effect” seems to be raising expectations from shippers on such issues as supply chain visibility and performance, service levels, pressures to decrease costs, and guaranteed delivery. The group had consensus that technology is enabling much more visibility into processes and the state of operations/supply chains. But one attendee said that every time he’s asked what technology they have available, he asks this question: “If you had the technology, WHAT will you then do with the data?” He mentioned that while the expectations exists from shippers to have technology, reporting, and data visibility, they oftentimes don’t have a clear vision on how to leverage this. For providers, this could be another opportunity to add value to the relationship.

There also was focused conversation on capacity and the driver shortage – and now the impact the ELD mandate has had on these converging pressures. The growing U.S. economy relies heavily on trucking to move more than 70 percent of goods consumed, yet the industry needs to hire nearly 900,000 more professional drivers to meet this increasing demand.

“There needs to be more education with customers,” said one attendee. “We are placing much more efforts on meeting with the customer, collaborating with them to understand their supply chain and transportation challenges, and ultimately solutions out there in the market that can ease these challenges.”

Brian Everett, TMSA’s CEO, observed that he’s seeing a significant increase among TMSA members who are hosting user conference or event and having more formal, routine customer satisfaction meetings and audits.

Sharing Ideas on “The Buyer’s Journey”
Attendees split up into smaller groups to discuss the four phases of the Buyer’s Journey.

  1. When attracting suspects and prospects, leverage industry events, advertising and PR, digital media/SEO, and outbound calls. Pay-per-click, determining the right trade events, and leveraging LinkedIn groups were just a few primary ways of generating leads.
  2. When converting prospects and leads, emphasize “calls to action,” sales efforts, digital media, and web/social media. Placing significant resources and efforts to knowing, understanding, and segmenting your target audiences will likely generate much improved results.
  3. When closing leads into actual customers, take advantage of the power of live interactions, powerful sales presentations, lead scoring, and CRM integrations. The important thing is to listen to your customers and ultimately have a well-defined process in closing the deals so that you can deliver on your promises.
  4. Lastly, implement strong customer retention programs that ultimately will turn them into your biggest advocates. This can be accomplished through strategic measurement (satisfaction and results), loyalty strategies, product integrity, and customer service. User conferences, customer surveys and other measurement tools are critical in maintaining and surpassing customer expectations.

 Interested in learning more?
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