Karen Reddington, President, FedEx Asia Pacific [NYSE: FDX]
Logistics providers are using technology to connect to their customers in new ways, creating new standards for service and efficiency
Customer service in the logistics industry has traditionally relied on frontline employees, like the friendly delivery man. Once a siloed function within the logistics industry, customer service is increasingly integrated, creating new connections across previously discrete divisions. The catalyst? Technology.
In Asia, global supply chains are increasingly driven by emerging markets. By 2050, at least 8 of the top 20 economies will be in Asia (including China, India and Japan). With a booming population, rising middle class and growth in innovation, the logistics industry will fundamentally change.
To tackle this, technology must be used to create smarter, digitally driven supply chains that deliver new possibilities to customers with niche and diverse business needs. Digital innovation must solve a problem, be ever more adaptive and ready to respond to volatility and risk, and most importantly, reduce complexity and cost.
Whether in the warehouse or on a mobile app, technology creates new opportunities for logistics providers to engage with customers and enables brands to curate a superior customer experience. Designing and deploying these innovations require integrated teamwork, from IoT specialists to frontline delivery teams working together to meet ever-evolving expectations of convenience and speed.
Connect with customers wherever they are
Customer service today is no longer a transactional, offline activity. Now, logistics companies can talk to their customers before their shipment is even packaged, through online bots and live messaging services. Technologies like chatbots and FedEx online virtual assistant, enable providers to proactively advise customers on how to ship their goods and handle complex transactions, like international imports. The virtual assistant on www.fedex.com will respond right away. This level of immediacy is essential: three in four customers expect service within five minutes of making contact online.
The more people use chatbots, the smarter they become.
Providers who can meet high expectations will not only have more satisfied customers, but empowered customers who can expand their shipping capacity with confidence.
Consistently innovate with intelligence
With growing innovation in logistics, customers have rightly come to expect full transparency on how their packages are being shipped—and pinpoint-precise delivery timings.
Shipping for our healthcare customers is an area where this level of scrutiny, need for speed, and the highest quality of temperature-controlled shipping takes on critical importance. FedEx Healthcare Priority (FHP) provides specialized packaging and temperature-controlled shipping solutions, allowing customers to ship biogenetics, clinical samples, medicines and biomaterials at consistent temperatures for days. Customers can protect the integrity of biologics and chemical compounds by tracking and monitoring the ingredients from supplier to factory with a portfolio of temperature-controlled solutions we call FedEx Temp-Assure. Best-in-class sensors and wireless technologies ensure that perishable medicine is shipped and stored within its ideal temperature range at all times, thus mitigating against loss in Asia’s wildly varying climates – from intense tropical humidity and heat, to frigid chill of winter.
With our latest innovation SenseAware providing real-time monitoring, customers have a clear line of sight at every stage. Add to that unprecedented delivery times with zero compromise on reliability and you have a happy customer that trusts you.
For example, A heart patient in Asia such as Singapore can receive a pacemaker made half way round the world in 1 night; sensitive biomaterials such as human liver cells can be sent between Japan and the US; a small business; custom-designed cranial pieces can be delivered for surgery the very next day in the US.
A new generation of IoT innovations, like The Tron™ by FedEx will enable individual customers to benefit from real-time analytics, in a more accessible way. The Tron™ will supply real-time analytics to customers in Asia who need to track their small package deliveries that are crucial to them.
Prioritize convenience at every step of the journey
Ultimately, technology represents an opportunity to make the customer experience more convenient, from start to finish. We have robots that are already moving unwieldy packages in highly automated warehouses. Robots will soon deliver packages on the street, enabling customers to ship and receive their items more easily. This is an ideal solution for last mile deliveries – a classic customer service challenge.
RoxoTM, the FedEx SameDay Bot, will be navigating the sidewalks of select American cities with intelligence and agility, delivering packages to customers on time. While innovations like this are not yet ready for mass deployment, they offer an exciting glimpse into the intelligent future of logistics.
Technological innovations are particularly relevant in Southeast Asia, where the e-commerce market is growing rapidly and the internet economy could balloon to more than US$200 billion within a decade, according to reports.
This represents a great opportunity for the logistics industry to innovate, experiment and ultimately make shipping as convenient as possible for the customer, from the warehouse to their house.
The logistics industry has long sought to deliver superior customer service. But as new technologies emerge, so too will customer expectations. For logistics providers to stay ahead, they must continuously innovate and continue to improve current innovations. No longer a silo, customer experience has rightfully become the driving force of logistics.