As we become more connected in the digital world, sometimes actual, organic business relationships lose priority in today’s technological rush.
Look at the multi-billion dollar Internet shipping industry as an example: One really doesn’t have to leave their home to have the latest and greatest products delivered to their door. Convenient? Absolutely. But some would say customer service suffers as your item is passed through many hands, tossed about by people you never meet, and accountability suffers.
However, just as the Internet has revolutionized traditional business models, it’s also stratified industries like shipping, evening the playing field between hauling giants UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service and small, one or two person operations. With some planning, an individual online shipper can have nearly the same digital presence as the big guys, work for themselves, set their own schedules and see the country.
Most importantly, online shippers foster personal relationships with their customers, often sending pictures of their cargo from the road (especially pets), and updating delivery status in real time.
Just as critically, successful online shippers know positive customer feedback from completed loads leads to more business. The result: accountability. Online shippers meet the customer, load the cargo and deliver to the destination themselves. No middlemen, no transfers from truck-to-truck or tossing fragile packages onto conveyor belts.
White–glove service for delicate heirlooms, valuable antique and Mid-Century Modern furniture, and any large item has become a hallmark niche of the online shipping community, leading to decreased customer shipping prices for cargo that formerly required pricey 18-wheeler trucking services and prolonged delivery times.
“The game has changed for the individual shipper,” said Maurice Vaughn, a driver that uses online shipping company CitizenShipper.com. “Some online shipping companies are better than others, because your profile is so important.
“As a small businessman, CitizenShipper has helped me maintain my profile much better than another prominent company I was with. They’ve adjusted to the changes and it’s rewarded my business volume.”
As for the customer service side of the coin, the eight-year veteran says going above and beyond the public’s slumping expectations from the shipping giants is simple.
“It’s not hard to talk to customers with respect, show appreciation and earn their trust,” Vaughn said. “It brings out the pleasant side of both people in the transaction.”
As the digital revolution continues to transform the shipping industry, personal relationships between customer and driver will be key. Do any readers have a story of exceptional service from a CitizenShipper driver? Please share it with us.