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The integration of new technologies into daily life has accelerated at near light-speed in the past few decades. With the third tech-native generation of humans a mere 4 years away it is becoming more critical than ever to have a digital strategy in place to serve your customers and partners alike. Companies that don’t adapt to a more tech-forward future with a focus on user experience will find it difficult to remain competitive and resilient over time.
For shipping companies, that tech-forward strategy comes together in the form of the transportation management system (TMS).
In the past, we have covered the topic of TMS tools and capabilities. But today, we are going to take a look at something a little different. Today, we are going to discuss a few of the User Experience (UX) features of a good TMS. These user experience features include things like the ability to customize the UI, live tracking tools, access to direct communication with a representative, and the option of self-service.
Let's begin with the most obvious...
One of the quickest ways a provider can improve their UX is to allow their clients a seamless and simple way to access their dashboard. The process should securely capture and retain the user's information and business details in as few steps as possible on the front end.
This sounds like a no-brainier, but there is a lot of work and front-loading that goes into creating this capability on the back end. As companies' supply chains become more digitized, the need for access to more digital tools enters the TMS space.
Single Sign-On (SSO) is a way in which this is generally performed so as to keep all relevant tools the client may utilize through the platform easily accessible and all under one hood.
We will get to more of the options later but for now, it’s important to know that creation of the account should be kept simple with a smooth login process from that point forward. If it becomes too tedious to start or a headache to get into then there is a chance that customers will look elsewhere for ease of access.
Because everything is shifting in favor of a fully digitized workplace, we all want to feel that we have some level of control and familiarity with the platforms we work with on a daily basis. This is especially true for those companies seeking to make a transition from a previously wholly traditional workflow to a fully digitized approach.
It is important to be able to arrange the tools in a manner that suits the user's workflow. This looks different from one individual user to the next.
Allowing various tools, widgets, and indexes to be rearranged is something that users should have access to in order to improve the user experience. In essence, letting the user set up their own “desk” in a way that simplifies and streamlines tasks for them in the most comfortable way possible.
Obviously, unlimited customization is unrealistic but offering as many options as possible is the name of the game. You want your digital presence to feel comfortable and flexible not rigidly uniform.
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Package tracking used to be a premium service but now you can get up-to-the-minute tracking on most everyday orders. Because tracking has become a commonplace standard, users are wanting that same convenience no matter the delivery.
It is crucial that your TMS offers not only text-based location confirmation but some kind of visual representation. Between using scan-in/scan-out on all shipments at warehouses and GPS on trucks you are likely already gathering all the data needed on any order in your system. The ability to share that information with your customers in a user-friendly manner gives them an extra sense of peace of mind.
Benefiting more than just the UX, showing more accurate tracking information will let businesses anticipate stock with better precision. This ensures companies can meet their requests in a timely manner.
While email is still a cornerstone, today’s cyber citizen wants the ability to ask a question on the fly. Furthermore, they don't want to have to hit refresh on a third-party client while waiting for a reply. Ideally, they should be met with an integrated messaging feature to talk directly to someone.
Most TMS platforms have some integrated communication systems in place that allow for seamless communication between teams within their company. However, not all TMS solutions providers make it easy for clients to reach out directly from the platform itself.
Simplifying communications with customers and partners you serve right from the platform only helps build a more positive user experience.
Giving users the chance to plan the route for their shipments allows them to better understand the timelines and costs. All while also taking the guesswork out of the process.
After the course for transport is plotted the user should receive a concise breakdown of all the charges. This includes a total price that is “all in”. This way they are able to better budget while not being afraid of surprise fees and hidden costs.
Of course, giving them the option to pay directly from their TMS account makes the transaction even more seamless. Simultaneously creating less work for your in-house staff.