TT Talk - Do you really know what your customer wants?

  • Date: 02/03/2004
  • Source: TT Talk 42

Postgraduate research by Steven Bell, as part of his MSc in logistics and supply chain management at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, has highlighted several gaps between the services freight forwarders think their customers want, and what the customers are actually looking for. As part of his research, Steven chose twenty-three different aspects of transport operators' services and asked operators and their clients to rank them in order of importance.

While there was general agreement about the ranking of many aspects of operators' services, including speed of service and reliability of delivery times, the study highlights major differences in perception about the use of modern technology, Shippers ranked operators' willingness to develop internet-based services as No. 2 in their wish-list; forwarders put it down at No. 12. While, in interviews, many forwarders agreed that the provision of internet-based services was important, it is clear that they are still some way from meeting their clients' requirements.

Similarly, shippers thought tracking and tracing services were fairly important, putting them in at No. 8, while forwarders put them down at No. 14. One customer reported during an interview that an effective tracking and tracing system had been his primary requirement when selecting a new forwarder.

Forwarders, on the other hand, thought that their company's willingness to negotiate rate changes and their company's reputation would be significant factors for a customer to consider when choosing a transport operator, ranking them at Nos. 2 and 5. Customers did not agree: they put these factors at a lowly 15 and 14 respectively. Forwarders were concentrating on their image, thinking that this would attract more business, but customers were more interested in past performance. From an insurance point of view, there was general agreement on the relative importance of an operator's record of loss and damage to goods in transit: the customers put this at No. 9, the operators at No. 10.

Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited and TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited, trading as the TT Club. TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited, registered in the UK (Company number: 02657093) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. In Hong Kong, TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is authorised and regulated by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority, in Singapore by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and in Australia by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. In the United States, TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is approved as a surplus lines insurer in all states and is accessible through properly licensed surplus lines brokers. The registered offices are: 90 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 4ST.

Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited, registered in Bermuda (Company number: 1750) is authorised and regulated in Bermuda by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. 

The UK VAT Identification number for Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Limited is: GB 564 5244 35 and for TT Club Mutual Insurance Limited is: GB 564 3375 30. The Italian VAT Identification number for TT Club Mutual Ltd is: 03627210101.

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