The art of good communication seems at first to be redundant in transportation. It appears to be centred on numbers, systems and details organised on computers and at desks. But there is an urgent need in this industry to come to better grips with communication skills.
It is a customer service industry
Despite the fact that any logistics company centres on providing efficient means of transportation for material goods, it is, in the end, a customer service industry. The back-end processes of this industry inevitably rely on the front-end work of leveraging clients and building business relationships. If customer service skills are not employed, jobs will falter, and to a large extent excellent customer service comes down to good communication.
Build rapport with clients
Part and parcel of excelling at communication skills is rapport building. That initial connection with a client over a firm handshake, a shared joke, or pertinent eye contact sends a message that you are trustworthy and available. This is particularly useful in a logistics company as there is a need to establish fast rapport between clients and with employees. There is no point in being able to manage excellent workflows and coordinating the routes of hundreds of pieces of cargo if you are not able to develop a connection of trust with clients and employees who may turn to competitors instead.
Win contract negotiations
The core of a logistics company may lie in its ability to accurately and reliably monitor and move cargo, but there is no point to moving cargo if you can’t win contracts with clients. Some contract negotiations can be tense and daunting affairs, but even the simplest to-and-fros between prospective business partners happens in the context of competition. The ability to speak clearly, listen attentively, and adopt the right body posture can help assure that your prospective client signs with you rather than the competition.
Manage cross-cultural interactions
Much of modern transportation pays little heed to national borders. International trade is no new thing to many a logistics company. But even if you are an expert and moving goods across borders in a timely and productive manner, the cross-cultural interactions can brighten or dampen a deal depending on how they are managed. Hence it is extremely useful to understand cross-cultural communication cues, habits, and potential faux pas in order to make sure you make the most of your chances to deal with people from different countries.
Maintain employee satisfaction
Communication is not just an issue related to working with clients. In an industry where many employees require strong attention to detail and the capacity to work independently, there is nonetheless the basic worker need to be satisfied. It is hard to make sure your employees are happy if you cannot communicate well with them. Clear, honest feedback and effective reflective listening does wonders in ensuring a competent and dedicated workplace.