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Distribution is the Key to Great Customer Service

By Chris Kane | 01/14/2011 | 8:02 AM

Following a season of online shopping and multiple trips to the grocery store and the mall, I had no problem determining the focus of my first post of the New Year: customer service. As many of us can attest, it comes in varying degrees and is dependent upon a multitude of factors. But what does it mean in terms of distribution?

I placed an order with Zappos.com for a holiday gift. I requested no expedited delivery options, as I had placed the order weeks in advance and was content with the site’s 5-7 day estimated delivery date. To my surprise, the package was on my doorstep the very next day. As a customer, I was very pleased that Zappos had exceeded my expectations. As a logistician, I was impressed with the speed of the delivery and the streamlined relationship between the order and the shipment processes.

At the Grocery Store
Seafood is a must at my holiday gatherings, so I went to Wegmans grocery store to pick up scallops and lobster tails. Apparently this was the best day to purchase seafood because by the time I arrived at the store, most of the inventory was gone. The seafood department manager assured me they were getting another delivery that night and that he would personally pull my order from the new stock if I would return tomorrow morning. Sure enough, by 10 a.m. the next day, my order was waiting. If the manager had not been confident in his order and his delivery schedule, I would’ve gone to another store in search of my seafood.

In the Store
Despite careful list building and gift consideration, I had to make an exchange. I had purchased a video game online at Target.com and had ordered the wrong one. The easiest method, according to the website, was to return it to my local store and purchase the correct item which was in-stock at that location (also according to the website). Although I was hesitant that this was indeed the "easiest" method, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the return a breeze, but the right game was available just as the site predicted. Inventory transparency has clearly simplified such transactions, helping retailers increase sales and customer loyalty.

Overall, I was delighted with the distribution services I experienced this holiday season. Is your supply chain delighting your customers?







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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Chris Kane

Chris Kane

Christopher J. Kane is Chief Customer Strategy Officer for Kane is Able, Inc., a family owned third party logistics provider in Scranton, Pa. that specializes in the consumer packaged goods sector. Kane has spent 32 years at the company, rising from driver to overseeing all marketing strategy and execution for Kane Companies.


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