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By Mike Jones, Head of Delivery
This will be my tenth peak at ILG. Each has presented challenges on a scale never seen before. Yet, somehow, these unprecedented conditions end up being considered the norm for the following year. As time passes and ILG and our clients continue to grow, each peak period throws up new challenges which we must prepare for and overcome. This week’s theme is ‘Self-serving’, and the mechanisms ILG have in place to allow you to take control of your deliveries.
Our introduction to a new way of working
When I started my career at ILG as a Fulfilment Account Executive, many of the tasks and queries I received from clients in my first peak trading period were the same as our Client Services Team experience today. As our industry evolved and our carriers introduced new ways of working and the ability to self-serve, it became obvious that we needed to bring ILG’s capabilities in line with those of our competitors. In 2018, ILG partnered with Metafour, a company specialising in courier-related software. Integration with Metafour revolutionised the way we interacted with our carrier partners and gave us a platform to design our own online portal for clients to self-serve.
Implementing change to our client base
For many years, ILG’s delivery fleet has collected shipments from our local clients and brought to our facilities where our staff would process, label and send them on their way with the chosen suppliers. The introduction of Metafour software gave our clients the tools to self-serve and ensured that all parcels destined for ILG were labelled with the correct carrier label prior to pick up. This was a huge step-up for ILG’s service offering and bought us into line with our industry competitors. It also enabled us to start looking at future developments to enhance the delivery experience for all.
Your ability to self-serve through peak in 2020
I often reminisce with colleagues who have experienced previous peak periods with me over the last 10 years. It is hugely satisfying to see how far we have come in that time. What we are capable of today seemed impossible only a few years ago. Thanks to these advances, we are now in a fantastic position to continue to work through peak and focus on what is important for our clients.
Enabling our clients to self-serve through peak will ensure our Client Services Team is on hand to deal with urgent requests and ensure we respond to and resolve queries within our advertised SLAs. Here are ILG’s five top tips on how you can self-serve without contacting the Client Services Team:
1) Review who exceptions are sent to – One of the key advantages of the ILG system is the ability to inform you of an exception when we are notified by our carrier. Over the years, this feature has proven to be a great benefit and we strongly suggest you review who within your company receives notifications and tell us if this point of contact needs updating. This will help us to optimise the way we communicate exceptions through peak.
2) The ability to quote online – One of the most common requests we receive is for a shipping quote. Your own unique ILG Portal provides delivery rates information for any courier service provided via ILG. Here you can obtain shipping quotes for export and import courier shipments via the Quote function. This gives you a real-time price on shipments without having to contact ILG. If you are looking for quotes on freight shipments or ‘Cross Trade’ services, please feel free to get in touch with the team.
3) Book your imports and third-party collections online – The ability to book collections and imports via the ILG portal has been one of our most successful enhancements over the last few years. We are making significant progress with further improvements to the booking process. However, to ensure a timely and efficient booking we recommend you book all courier-related imports and third-party collections online.
4) Pickup Manager – a complete self-service tool available to all clients – Our newest and quite possibly best enhancement yet, Pickup Manager enables you to fully self-serve on your imports and third-party collections. Currently accessible through a DHL Express service, you can now obtain the shipping label and schedule the pickup of all imports and third-party collections via the Pickup Manager option. This gives you complete control and frees up our team to focus on your urgent queries.
5) Detailed order tracking – Believe it or not, the tracking capabilities on the ILG website are as good, if not better, than the tracking on any carrier website. Our integration allows us to tailor the information displayed via the ILG Portal and ensure visibility across all areas of your shipments journey, from start to finish. All tracking of your courier shipments is available online and I strongly encourage all our clients to take full advantage of ILG’s transparent approach to your shipments. If you do receive exception notifications from ILG, we urge you to check the tracking of the shipment prior to contacting the team, in case an update has already been supplied to our carrier.
The Pickup Manager option is currently being rolled out, but if this is something that would benefit you today, please get in touch with the team and we will look to implement immediately.
Our ability to push the capabilities through a multi-carrier offering will continue to challenge us. However, I am confident that our current systems and options give you the tools and information you need to enhance your own service offering to your clients. There is still much to be achieved, but what is in place currently is built specifically for you and allows us to share delivery information with you simultaneously and in the same format.
Please continue to feedback on future enhancements and pass on any suggestions you may have for further improvements. I am certain that by following these five tips you will help us to deliver a successful peak in 2020!