This article was originally posted on TMSA’s blog.
TMSA went back to school a little early this year. The organization’s July 29 Strategic Interest Group, moderated by Founder and CEO of CX University, Mohamed Latib, PhD featured a mix of insights from research findings and first-hand experiences from participants. A special thanks goes out to TMSA Corporate Member, Courtney Keenan at RLS Logistics for sharing CX trend data and insights in the B2B sector to support the discussion.
Across industries in B2B and B2C, CX is the new battlefield for companies, where customers are won, lost and held onto. Behind the new importance of CX to businesses, Dr. Latib points to the democratization of knowledge and information brought about by the Internet and the ease with which dissatisfied consumers can click away to new sellers. “Power now sits with the customer,” he says. And that customer demands a higher level of service.
So what does CX have to do with the rough and ready world of transportation and logistics? A lot, according to Dr. Latib and SIG participants. Here’s the high level:
B2B lacks CX stars.
Role models of B2C CX like Ritz-Carlton are plentiful, but when it comes to naming CX stars in B2B, examples are rare. That spells opportunity for companies who successfully differentiate on CX in the logistics space.
Personalization has impact.
Prospects assume responses and correspondence are handled by AI and robots today. So much so, that when prospects discover they’re actually chatting with a real person, they’re surprised. One participant from a large 3PL described how a prospect thanked her for responding with a personal email. The prospect was so used to templated messages that it made an impression.
When faced with failure, be sincere.
Dr. Latib mentioned transparency as being one of the main aspects of positive customer experience. He says that even when solutions don’t come fast enough, openness and honesty are in order. The translation to logistics is that shippers can forgive mistakes, not silence. So apologize, provide updates and explain the reason for mistakes.
The rise of the CXO role.
Dr. Latib cited an industry trend of the role and title of chief experience officer replacing the chief marketing officer role and title. He believes this reflects changing goals at companies to deliver beyond customer expectations. Participants agreed that their companies are doing more CX initiatives—such as strengthening account management models and staffing—and seeing more customer experience manager or officer roles.
Silos remain an obstacle to CX initiatives.
Even with CXO roles coming on the scene, Dr. Latib sees a recurring conflict playing out in companies. CX crosses many departments and points in the customer’s journey. It’s common for individual team members to resist an official “owner of CX” in the company telling them how to do their job.
Nevertheless, customers see every interaction with a company as one experience from sales and support to billing, according to Latib. If you fail on one touchpoint, the customer’s perception of the whole experience suffers. The takeaway is that everyone needs to be on board with CX across the company. Participants with successful CX initiatives emphasized the importance of top-down commitment to CX and CX education for all employees in all departments as crucial for a great customer experience through and through.
CX is a forever journey.
Don’t expect CX to be a passing trend we all wake up from in a few years. The group affirmed that programs to promote CX companywide and report regularly on CX KPIs like Net Promoter Scores are becoming the new normal.
Empathy is a valued skill.
According to Dr. Latib, people pay for great CX, and they reward companies with excellent CX with their loyalty. He says the direct link to revenue makes empathy a necessary skill organization wide. Participants concurred and mentioned their companies are training employees in the skill of standing in the shoes of the customer at every touchpoint.
The next frontier is employee experience (EX).
Happy employees are better employees. And happier, better employees take better care of customers! It seems fundamental, but companies are taking the experience of their employees more and more seriously. The ability to review their employer publicly and anonymously, makes employees consumers of employment. “They can click away, too,” Dr. Latib says. He believes in the future we will see closer ties between HR and the CXO.
This is especially applicable to transportation and logistics where companies across the country face long-standing driver and warehouse labor shortages. As logistics companies compete for job candidates, they’re looking for better ways of competing on EX.
Your job just got harder.
Logistics marketers are increasingly being tasked with CX and EX initiatives that have both an internal and external focus. The new realities are challenging existing structures; for example, recruiting drivers and communicating out to drivers and other employees and partners is moving out of the realm of HR and into the project queues of the marketing department. Employees have become an important target, Latib says, and HR is leveraging marketing’s expertise in digital marketing, social media and advertising to create not only a great CX, but also a great EX.
This blog post was written by Conrad Winter, TMSA Marketing Committee member. Conrad is a freelance copywriter specializing in content and copy writing for transportation and logistics. Based in Metuchen, NJ, he creates website copy, campaigns, blog posts, whitepapers and case studies for carriers, 3PLs and industry associations.