Anyone earnestly involved in supply chain thinks a lot about customer service, but it’s been on my mind even more since the release of the Inbound Logistics July issue. In that issue, C.H. Robinson was honored as the #1 Top 3PL for the second year in a row.
Two things make the Inbound Logistics ranking especially meaningful to me. First, customers do the ranking. They vote based on their experiences with their providers’ customer service and execution.
Day to day, I’ve seen how hard our employees work to understand customer initiatives at a deeper level, and to support their customer’s goals effectively. I’ve also noticed that becoming the Top 3PL motivates us to work ever harder for the customer. It’s an amazing self-fulfilling phenomenon.
Second, it tells me how important feedback is—positive or negative—as we strive to offer a better customer experience. This is in part related to the principle, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” articulated in the Seven Principles of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, who unfortunately passed away recently. Customers are logical and rational, and generally have reasonable expectations. We often need to take the time to understand what a customer really wants, beyond what they may simply be asking for at that moment. When we ask questions, customers are quite willing to tell us where we stand, how we’re doing, and how things are going. And that kind of healthy communication is essential as we work toward more effective business relationships.
Many of our best customers today admit they were once skeptical that we could be an important resource for them. Amazingly, some even doubted our basic ability to perform initially. But all it takes is one or two sharp minds in an organization to make a decision and set great things in motion. It inspires me to hear someone say, “This is the right thing to do, and we’re going to get it done,” and then, they take action. And many of these people receive recognition, acclaim, and promotions within their organizations. They take a calculated risk that pays off for their company—and for them personally. That’s my favorite type of customer story. We’re proud to work hard and support that kind of success.
I believe that perhaps the most important thing our employees understand is this: customer service isn’t done by companies. It’s accomplished by people helping other people, and truly caring about the results. In other words, what we really want is to have our customers enjoy interacting with us, and to feel—and actually be—better off for having done business with us.
If you voted for us, thank you! Rest assured, we are listening to your feedback, good and bad, and taking it to heart. It’s the only way we know to improve and continually deliver exceptional value, every single day.