How sweet the sound
To have saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now am found
And now I see’
- Author Unknown
Its author is unknown but this familiar ancient hymn seems to stir something in our collective DNA.
It speaks to redemption and compassion no matter how low things get in life.
And who doesn’t want a second chance after all?
Who doesn’t want to get another ‘kick at the can’, if you will?
The biggest learning that I have gotten from running our transportation management software business is just how important it is to have an ongoing, collaboration with our customers.
We are joined at the hip with one another. We work together symbiotically. We gather their feedback formally, and informally, and adjust our product and services accordingly on a ‘just in time’ basis.
We know that you can make a great transportation management software application, that you can’t make a great transportation management software company, if you don’t pay close attention to what your customers are saying and what they want.
That is the magic elixir to success. But it amazes me how much other companies don’t do it.
Here are some ways we work at it.
- The President is in the game. When I was a consultant I was amazed how off course companies could get, how out of touch senior executives became when they didn’t engage with their customers. I vowed that would never happen at any company I led. I have talked to over 1,000 customers in my three years here. I learn and gain inspiration from them. They give me ideas for our application, input on our service, and without knowing it, they stimulate topics for my blog posts. Just a ‘turn of a phrase’ or some word will do it.
- We reach out to speak with customers every day. Yes, we have a lot of online interactions, but it doesn’t replace a good conversation. Our Customer Success Director is always reaching out to see how we can help customers. Everyone is connected to the customer.
- We phone our customers at key times in the relationship just to get a ‘temperature check’ for the relationship. Customers generally appreciate that a supplier is willing to ask for feedback. And, we phone not only those who stay with us, but those who cancel their subscriptions. As Bill Gates said “some of your biggest learning will come from your unhappiest customers.” I have never forgotten that.
- We also use ‘in-app chat’. People want help on their trucking and freight broker software at the very moment they are using it. They want to reach out and see a quick chat message and receive help ‘in tempo’. We have a great group of customer success agents who know the application and can solve a customer’s problem quickly. They don’t want to receive a call or support ticket two-days later when a customer is trying to send out an invoice and gets stuck.
And this is where the ‘Amazing, Great’ comes in.
You see, after a more involved and considered engagement the customer success software we use to support allows us to automatically send a brief, quick survey asking customers how we did, how helpful the support person and interaction was.
The results of those customer ratings show up in they system in the form of ’emojis’, in happy, smiling faces mostly. Underneath these faces we see the words
When I see these, I start humming that lovely hymn. I can almost hear the bagpipes warming up, and a big smile then comes to my face.
We also get the odd ‘OK’. But once we got a ‘Terrible’.
So, we phoned up the customer and asked him what happened?
We received a wonderful gift that day, because his feedback taught us a valuable lesson. He was one of our best customers, greatest users of the system, and understood a lot about us. But we missed on that one service interaction. It was a miss because we didn’t take responsibility for something when we should have done so. He said he had always come to ‘expect more from us’ – that he wanted to cut through the clutter and send us a message saying, ‘hey, you missed here and you need to address it’. His intent was to make us better, to maintain our standards – not to drag us down.
Yes, he saved ‘a wretch like us that day’. And while we missed on that particular interaction, the overall arch of our relationship was and is still good.
His gift was not allowing us to be ‘just good enough’. We learned that if you listen to your customers you can’t help but get great. You have to want to get great WITH them.
To do so, you just have to learn accept feedback, avoid sticking your head in the sand when it’s not going well, and be willing to eat some humble pie on occasion.
And if you can do that, you will find it Amazing, Great to do so.
And how sweet is that sound?
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