A Case Study in the Payoffs of Persistence
Our truck delivers a load of apples at the retailer’s DC on time and perfect temps. It happens to be a Sunday morning. The driver is informed that 35 cases were damaged, somehow, and this fact of course was reflected on the BOL. And yes, the pictures taken clearly show damage.
But how did it happen? Was the product found like this upon delivery? Where was it in the trailer? Could it have happened during the unloading process? Were some cartons already compromised which led to them breaking down and falling? Did the driver drive like a crazy man?
It’s a Sunday, and there are other trucks to unload, so the driver is asked to leave with the damaged cartons. Of course, because it’s a Sunday, information about how this happened, from the lumper service’s perspective, is hard to track down.
Monday morning, Aly gets on the phone and starts the process of gathering answers. By the end of the day, after multiple emails, phone calls, and lots of waiting, she had her answer.
Cause? A pallet broke during the unloading, product fell, so now she was better positioned to discuss responsibility for the damaged product.
Here are five payoffs that resulted from Aly’s persistence:
This effort gave us the opportunity to strengthen our reputation, with all parties involved, for following through with problems. In this case, the truck and buyer know us well, so we delivered on their expectations for how we work. However, this would have been a great opportunity to begin creating a record with a new freight or carrier customer.
Why is this a big deal? It’s similar to something I learned watching a horse trainer work with a young filly. Deal with a problem in a significant, memorable manner now, for ‘the next time.’ Meaning, down the road, having this experience will give credibility and create greater trust. People will be confident that we know how to handle issues, and WILL handle issues, fairly and promptly.
This effort paid off for the truck. Two things to note. First, their claim will be at least half of what it would have been had Aly not dug in and discovered the answers. Remember two posts ago when I wrote about being an advocate? This is what I was talking about. Do the right thing! Get answers and then stand up for whoever should have that support.
Trust me, Aly had other things she could have been doing on Sunday and Monday, but she chose to follow through. And calling the shipper to point out their part in contributing to the damage was not on her ‘Most favorite thing to do’ list. It’s not fun, but it is necessary.
Interesting to note, the owner’s response when Aly told him the details,
“I know you do everything for us. Thank you.”
The second thing this did for the trucking company is give the owner an opportunity to go back and train/remind his driver about expectations and responsibilities involved in moving produce. It’s not about getting in the truck and driving from A to B. The driver should have been asking more questions at the time of the delivery so that Aly would have had more information to work with closer to the actual event, when the facts were still fresh in everyone’s mind. This is very important in resolving claims!
This effort actually cost the shipper, at least in the short term. The company was willing to help with the claim, primarily because there was not a lot of information about how or why it happened but there was adequate information to indicate that it was not entirely a truck issue.
The BIG payoff here, for Pam Young & Company, is that we were able to learn more about our customer’s preferences. Every company wants their business handled differently. Some freight customers don’t want to hear a thing unless there is major damage. Some want to handle things themselves, but not over the weekend, so they are prepared to pay a layover, if it is warranted, when the time comes.
This whole process opened necessary dialogue for the future (sound familiar? Another ‘For the next time’ scenario?) so that when the next question or problem arises, we will already know how to take care of things according to the desires of our customer.
The buyer, also a current customer, once again saw us work away at a problem, very unlike several of his other transportation providers. We were showing HIS customer that we had the experience, competence and willingness to follow through. This is one of the main reasons we are one of his preferred partners! Aly rewarded him for his loyalty by solving a problem.
This effort resulted in at least two new contacts with the lumper service. Now they know Aly with Pam Young & Company, Inc. Now we know who to call and get good answers when we have delivery issues. This will not be the last problem we have at this DC, but because we now have people who know what to expect from us when we need help, we know who to call.
So why are any of these paybacks really worth it? Why does any of this effort really matter?
We believe that our ‘why’ is always a critical consideration when we have choices about how we work. Our reason for being in this truck brokerage business is to be a part of helping our customers be successful in getting their product to market, whether it’s fresh produce or a truck service.
Think about it...going to market with a product or service can be exciting, for sure. But the real thrill or reward happens when the product or service sells, and sells well. So our view of customer service is not only about what our customers experience when they work with Pam Young & Company, Inc. It’s actually more about our desire of helping our customers experience success with their customer.
Tools in the logistical trade are like every other tool. A person has to know what to use (persistence) and when to use it (anytime your customer needs you to!)
Taking an active role, being diligent in and through a problem, has been one of the key differentiators in our brokerage service for over 30 years. It’s who we are!
Aly really didn’t know how this would all turn out at the end of the day. And honestly, we have had many situations where the outcome was not affected by the final facts. But one thing we know when the dust settles on any matter that requires lots of persistence is that we did the right things and chose not to leave any paybacks on the table.
Do you work with a broker? Hold them accountable when you need them the most.