Customers are funny. I can say that because I spend a lot of my time being a customer. When I book a hotel, when I go to the local grocery store, or when I order my Christmas gifts online. I probably spend the majority of my evenings being a customer in one form or another.
And then there’s my day job: leading the Twill Customer Care team.
Providing proactive and knowledgeable customer care to our customers is pivotal in what we do at Twill. Our vision is that “customers should feel valued and cared for as a result of proactive and positive support culture. Twill’s customer care team should be ‘easy to access’ and well-informed, leading to timely service with minimal effort from the customer.”
So how are we working on delivering that here at Twill? Well, there are a couple of key ingredients that are helping us not just service our customers, but also retain them. My team can proudly say that our customer retention statistics have remained extremely high – here are some ways in which we’re learning how to keep it that way.
Spread customer feedback to the entire organization
The Customer Care team is the front line (as they say). They receive feedback from customers constantly, whether that’s an email, a phone call, a rating in a survey, or a subtle question about their shipment. Every interaction is a form of feedback.
But it’s not always the Customer Care team who can act on the feedback, so it can’t just stay with us. In Twill, we spread the news. Every morning, the global organization (operations team, tech team, people team, product team – all of us) huddles to discuss our customers’ mood based on yesterday’s events. We each share our perspective on our customers’ moods. If a shipment got delayed – we assume the customer mood would be yellow. Did we deploy a feature our customer was waiting for? We share the win and assume the customer is feeling green! We don’t need to hear it from our customers to know that a shipment delay is bad, so why not put it out there, discuss it, and ensure the whole Twill team takes part in fixing it?
Sometimes, it’s an operational process we need to tighten up. Other times it can be a product feature that is missing. But in all cases, if it’s a problem for our customer, it’s a problem for Twill and then we all rally together to get it fixed!
Create a structure for end-to-end collaboration
If you’re shipping your cargo from China to the UK, guess what: people in China and the UK need to work together to make it happen! Many traditional freight forwarders have the “origin versus destination” mentality: if I’ve done my part in the origin to get the cargo on the boat, it’s your job at destination to deal with it from there. But that handover is too important to leave it to chance and good vibes.
Thar’s why, at Twill, all parties (China and UK for example) get on the phone together every day to proactively identify potential risks for each shipment. We identify where our extra attention is needed and update each other to stay on top of the full end to end process.
Constant attention on our customers’ silent feedback
Did you book a shipment every week last month, and suddenly nothing this month? Did you book with Twill once and not yet a second time? I bet there’s a reason. And I want to know that reason, so that we can grow and develop the way you need us to.
The entire Twill Customer Care team stays close to our customer trends so that we pick up on the subtle hints you’re sending us. Maybe it’s because Twill can’t (yet) service your geographical needs – in that case we want to know, so that we know where to open offices next. Or maybe you have a seasonal business shipping Christmas trees. Okay, we’ll leave you alone for a bit! Maybe you’re feeling insecure about doing it online. It’s okay, we’re here to guide and support. Our Customer Care team is trained to listen to your needs, even when you’re not talking.
As I said, customers are funny. Sometimes when we don’t say anything at all, we are shouting the loudest. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a freight forwarding partner that gets your mood without you having to say a thing?
-Barbara Peric, Head of Operations