GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
A 21-year-old college senior and his roommate started a business that stored students’ belongings over the summer. They rented a warehouse and hired a local trucking company to pick up items at the dorms and take them to the warehouse to store for the summer. The company was becoming a college business success story. Then, in the middle of final exam week, the trucking company quit the project with 84 more pickups and customers left to service.
What does an entrepreneurial senior in the middle of final exams do? If he’s customer-focused (and he is), he stays up all night studying and doing pickups himself, honoring his commitment to these 84 students and still passing his exams!
That’s the beginning of Mark Ang’s story. Today, just six years later, Ang is the CEO and co-founder of GoBolt, which has evolved into a successful logistics company from what he and his roommate, Heindrik Bernabe, started in college. That company has gone beyond serving college students and now provides logistics and “last mile” delivery services for many businesses and well-known brands. Currently, they have over 1,500 employees, 14 warehouses and hundreds of trucks across the U.S. and Canada. The company is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a multi-year winner of Deloitte’s Fast 50 and a recipient of the SupplyTech Breakthrough Award for Last Mile Solution Providers.
I interviewed Ang for Amazing Business Radio, and we talked about the secret of his success. Today, his company continues to grow at an exponential rate. The secret, according to Ang, is to live by these three main principles:
1. Customer Obsession
Just as he honored his commitments to his customers during his final exam week in college, he continues to obsess over making sure his customers are taken care of in a manner that will grow their trust and confidence in the organization.
2. Failure Is Not an Option
Ang would not accept defeat when the trucking company he hired in college broke their agreement. He figured out how to juggle school and business and came out on top of both, and he continues to focus on this principle today.
3. An Insatiable Desire to Win
This is where “Failure Is Not an Option” comes to life. Combining this principle with a love and obsession for your customers gives you a formula for success.
Even with these three principles in play, you must still be smart about running a business. These principles serve as a backdrop to many of Ang’s processes, strategies and tactics for running the company. Here are some of his customer-obsessed strategies that have helped him grow the business to where it is today:
Availability: A brand needs to be available to its customers 24/7. While not all businesses need around-the-clock support, his company does. Technology can answer the most basic questions at any time of day. Ang and his partner, co-founder and CTO of the company, leverage technology to deliver the best customer service.
Communication: Brands must provide communication channels that are convenient for customers. The customers will reach out by phone, email, chat, social media and other channels, and the company must be there to listen and respond.
Get It Right the First Time: This is another way of saying first-contact resolution. If agents have the correct customer information in front of them, they should be able to handle questions, problems or complaints on the first call. No customer should have to call back again and again to get an issue resolved.
Proactive Customer Support: If there is a problem the company knows about, reach out to customers before they call in. The credibility and trust that builds is huge. For example, a shipment might get delayed because of the weather. Ang believes (and he’s correct) that the right thing to do is to immediately inform the customer. It may not be good news, but it is information that the customer needs.
Ang’s final comments in our interview were to invest the time needed to create the optimal experience. Customer support, by nature, is reactive. It’s easy to get inundated with activity as you work in your business and not on your business. Take time to learn about what your customers want, research the right technology for your business and spend time with your team to understand what they need to be a customer-obsessed organization.
Image Credit: Shep Hyken
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