Published in B2B

What Does Winning Look Like? C.H. Robinson Q&A

C.H. Robinson Q&A: A CX Program Designed to Surface Customer Trends and Needs

An interview with Matt Ostrowski, Director of Business Development, C.H. Robinson, from the book Unlock the Value of CX. The book addresses the value that great customer experiences can have and how to deliver customer experience the right way to accelerate insights, results, and value. Download the ebook here.

How and Why Did You Start Your Customer Experience Program?

At C.H. Robinson we knew we needed to change things up a bit when it came to servicing our customers. In September 2015, I attended a Forrester Research conference on customer experience (CX). My main goal was to network and gather intel to help me build the company’s CX program. To this point, my research included online searches and voraciously reading everything I could find about CX topics in various publications and journals. At the time, we did some Voice of the Customer (VoC) across a small sub-set of our customers, but we weren’t sure we were getting enough of the right perspectives. Our customer turnover rate was normal for a 110-year-old company and we were growing, but not at the rate we felt we could. As a result, I began looking into additional things we could do to become more customer centric. More importantly, we wanted to explore trends and ensure what we’re doing was right—for all of our customers. We began kicking the CX tires and launched a beta CX program at the end of 2015. This program began with a simple Net Promoter Score (NPS®) program, specifically designed for gathering, aggregating and standardizing feedback. The program began with a small sample size of our corporate services users.

What Did You Find In Your Early Beta Customer Experience Program?

Our NPS scores were good, surprisingly good, to start out with. As we became more comfortable with what we were doing, we started moving beyond just kicking the tires and launched the CX program nationwide. The results were great right from the start. We were actually surprised at the amount of feedback we received and how it enabled us to look at trends and areas we need to tackle, in order to provide our customers with the service they want and expect. Since launching the CX program nationwide, our NPS scores have increased significantly. We quickly realized that we didn’t want to focus solely on our NPS score. NPS is important because it helps us identify and key in on trends and prioritize insights but we realized we needed to do more than collect an NPS score.

How Did You Expand Your Program to Move Beyond Just an NPS Score?

In early 2016 we launched a customer program that opened up a whole new source of trend data. What we quickly found is that we’re getting a lot of recognition from customers calling out specific account managers and other members of our operations team for providing outstanding service. Customers are calling these team members out by name and sharing specific experiences of how they’re always pulling them out of the fire and saving them time and money because of their expertise. We used this customer feedback to implement an internal recognition program. The program highlights and acknowledges outstanding customer comments. When these comments are received, our senior executive team reviews them and then hand writes a thank you note to the account manager and the person’s supervisor thanking them for their efforts. The senior executives encourage the supervisors to share these notes publicly and make a big deal about them to the entire team. The result of our employee recognition has been an increase in awareness about our CX program and a company-wide commitment and motivation to strive for excellence with every customer interaction. People at all levels appreciate feedback and this has done a lot to help further our efforts and expand our CX program.

What’s Next In the Evolution of Your CX Program?

Our industry is competitive and we need to ensure we are continuing to provide value to our customers. We’re working on measuring and driving efforts to be more CX friendly to improve every customers’ experience. With the listening posts we’ve implemented, our customers now have a way to provide direct feedback. They’ve never had this before and they’re taking advantage of it. Since starting our first program, we’ve launched a series of additional surveys to gather trend information and are working on implementing our CX program globally.

How Do You Define Winning?

There are many ways to define winning. For C.H. Robinson, as we started this journey we wanted to become more customer friendly to drive customer and employee satisfaction worldwide. Understanding our customer trends so we can make working with us easier, and more pleasurable. Since our CX program roll-out we’ve seen our survey response rates rise significantly higher than expected. Our customers are responding more frequently, and they’re letting us know they appreciative having a voice. Even though, our detractor rate was not significantly high, we’ve seen an increasingly smaller number of detractors. Our NPS scores are helping us key in on trends and prioritizing insights. Our employees are seeing customer feedback successes, being recognized, which is leading to greater employee engagement. And more divisions are getting involved, and our customers are responding positively. All of this is “winning” to us. Our CX program is making us more effective at doing the right things, to make sure we’re impacting our customers in a way they appreciate and ensure we are providing services they value.