Like people, companies can get stuck in their ways. Sometimes taking a step back and looking at things from a different perspective can make all the difference. In North America Maersk Line customer satisfaction increased substantially when they introduced a new customer service concept.
"Think about all the times you've called up a service provider and been told 'Oh sorry, that's another department'. You feel unimportant, it's frustrating," says Tom Sproat, head of Customer Service in North America for Maersk Line.
He continues: "That's akin to what customers may have experienced before. But, now they have one point of contact and one customer service agent who will be able to help them."
Maersk Line North America piloted a new customer service concept, it has been getting the thumbs up from customers and will be rolled out across Maersk Line. The concept is simple really: take the time to build professional relationships with customers and be proactive in communication. North American customers now
rarely need to phone and ask why a shipment is late (or early), they have already been contacted by customer service with details and an explanation. Customers now know that if they haven’t heard anything (which is most of the time) the goods will arrive as planned. It wasn’t always like this...
Rewind just a year and things were very different. Customer feedback for Maersk Line North America was comparatively poor. With no single point of contact available for customers, they could be bounced around between different departments trying to find out where there shipment was. This just wasn’t good enough.
It wasn’t just annoying for customers, Maersk Line customer service people felt frustrated too. They wanted to help customers but didn’t feel they were able to. The new way of doing things is much better. As Tom Sproat puts it: ”Our employees like it too since they have ownership of a particular account. It's far more fulfilling for them.”
The initial pilot started in early 2011. It is now being rolled out throughout the entire Maersk Line organisation, begininng with key clients. By the end of this year customers representing 40% of Maersk Line volumes globally will have their own single point of contact in customer services.