Customer service. It’s an old idea that’s taken on a whole new meaning with the advent of ecommerce. Today’s consumers are quick to tell the world what they think of a company that doesn’t live up to their expectations. Why should it be any different for business-to-business services like equipment pooling? Rod Francis from CHEP explains how research helps him listen to what customers have to say, and explains why, when it comes to service, good enough isn’t good enough any more.

CHEP-pallets-in-factoryBecoming a simpler, easier and more intuitive company to do business with is something equipment pooling experts CHEP have been investing a lot of time and effort into recently. The equipment pooling market in the UK has evolved a lot in recent years. As the recognised market leader, CHEP has had to adapt to these market changes and customers are starting to see the benefits, says Rod Francis, Managing Director for CHEP UK & Ireland. “We are listening to the feedback our loyal customers give us and we are putting in place a series of service excellence initiatives and programmes to address some of these recurring themes”, he explains.

Hearing what customers have to say about service is essential. CHEP’s customers have already acknowledged improvements in customer service in its latest annual Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey.

“Any feedback we receive from our customers is treated very seriously – whether it’s positive or negative. What’s great about the NPS survey is that it’s a closed-loop approach, which ensures we review and revisit each and every piece of feedback we receive. Customers should see the benefits as the various service initiatives develop and evolve,” adds Rod.

Putting simple at the heart of the business

Simple, intuitive day-to-day operational interfaces are the key great service. To make CHEP easier to do business with, the CHEP team is working hard to develop new platforms that deliver ease, simplicity and clarity for every customer.

These include simplified pricing, with easier-to-follow charges; simplified invoicing and reporting, giving straightforward top-line figures and a clearer journey through the details of the account; a completely redesigned and improved online account interface with simpler, more intuitive navigation; and improved timing and tracking for more accurate deliveries.

Driving down costs with transport collaborations

But great service is about more than just smoothing out the day-to-day operations. One of the key areas the recent customer satisfaction survey acknowledged was CHEP’s innovative transport collaboration programme which encourages manufacturers, retailers and logistics service providers (LSPs) to work together to reduce inefficient running of vehicles.

Here’s how the programme works: typically, a CHEP customer delivers products to a retailer on CHEP pallets, and then returns with an empty truck. Under the transport collaboration programme, upon completing such a delivery, the truck – managed by a third-party logistics service provider – collects empty pallets from a CHEP partner or collects quality-inspected pallets from the nearest CHEP service centre for delivery to another CHEP customer.

This process eliminates empty truck movements and reduces transportation costs. Since its inception in 2009 over 50 CHEP customers have participated in the programme resulting in 3.2 million miles of road haulage and in excess of 60,000 journeys being removed completely from the supply chain within the UK & Ireland.

“The transport collaboration programme is a great example of how we can use our size and scale, as well as our position within the supply chain, for the benefit of our customers,” enthuses Rod “With this kind of collaboration, CHEP is helping customers reduce costs and benefit the environment through lower carbon emissions. The scheme is open to all, so I’d encourage manufacturers, retailers and LSPs alike to get in touch to discuss how we can work together in this area.”

www.chep.com