Tag: Transportation Marketing

The Sainsbury Customer Service Letter and the Power of Social Media

Sainsbury’s is the third largest chain of supermarkets in the UK. In June of 2011, a 3 1/2 year old girl called Lily Robinson wrote a letter (with the help of her mom) to the supermarket chain posing a simple question. Why a certain type of bread sold by the chain is called “Tiger Bread” when it really has the markings of a “Giraffe”?

How Sainsbury responded, is a textbook example of how other companies should handle customer service. The response isn’t dry, and stock. It’s a personalized response to the little girl, that uses language a three year old can understand. Also attached was a £3 (almost $5) gift card – enough to buy the bread and some sweets.

Lily’s mom posted the original response letter on her blog site, and though the response received some attention from blog sites, Twitter and Facebook, it really went viral of January of this year. The letter has been “Liked” nearly 150,000 times, and shared nearly 50,000 times on Facebook, and it’s been commented on thousands of times.

This simple act, of Sainsbury’s responding to a little girl, has generated a massive amount of publicity that would have otherwise cost thousands upon thousands of dollars for the company. Companies should not be afraid to embrace social media. A well laid out social media strategy will be a benefit to your company.

In the trucking industry for example, each major social media platform has its suitable uses. Facebook for example, is a great place for hiring drivers, as well as building company culture around your employees and your brand. LinkedIn is a great way to generate leads as well as network. Canadian carriers are under-utilizing social media, and it’s time for them to, get on board.

2 Comments :, , , , , , , more...

It’s Better on Top

In our business, the thing we try to avoid like the plague is letting a project slip to the bottom and stay there too long. It doesn’t happen very often as most projects have a deadline and deadlines are what keeps our world moving.

The bulk of our work stems from a pending need like; we are totally out of brochures, we need material for an ad placement today, we have a customer event next week and so on. Not so different from our transportation clients’ customers, an immediate need creates action. When there are no deadlines on the client side or ours, we usually try and make one up. Nothing keeps a project on track like a timeline that all parties have committed to.

Back to the topic at hand. When something has slipped through the cracks and is nestled comfortably at the bottom of the pile, everyday it stays in that position it grows like a nightmarish monster on steroids. Everyday it’s avoided it becomes an even bigger project to take on. Some tried and true remedies follow:

5 tips to stay on top

  1. There is a reason why it slipped to the bottom. Figure it out. What is your associated fear with this project? You could be suffering from a case of BPP “Bottom of the Pile Paralysis”. :)
  2. Create a hard deadline. Make an appointment to meet and present the project in question. Most times that will get you off the fence and get things rolling
  3. Break the project down into smaller sections. If it’s a day’s work, book off an hour to make progress. Once you make progress of any kind the monster will shrink to a manageable size.
  4. Approach it with confidence. You’ve done it before. Recall those victories and use that to start the ball rolling.
  5. If all else fails declare defeat and delegate it in its entirety to someone else. You can’t afford to have baggage that negatively impacts your performance and service standards. Better this than further BPP behaviour.

Lee’s quote for the day

“It’s not that I work well under pressure…it’s more like I need pressure to work well!” :)

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , more...

Carriers, Zombies and the Economy

PM-Mailer_June-2010_08In a conference this past week I had the pleasure to listen to panel discussions from the viewpoint of shippers, carriers, financial analysts and other industry sectors. It was enlightening to say the least. I’ve already blogged on the topic of what the large retail shipper is looking for and also how best to handle the delicate subject of rate increases.

The shippers know they’ve had a good run and won’t be surprised by rate increases and the reintroduction of accessorial charges by Canadian carriers.  Capacity will become an issue with a strengthening economy and many shippers are trying to lock in the low rates for longer terms while carriers are still struggling with lower revenue streams. The stars are not aligned for carriers to increase rates yet…but its coming.

The carrier panel at the conference was made up of 3 companies representing truckload, intermodal and regional LTL specializations. They spoke candidly to the small group assembled and highlights included the following:

  • On the truckload side, optimism prevailed and extensive investments are being made to update fleets and retire old equipment to the scrap yard. As a point of interest a storage quality trailer can fetch $1500- $1750 and you get to keep the tires so scrapping it yields similar revenue as selling and it’s taken off the market.
  • This brings us to the topic of Zombie truckers running the aforementioned tired equipment. These individuals are part of an underground economy running up and down the road with inferior equipment, a poor handle on costs and eroding the market on short hauls where their rigs can be nursed along to complete the job at hand.  Apparently there is nothing in it for the finance companies to repossess the tired rigs and thus the problem has gone on longer than it should of. Maybe the finance institutions should look at the macro effect their decisions are making on the industry and their paying customers?
  • A particular carrier was not well thought of across the panel. It was the panel’s opinion that this carrier was riding on the backs of their owner operators and hurting the industry in no uncertain terms. No specifics were mentioned but the culprit in question may have a name that rhymes with Telasong.
  • There was a lot of discussion about the aging driving force, treating drivers with respect and increasing their wages. There was a concern that owner operators laid off during the downturn may not come back. Eventually the laws of supply and demand will kick in for the drivers that keep our supply chain flowing…but it’s not here yet.
  • I never really thought about how the downturn affected truckload, intermodal and LTL carriers differently. I thought truckload would be the hardest hit because it is more of a commodity. It never occurred to me that regional LTL players had to keep their equipment and driver investment pretty much the same to maintain service standards…but with much less revenue in each consolidation. I also didn’t realize that the economy made the railways a competitor to the intermodal players, forcing their large hand on full load shipments to Western markets by dealing direct with shippers.
  • Short strokes-everyone got hurt and the healing process is not so much dependent on the pending economic recovery as it is on the ingenuity of carriers to run smarter, refrain from adding capacity and essentially get back to running the lean mean truckin’ machines that built their companies in the first place.

I trust you’ve found this snapshot interesting. I believe I’ve covered most of the points from the conference. Its work hard, work smart, always lay tracks for the future, keep your people and your customers happy…and keep the faith as better times are finally on the horizon. Yahoo!

Leave a Comment :, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , more...