Customer Experience Feature: How UPS Delivers Customer Support

UPS handles millions of customer support inquiries per year. The company handles large and small scale logistics for mom and pop shops and international enterprises, so creating a flexible and responsive customer experience (CX) is a big priority. What is UPS doing right with its CX?

UPS Customer Service Best Practices

Larry Darrow, the president of UPS, told Accenture "Our number one objective is to improve customer experience, to drive customer satisfaction which will lead to growth." The business has three areas it defines as part of the customer experience: UPS wants the customer experience to be enjoyable, easy to use and cover all the customer's needs. These key areas are reflected throughout pre- and post-sales processes, as UPS examines how to make each step of its business operations adhere to these rules.

It examines how the customer interacts with UPS on every level. The company doesn't get tunnel vision and look at things with a purely internal viewpoint. Instead, the company puts itself in the shoes of the customer to determine whether the experience is easy, enjoyable and meets the customer's needs. If there are any problems with the process, especially on a wide scale, UPS examines potential improvements and how they impact the CX. By constantly reevaluating whether a process is working or not, UPS keeps up with new trends and changing customer needs.

How UPS Adjusts to Customer Feedback

UPS doesn't trust that the customers are getting a high quality experience - it verifies this data through internal and external sources. Internally, email, chat and IBR surveys are used to gauge the effectiveness of customer service contacts. Externally, UPS works with third-party marketing companies to see how the organization is doing compared to its competitors. Larry Darrow reveals the biggest source of customer feedback is from the drivers, as they have direct customer contact up to 200 times per day.

Current UPS CEO David Abney was one of those drivers, and he has first-hand experience on the opportunities to make customers happy. UPS also gathers information from 110 million customer phone calls per year. Some metrics UPS tracks includes customer service quality, staffing and production feedback, response rates, first resolution rate, and overall customer satisfaction.

Help.com reports Mr. Darrow sometimes jumps on customer support lines to determine any inefficiencies in CX, how effective support tools are at resolving issues, and engaging customers directly. This feedback is examined for ways to make the CX better, whether it's through finding a faster method of getting packages to a location or seeking out lower-cost suppliers. Customer satisfaction is key across all touch points, and the surveys and other feedback provide UPS with ongoing ways to improve processes.

UPS Incorporating a Customer Service Mindset

UPS delivers on excellent customer service by promoting this mindset across the entire organization. Support representatives train for 3 weeks prior to directly handling customers, and spend time on phone lines before they have an opportunity to work with chat support. Everything the company does is geared towards making the CX as smooth and enjoyable as possible. If there are issues throughout the process, every employee knows the customer's core needs and can provide valuable feedback to fix the issue. By emphasizing the CX on every employee in the organization, not just the customer-facing ones, UPS aligns its core values and mission so there's a consistent brand voice.

UPS is an excellent example of a company that makes CX strategy an integral part of its overall business strategy. Unlike many companies, UPS has a strong culture of internally promoting people who have been on the front lines of customer support. These employees understand the importance of customer happiness on a practical level.

Look at your existing strategy to see how you can use examples from UPS to strengthen your own customer support strategy and improve your CX. Training all employees on your customers' core needs or implementing feedback processes are two ways to improve your CX strategy.

 

Reference:

  • http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-UPS-Global-Business-Services-Transcript.pdf
  • http://help.com/blog/2015/01/14/help-com-interview-larry-darrow-ups/
  • http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/09/11/q-and-a-with-upss-david-abney/

Michael Buenaventura

July 16, 2015