By prioritizing and focusing its resources on providing a consistent customer experience, primarily on those customers who have demonstrated a propensity to recommend Wheaton World Wide Moving | Bekins Van Lines to others or are repeat customers, the company believes it can differentiate itself as a van line that values true customer loyalty.

But that consistent and seamless customer experience weren’t always present, and officials at Wheaton World Wide Moving | Bekins Van Lines endured a comprehensive fact-finding mission to elevate customer engagement through effective communication.

A.J. Schneider, executive vice president at Wheaton World Wide Moving | Bekins Van Lines, talked about this meaningful and transformative experience for the company during his session, “Moves that Matter: Driving B2B and B2C Engagement Through Effective Communication,” at the 6th annual Engagement & Experience Expo presented by Loyalty360.

Schneider offered some apparent themes that make a seamless customer experience imperative:

Household goods moving is the most customized form of trucking transportation

Moving is the third most stressful life event, preceded only by death and divorce.

Brand awareness within the industry is extremely low.

A fragmented sales and service model

Customers view household goods moving as a commodity with little differentiation between brands.

As a result, Wheaton redesigned its customer survey to gather more detailed and actionable data. The survey was fittingly rebranded as the Customer Experience Report (CXR), and it now covers more customer touch points, gathers additional demographic and competitive information, and uses predictive analytics in combination with a survey structure based on a hierarchical model of customer loyalty (advocacy, brand attitudes, touch point perceptions.)

“There was very little Voice of the Customer in the old surveys,” Schneider said. “Customer perception wasn’t a big part of the survey model. We adopted NPS. For us, it’s been a fantastic benchmark and rallying cry for our organization.”

Communication is key, Schneider said.

Statistical analysis shows communication has three times the impact on customer intentions to recommend Wheaton | Bekins than other touch points (driver, salesperson). But, performance scores for communications were the weakest of all.

“We weren’t doing it well, but we were able to hone in on that,” Schneider said.

Survey responses reveal that the largest segment of Wheaton | Bekins customers (40 percent) is a result of direct experience with the company (i.e., referrals and repeat customers), which represents a significant increase since 2010.

Wheaton’s revamped B2C communication centered on the fact that each customer is unique and generally has a limited understanding of the business. Schneider noted that company officials had to understand unique needs of customers and educate, answer questions, and set expectations.

Taking care of someone’s belongings and proactively communicating throughout the entire customer journey were paramount.  Customer journey mapping involved in-depth interviews with customers and agents to identify pain points, and employee roundtable discussions to determine gaps between customer expectations and operational processes.

“We uncovered the disconnect between customers’ understanding of van line terminology and load / delivery time frames,” Schneider said.

A cross-functional team was charged with creating and implementing new communications materials and process. Improvements to customer communications included:

Websites, brand videos, and sales collateral are now more customer-centric

Objective of customer calls is to educate as well as to inform

Close the loop strategy with survey feedback

Triage Detractor issues

Solicit reviews and referrals from Promoters

What’s more, B2B communications were revamped as agents vary in terms of their understanding of the customer experience.

The task, Schneider noted, was to:

Raise awareness and educate.

Change the conversation to include the Customer Experience along with Sales and Operations.

Track agent performance over time.

Ensure consistent experience is delivered.

Improvements to internal communications

Monthly newsletter highlighting critical CX issues

Significant portions of conferences dedicated to CX

Engage agents (and drivers) in social media contests to highlight our focus on CX

Agent Dashboard for viewing customer scores

Communications training (online and in-person)

Schneider also pointed out that the company uses Customer Experience as a catalyst for culture change.

“Agent, driver, and employee recognition is based on customer feedback,” he said.

What’s more, Wheaton officials know that customers want to share their positive experiences. Wheaton has launched a unique marketing campaign whereby it asks customers to hold an “I love my driver” sign and upload a picture of them with their drivers in front of their trucks or customers’ new homes. The campaign has been a huge success, Schneider said, noting that the drivers are not only the key to a successful customer move but represent the lifeblood of the transportation industry.

The results?

NPS jumped more than 40 percent since 2015.

More than 1,100 positive online reviews on the website, Google +, and Yelp.

Conversion rate of online reviews from survey respondents is almost TWICE the average conversion rate!

“Customer complaints are often not a result of product or service failures, but rather the result of a breakdown in communication,” Schneider said. “Never underestimate the audience’s understanding of your message, especially the complex parts. Multiple channels require a consistent message (tone and content). Aligning expectations creates empathy that leads to more authentic customer relationships.” 

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