A privately held freight & forwarding organization, based in S.E. Asia & catering to clients in Asia-Pacific directly & through a network of agents & associates.
The issues faced with:
Growth was stalling owing to:
- Inability to secure enough new customers.
- Migration of some existing customers to competition, owing to dissatisfaction.
- Inability to respond at times to customers, associates & agents need for information & clarification promptly, leading not only to dissatisfaction but also to monetary losses on account of revenue losses, penalties, demurrages etc.,
The need & defined objectives:
- Cost effective business development channel, particularly for remote customers who weren't quite being reached by agents or associates & couldn't be reached by the local salesforce.
- Cost effective, & efficient channels & networks to disseminate relevant & important information timely & to respond to queries within reasonably short time periods.
- Make such networks & channels visible, easily accessible & readable.
After ascertaining the issues, problem areas & objectives mentioned above through several discussions with the top management & business & departmental heads, the agreed action plan to address these consisted of:
Addressing most of these issues through the corporate website. Owing to this being sometime back, social media had not quite grown to the extent it has today & the targeted demographics of customers & prospects were felt to be not largely present on social media at the time. Other conventional methods were deemed neither cost-effective nor feasible in certain cases by the management.
Accordingly the following were initiated through the website:
- Dynamic pages, updated regularly through a system set up, to reflect current & topical information in sections targeted at prospects, existing customers, agents & associates and also internal staff based operating remotely.
- Site carrying Dynamic FAQ Pages, updated regularly, to answer some of the most common queries.
- Site carrying select current information sought at times by existing customers, agents & associates & not reflected in FAQ or elsewhere. A system was set up to update such information twice daily, 24X7, and to grant access to select customers & agents through a secured log-in process after a one-time verification.
- Specific queries from customers & agents generated e-mail based notifications to designated organization personnel, so that they could view this promptly, at any time & respond at the earliest at any time on any day including after regular work hours & on weekends & public holidays. Earlier, such responses were happening only during normal working hours on regular working days.
- Regular site updates & maintenance ensured that the FAQ become progressively more comprehensive, topical & relevant over a period of time. Archived logs of specific queries & responses to those provided a review mechanism to top management & the needed oversight to ensure that queries were indeed being handled promptly & satisfactorily.
- Current best practices for Usability, including Readability, Clickability & Accessibility, were used to do the Design, Layout & Content Management of the revamped site, to ensure that prospects, customers & associates would be able to view the content they were interested in without being either confused or annoyed at not being easily able to find what they wanted.
- A system to generate cross-links with a number of other relevant & popular websites was set-up. To further enhance visibility of the site & its URL, SEO was carried out to enhance visibility & 'discoverability' of the site. To promote the site & the organization a limited amount of online advertising was done over a period.
A review with the top management after a year of implementation of the above processes and after the revamped website went 'live', revealed significant improvements in terms of induction of new customers, satisfaction levels of existing customers, agents & associates as also a drop in the attrition rate of existing customers.