By: Marc Harnist, Customer Relationship Manager
With the logistics industry growing at 22 percent annually, attracting top talent from within and beyond the supply chain can be a challenge for trucking. To meet that challenge, Celadon has come up with innovations in customer service that give the company an edge in recruiting and retaining a younger generation of workers. One of those innovations was the Customer Service Career Path that rolled out in early 2013.
Since then, all managers have grown from within. From January 2014 to 2015, Celadon has promoted 26 people on its career ladder, retained 75 percent of its interns with full-time or part-time positions and had a 30 percent improvement in staff with more than one year of experience within the department.
When a new hire starts their career at Celadon, there is a formal two-week training class they go through to learn the AS400 system they will be using. The new hires that started on June 8, 2015 were the first class that learned under the new on-demand learning management system called the CELAcademy. This Webbased program is not only for new hires but is also used by current CRAs and other departments to sharpen their skills and accelerate advancement opportunities as Celadon trains its future leaders on the floor every day.
Depending on which team you join, the first step in the career ladder after the training class can be being work as either a Customer Relationship Analyst (CRA,) Freight Analyst (FA,) Utilization Analyst (UA) or Customer Experience Specialist. In this position, the employee is given primary accounts that they supervise and help grow over time. The primary tasks for this position, among other things, are to track loads, monitor trailer pools, answer phones and emails and grow the relationship with the customer. This is the first step toward developing leaders within the Customer Service Department.
The next step in the career ladder is Senior Customer Relationship Analyst (SCRA.) To be promoted to this position, an employee must achieve all the qualifying metrics, demonstrate appropriate knowledge of the industry and show leadership qualities. In addition to growing the accounts they supervise, the SCRA will work to develop and train other team members. The SCRA will also develop and implement programs within the group, as well as provide additional help to the Management Team.
The third step in the career ladder is the Assistant Customer Relationship Manager (ACRM.) Once an employee is promoted to ACRM, the main focus is Customer Service for their team. ACRMs are responsible for all team members and service-related aspects with their commodity/team. In addition to customer service, ACRMs are in charge of training (both ongoing and new trainings) for their teams. In this position, the ACRM would no longer have customers assigned to them.
The final step on the career ladder before Executive Level Management is the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM.) A CRM is assigned and responsible for two commodity groups/teams within Customer Service. The CRM is directly responsible for growing the accounts within their two teams. The CRM is also responsible for working with the Sales Team on various issues from customer bids to customer scorecards to a specific customer’s service to general communication about the accounts.