Remember when the customer was always right

Traders Den

By Cindy Visser

Remember when the customer was always right….

I remember the days when working in logistics was such a honor. I remember the days when while working for the this massive conglomerate, to be an employee was of such high regard, and amongst ourselves it still is. I remember when sales and business development was the bees knees and everyone else was just bystanders.

I worked myself from secretary to PA to the best of the best at presentations, that if the big boss called I had to drop what I was doing and went. Some might say it was improper, especially as I was needed where I was based. However, to be called upon and recognized and to feel that honor… Well now doesn’t matter what position you in its a massive accolade.

I myself worked through the stages of training which to this day am so grateful for… And knowing I’m going to embarrass myself here was put on these courses because after my 100th most excellent presentation, did not know what a teu was… Strange.. I hear you… But it showed I was a machine doing exactly what I needed to do. Lucky for me and most embarrassing moment, my most esteemed boss, director etc asked me if I knew what a teu was because on a particular day out of thousands of presentations I misspelled TEU…

We can’t even dwell on the why’s or hows but it was that moment I was no longer a PA, but a part of a logistics team.

I remember saying to my director. MD, most enthusiastic boss I ever had that I wanted to be in sales… He laughed, in a mild nice manner because actually what he was laughing about is that my heart, intelligence and care would be my downfall. I refused to believe and worked myself through Ops, Customer Service and then Sales.

I been Regional Sales, National Sales, Business Development Manager. I been Account Executive and Sales Executive you name it… For the last 16 years I been working in the position I was not built for… Yet success was my goal and achievement.

I’m not your typical sales person, I listen and take note of what my client is saying… Because of my journey through ops, customer service, in house etc… I can see, visualize and foresee my customers needs and wants. Imagine the frustration of having this knowledge and knowing I can put into effect the requirements but due to red tape.. Well need I say more.

When you have worked from every aspect of logistics like I have, agents, shipping lines, intermodal, importer and exporter… I have gained so much knowledge that I can walk into a customer office and by the time I have left, given a solution and recommendation to enhance his business without affecting his service expectations because let’s admit it, a business is a business and being a service provider we add to the business not incorporate issues.

We been shipping cargo for 1000’s of years, knowing what’s expected of us and achieving it. However instead of informing or advising our dear customer of constraints we cannot overcome, we make promises which ultimately shows our inability to provide a service against competitors who make promises based on past excellence, and not realizing everything has changed. Our customers are not ridiculous in expecting the unexpected unless it’s been promised to them, because they in turn are relying on our info to advise their customers.

After 24 years it’s been unpleasant to say I’m in sales… The whole disposition and integrity has lost its way. Logistics has become a swear word. Gone are the days of that elegance and respect which was once recognized.

Writing this i shake my head, when actually I want to put a bolt of realistic lightening… Well you know where.

I love what I do, I’m passionate about vessels and airplanes and pallets and yes even customs. How on earth can we be recognized as a service provider when we not Changing with the times.

For me to sign up a customer is very easy, it’s the faith I have in the company I represent to follow through with the expectation, not promises, just expectations to transport their cargo, as well as adding value to who the customer is and what they are offering to thier customer.

After 24 years I can and will have an opinion about this because I listen to the customer. Isn’t that the first rule of sales and customer satisfaction which brings me to the point of this blog.

The customer may not be right, but how do you know unless you listen? From day one no matter what transpired or where I was, the customer is always right… We ourselves are customers. We rant and rave and get frustrated because our local retailer did not offer us the expectation of what was the basics and maybe because we so demanding, lol. What happens.. The extra mile is provided and problem solved…

Which in itself is how we grow and learn, but… listen to the needs and wants of the customer, if you listen you won’t over promise, your company you represent won’t go beyond measures to put in place the promise and infiltrate the actual service and commitment which customers are happy with, keeping it simple, because over complicated solutions to a simple problem, brought on by an over promise, which needed to be designed and achieved, taking up the time to reach the basic expectations of supply and demand.

Yes agree we evolve due to pandemics, weather, growth, production, supply and demand… But imagine if the over promises were not made, how much more time the inevitable events that hit us at full swing would be handled. Solutions discovered within the parameters of what’s happening rather then focusing on the ridiculous promises made, which ultimately leads to failure.

You would think this is common sense…

What’s the saying… Happy wife happy life…

Imagine happy customer, happy ever after of consistent business and never entertaining competitors. Imagine that!

Cindy can be contacted at email

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