Ask Me Anything with Dane Francis: Exception Management 101

Convey recently released a new Exception Management tool, allowing platform users to create their own views of exceptions, filter them down into what they want to see, and to establish unique workflows for their teams.

We sat down with one of Convey’s Client Partners, Dane Francis, to ask about his best exception management advice as well as to hear about his day-to-day in Customer Success.

How did you choose Convey?

Convey chose me! Dan’s dad met my dad in Arizona, and my dad gave him my card. I met up with Dan (Bebout) and Carson (Krieg), and we just hit it off. That was in May of 2014. They asked me to join Pivot Freight (Convey’s former name). Then, they told me they got into something called Techstars and that I should hold tight until they came back.

About a week into the program, I got a call from Dan: “Hey Dane – you’ve gotta come out here.” And, well… I did!

And so you were actually a part of the Techstars experience as well?

I was there for about three weeks of the program, but I came in every day and participated with Pivot Freight. It was awesome — without Techstars, this company would not exist. We would’ve never met Rob (Taylor), our CEO. They call it an accelerated program, and that’s exactly what it is. They teach you what it takes to be a start-up and what to think about as a start-up. It was invaluable to do this program in such a close, tight-knit community.

What has been your favorite moment so far at Convey?

I don’t know if I can think of a particular moment, but my favorite part has been seeing how it has grown and seeing the culture not change from three people in a bedroom to 30 people in an office. It’s amazing to me to see that everyone who works here is friends with everyone else on some level.

That was one thing that Dan and Carson told me when we first met — they said: “We want to build a company, and we’re never going to compromise on culture.” They built our foundation right there.

Have you always been involved in Client Success?

Yes! I have had to learn how to cultivate relationships throughout my career from working at Dairy Queen to working at GlobalTranz after college.

You’ve played a huge role in many of the roles here at Convey as it has grown, from sales to marketing to client success. How did you evolve to your role today?

Honestly, I saw myself as kind of a “glue guy.” I wanted to fill in the gaps for whatever needed to be done, and I’ve found my way as we’ve grown as a company. I did a lot of discovering and learning, especially as time went on and we changed our name — and our mindset — from Pivot Freight to Convey.

Is there anything about your experience working with larger brands that surprises you?

It’s been surprising to see how many huge brands conquer resolving issues day-to-day. For many, visibility into their shipping networks is through spreadsheets. And they have to patch together multiple spreadsheets — one for each carrier, one for their OMS system….. — it’s still an arduous process to get through. Many just hire an analyst, or multiple analysts, to skim through and create tasks for their customer service teams.

What does your day-to-day look like?

As a Client Partner, much of my time goes to customer implementation. That involves a lot of data wrangling, expectation setting, and project management as we aim to drive value from Convey to our customers. As part of our implementation process, we go through all of our best practices for customer care, getting through reactive tickets, and becoming proactive. We just want our customers to get the most value out of Convey as possible. We’re good at giving our customers bear hugs.

What do you think about the carrier landscape?

The carrier landscape is definitely improving, and it’s exciting how they are embracing technology. That’s really going to be the differentiating factor to compete, especially when you’re talking about trying to balance low cost and quality service.

What’s your favorite product or feature on our platform?

Exception Management — that is an absolutely exceptional tool.

The overarching theme of Engage is to put all of the data in one place for our customers alongside normalized data. This heavy lifting gives us the ability to go in and create different filters and views. It’s right there for you, and it’s powered by data. The Exception Management tool lets companies set priorities for exception management across all carriers — or if they choose to do so, they can choose to filter out their views, find different trends, and adjust workflows for their teams.

Is there any advice you would give to anyone out there who is trying to manage multitudes of exceptions?

Buy Convey. [laughs]

Visibility into all of your shipments is such a huge thing. There are a couple carriers that have internal tools to help with this. You can get some pretty basic functionalities where you can search for shipment, drilling down to get all the details around it. You can also use these carriers’ tools to send exception reports. But like I said, it’s only a few carriers, they only offer this for their [own] shipments, it’s an incredibly manual process, and each carrier has pretty different messaging.

Convey has an “All Shipments View” and we normalize all data from both national and regional carriers. including all of the tracking APIs and exception messages. We can give them the same functionality regardless what carrier they are using, and within that, we are giving them one full view into everything that they are managing.

Now, it’s really interesting that they can even send messages to all of their carriers within seconds customer service reps no longer have to sit through phone trees or sit on hold for twenty minutes just so they can answer a WISMO call or track a shipment.

What would you say to someone who feels like they’re jumping from fire to fire? What if they had 100,000 reactive tickets a day, and they feel overwhelmed?

I would keep customer service as is, but I would hire a dedicated person to only work these exception queues — they can create a streamlined workflow to reduce these inquiries and obtain data into why people are having unhappy experiences. They can then leverage some of the automated products that Convey offers to tackle the black-and-white areas, while their humans tackle the gray areas.

Is there anything else you would recommend?

We all know that companies may not have total control over what happens in logistics — from weather delays to missed pickups — but they are still held responsible by their customers.

For this, I would recommend setting exception priorities, and then creating business practices around them. Start with what you care about the most (from an exception point of view) and ask yourself: “Is there a recurring exception that you know will lead to customer loss? What do you get the most call volume about?” As you get your customer care team in action and focus on those priorities, you can define proactive tactics for your Delivery Ops team to minimize those exceptions.

 

Request a demo to see Convey’s new Exception Management tool in action, or learn about how exception management and shipment visibility helped Family Leisure reduce WISMO calls by 75%.

If you would like to work alongside teammates like Dane, check out our opportunities here.