We remain true to our commitment to engage fully with our customers, as it is an essential part of our ability to continue delivering high-quality services and innovative products. In 2013, we continued our efforts to streamline our customer feedback channels and provide swift services and response to customer concerns.
Aramex policies, regulations and training are designed to encourage our people to act in accordance with customer expectations regarding ethics. These include:
- Committing to professional and caring customer treatment by everyone in the company
- Ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of customer communications
- Supporting and accommodating customer needs
Our customers are not only key stakeholders but are the principal beneficiaries of Aramex’s culture of ‘customers come first’. This Code of Conduct addresses the key ethical expectations of customers. A separate Customer Service code will address the quality of service expectations and aspirations.
We are proactive in our recruitment of new customers, while ensuring the retention of our existing customer base. The below graph outlines our customer retention figures for 2013:
The reputation of the Aramex brand depends on the trust of the general public in our service integrity. Customers need to be able to trust the credibility of the information they are given. Official authorities such as customs and security officials should be able to trust in Aramex’s legal and regulatory compliance, discipline and diligence.
“We value customer feedback and believe it is paramount to improving services and processes.”
We at Aramex believe in excellence in the provision of our services and strive to create lasting stakeholder perceptions of our commitment to this overriding value. We encourage entrepreneurship and the embrace of challenge by our employees as a path to innovation, value team work and collaborative relations, promote diversity and respect for the individual and stand in solidarity with the communities in which we operate by acting as a socially responsible and active corporate citizen. We strive to uphold these values in every action we take and every decision we make, and in defining what we commit to and expect from our stakeholders.
We aspire to build a culture of integrity. We manage our relations with our stakeholder groups in a manner that is consistent with our core values and conducive to nurturing a lasting conviction on their part, and of the public at large, that “we do the right thing.”
Moreover, we have employed several information security measures, along with our comprehensive code of conduct to safeguard our customers’ privacy and information. It is our strict adherence to these policies that ensured that we did not receive any complaints in 2013 related to protection of our customers’ private information. Our continuous efforts resulted in a deeper trust with our customers and in our brand, and have enabled us to limit our advertising efforts for our services and focus more on direct interactions with customers and prospects. However, in the cases where we have advertised, we made sure we complied with local and international laws relating to any marketing activity, and as a result we have not faced any related non-compliance issues this year. Moreover, in 2013 we did not receive any fines, monetary or otherwise, for non-compliance with laws and regulations concerning the provision and use of products and services.
Aramex is committed to complying with applicable import and export control laws and regulations involving the countries we do business in. We do submit accurate and complete import declarations to government authorities. We also use reasonable care to ensure compliance with applicable import regulations regarding designated importer of record, import tariff classification, valuation, origin, duties and import tax payment, payment to the supplier, duty preference programs, temporary imports, bonded warehouse, duty drawback programs, and so forth impacting Aramex activities. Aramex respects all international and national embargo regulations and tries its best to adhere to those regulations. Moreover, since we are a service-based company, we do not sell any products. However, since we are a transportation company, we employ strict policies to ensure that we do not transport banned or disputed products; our controls include training given to employees, as well as verification of shipment content.
In order to guarantee customer satisfaction, we employ several practices to gather customers’ feedback through different channels, including:
- Websites (aramex.com/ShopandShip.com)
- The Contact Center
- REACH system
- Sales Teams
- Retail Outlets
- Social Media Channels
Our activities in 2013 included the following initiatives and projects, designed to support and improve our customer service:
Aramex Solution Center
The Aramex Solution Center launched in 2013 and provides Aramex with expertise, research and development to better serve our clients. This includes expanding our knowledge in each sector in which operate, while building our Research and Development capabilities.
Research and development plays a vital role in identifying customers’ needs, expanding existing services and providing new solutions to better serve our customers. An example of these services is the industry-focused research conducted in order to understand the shipping and logistical needs for the industries we service.
In addition to this, Aramex shares industry-focused calendars with existing customers; the objective is to highlight international events taking place worldwide related to the customer’s business and provides facilitated shipping services to move their goods.
Moreover, Aramex developed an internal site to help Aramex employees share their business expertise with others throughout the network, in order to support other employees in developing enhanced solutions for their local customers.
This enables us to build specific solutions for the customers based on our brainstorming with our customers; such as Import Express, Biocare, Drop and Ship, as well as online importing.
Biocare is a cold chain solution for moving temperature- and time-sensitive clinical and medical samples, without jeopardizing the quality of the samples. This solution is ideal for hospitals, laboratories and pharmaceutical companies and enables them to send blood samples, human fluids and medications under maintained temperatures. Biocare caters for two temperature ranges: Cold (2-8 Celsius Degrees) and Ambient (15-25 Celsius Degrees). Data loggers are used inside the boxes to measure the temperature throughout the transit and storage times.
Aramex understands the need for a quality global transportation provider who can offer flexible solutions for e-commerce businesses. Aramex is proactive in managing e-commerce business and promptly resolves service discrepancies – if and when they occur. Aramex has developed comprehensive and customized e-commerce solutions to fulfill different business needs covering a wide range of services from importing goods, to goods delivery, Cash on Delivery Service, return service, warehousing and ordering processing and clearance service.
Aramex e-commerce solutions enable businesses to sell their products online, conveniently and reliably, while understanding the needs of local markets. The features of Aramex e-commerce solutions that differentiate it from others include:
- Flexible solutions to satisfy customer needs
- Competitive e-commerce rates
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to enable integration between e-commerce applications and Aramex systems
- Global and national coverage, delivering to both business and residential addresses
Aramex offers businesses fully functional and scalable e-commerce site development. Through Aramex’s technology partners, customers can set up an online store swiftly and economically. Clients can design their storefronts, update online catalogues, manage orders and payments securely and ship products on time to their customers with Aramex. Aramex delivers their products around the world at competitive rates, offers payment and fulfillment gateways and also help in outsourcing customer service through several contact centers around the globe.
Aramex has also covered all stages of supply chain from the moment inventory leaves suppliers or factories, until the moment it reaches retailers or end customers. Aramex’s end-to-end supply chain and logistics solutions efficiently manage the transfer of products and information between suppliers and customers, allowing companies to focus on the core of their business.
As part of our continuous service development, we have launched our Import Express service, which provides customers with a number of options to suit their import needs. Customers have full control over their imports, while at the same time having the visibility and flexibility offered through our Online Importing tools.
For faster, easier and more accurate processing, we offer smart IT solutions that allow for integration between customers’ systems and our operations.
a. ClickToShip is a free desktop application that enables customers to manage their shipping needs offline. As a regular Aramex customer, ClickToShip automates shipment preparation, pick-up requests, calculating shipping rates, shipments tracking and managing shipping addresses. ClickToShip helps customers handle and manage bulk shipping.
b. aramex.com offers many features to help customers manage their shipping online. It allows preparing and printing of shipment labels and allows the customer to state the cash on delivery amount to be collected.
When customers use aramex.com to prepare shipments, commercial invoices are automatically generated to speed customs clearance process at destinations.
“myaramex” on aramex.com allows customers to:
- Track orders, see any order with discrepancy (orders held at customs, bad address, etc.)
- Calculate shipping rates
- Access automated reports
- View Aramex invoices and balance due
- Order shipping supplies.
Aramex.com offers customers and their shoppers online tracking experience for their orders in five languages; English, Arabic, French, Turkish and Chinese.
c. Integration Tools: in technical language, Aramex offers Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Application Programming Interface (API) tools to integrate a customer’s site with Aramex’s online InfoAXS site.
These tools – which work in the background and in real time – process input information and produces an output. These tools include:
- Shipping Charges Calculator: This tool calculates the shipping charges when orders are placed
- Shipment Information Creator: When an order is placed, this tool transforms orders into shipments on InfoAXS automatically and returns Aramex shipment number
- Shipments Tracking: This tool gives back the latest update on any order placed with Aramex
Aramex is privy to private or confidential information concerning clients, be it commercial or personal. Aramex employees pledge not to allow clients’ information to be divulged or otherwise compromised, directly or indirectly, knowingly or negligently. Leaders and managers are responsible for ensuring that conditions are in place to protect customer confidentiality.
REACH Customer Relations Management System
REACH is now deployed across the entire network. Ninety-eight countries are utilizing it for all their Customer Relations Management and sales activities, and more than 174,000 customer records are currently recorded in the system. An impressive number of new and cutting edge features have been introduced to the system this year. These were mainly targeted at enhancing sales efficiency and providing our customer management teams with all the tools needed to assess their own performance and achievements. REACH will continue to thrive throughout 2014 with a set of newly enhanced reporting packages and a platform that enables a deep-dive analysis of our customers, their industries, worldwide presence and business requirements.
Supporting Entrepreneurs and SMEs
As part of our ongoing support for entrepreneurs, startups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we specially designed a package to support these companies. The offer includes special discounts for the first year, after which the performance of the company is evaluated and prices are revised. Launched in 2013, it is continuously helping these customers grow their businesses and gain a competitive edge in their respective markets. To further support those SME’s and startups we are going to upgrade this program to include support for these companies by facilitating customized business training for them, and also support the ones interested in starting their sustainability reporting. More details of this program will be available during the first quarter of 2014.
Expanding into Africa
In the spirit of more than 30 years of experience brought to Africa in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa and Tunisia, Aramex has finalized plans and engaged them on different levels to open offices in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Sierra Leone. New expansions in West Africa will add strength and resilience to our shipping network, enabling us to reach more destinations in the service of clients.
The new offices will connect with existing North, East and South African locations, aiming to cover the continent and realize our strategic goal towards:
In order to improve clearance of international shipping, whether importing or exporting, we have developed a comprehensive customs clearance information database for each country that we service. Our online tool, available on Aramex’s home page “Country information”, is able to help customers understand customs terminologies, guidelines, duties/ taxes, and documents required for clearing.
Sales / Tenders Support
Our expert tenders support team provides comprehensive tender documentation groundwork and analysis, and helps ensure an accurate tender procedure to prepare and negotiate all project bids and complete a successful tender phase.
These services include the creation of accurate tender documentation and performance requirements, ensure adherence to quality and regulatory compliance standards support with RFI’s and Due Diligence in order for Aramex to be an approved vendor. We also work closely with the customer service and marketing teams to send marketing mail campaigns to our valuable customers.
Social Media is evolving into a reliable channel that customers are referring to for questions, complaints and compliments. In response to that, the Customer Service Social Media team expanded its operational hours and resources. The channels are being adhered to all days of the week, from 8:00 in the morning till midnight, except for Fridays which is covered from 12:00 – 20:00. KPIs were set into operation to measure the performance of each individual and the whole performance of the function. Currently, the traffic received monthly is over 10,000 from the different Social Media channels, and is expected to grow.
Points of Sale
We utilize automated points of sale in our receptions and stations in order to speed up services for our customers through using a computerized system to prepare and receive shipments. This reduces the time needed to serve clients. We have launched six new points of sale in 2013, reaching 12 in total, in order to further ease access to our services.
In compliance with the organization strategy of being customer centric, we have focused on our quality of service in 2013. To meet this target we have developed a centralized Quality Assurance team that is responsible for analyzing and reporting on the areas of development and training need per entity on quarterly bases.
This procedure was facilitated by deploying our new telephone system starting in 2012 throughout all our contact centers in the network. Our belief in developing people’s profession and skills urged us to gather all our contact center leaders and managers for TOT training course to ensure high quality of training is equally provided to our front liners all over the globe.
Global Case System
Our GCS (Global Case System) is implemented across most of our network to further facilitate our customer feedback and response capabilities. The system is used to handle internal and external communication related to customer service. In reality, GCS has become our customer service index, indicating how well and timely our stations are responding to customers’ requests.
During 2013, we continued to focus on GCS by enhancing the user interface and by integration with other systems. Our vision to create streamlined and efficient communication has led to GCS integration with our Social Media system and PDAs used by our couriers. Additionally, statistics conducted by our quality team have shown that communication response efficiency has increased by 4.6% – at the least.
Customer Service Training:
We continued to provide customer service training for our frontline employees, including our call center staff, customer management teams, and customer service teams. We conducted training for more than 877 frontline employees and 2,116 employees across our network in 2013, honing their basic customer service, communication, telephone handling, and time management skills.
Customer Service Week
Aramex teams in United Arab Emirates and South Africa celebrated – in style – the first ever Aramex Customer Service Week. The occasion was marked with various activities including team challenges, outings, prizes, customer visits and discounts.
We value customer feedback and believe it is paramount to improving services and processes. Accordingly, 2013 has witnessed the re-launch of Aramex surveying modules. Face-to-face and online surveys have been completed in Dubai and there are other surveys planned in Jordan and Egypt. Our survey in Dubai covered all our B2B customers, and focused on gathering customer feedback during the different stages of their interaction with Aramex, from how they heard about our services, to evaluation of these services, their access, use and our support. The results will be released in February 2014.
Moreover, we plan client visits at a frequency that suites the customers’ needs, be it daily, weekly or monthly, through these visits our agents receive feedback on our services and revert our customer relationship management teams.