Modern transportation infrastructure and technology continuously transforms the world, breaking barriers throughout the globe.
While physical networks for the flow of goods expand, the determining factor behind the powerful force of access and the success of a company remains the same today as it has always been — people.
The world's largest express transportation company, FedEx Express (FedEx), has built an international network that is unrivalled in the industry. Its employees have long been celebrated for doing whatever it takes to get their job done. As the scope of the company's services extends, this employees' professional standards escalate. In fact, as the company offers more services to a growing number of places, it only makes employees more dedicated than ever to its "absolutely and positively" tradition.
To motivate its frontline employees to give the best possible service, FedEx first launched an ambassador programme in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1999. Since then, many positive responses have been received from customers and the programme has been expanded to include China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
"The objectives of the ambassador programme are two-fold," Malcolm Sullivan, vice president, marketing, FedEx Asia Pacific division explains. "First, we want to encourage customers to recognise and reward outstanding FedEx employees who provide a superior customer experience. Second, we want to adapt our 'WeLiveToDeliver' advertising campaign as our internal goal and use that as a platform to motivate our frontline employees to deliver outstanding experiences day in and day out for our customers."
The 'WeLiveToDeliver' advertising campaign comprises three new TV commercials in Asia Pacific emphasising on-time delivery and how FedEx can make a difference. In particular, it highlights the company's commitment to resolve the complexities and uncertainties for customers when shipping to China, via local know-how and teamwork.
As part of the ambassador programme, customers are asked to vote online or via fax for their favourite FedEx agents from the courier, billing, customer service and trade services teams. Feedback is also obtained on what aspects of service impressed the customers most and how individual employees might improve. The top five per cent of employees with the highest number of votes from each department are then recognised as winning ambassadors and are rewarded with gift coupons from a department store. "Our employees are excited and positive about the programme," Mr Sullivan says. "They have said that it helps them foster stronger relationships with their customers and motivates them to deliver service excellence."
Customers who vote are also rewarded as they automatically enter into a lucky draw to win prizes. "Our customers are also very enthusiastic and supportive of the programme," he remarks. "They give us tremendous feedback, which is evident from the growing number of votes we receive each year."
Mr Sullivan believes that the programme definitely helps boost morale and productivity in the workplace. "The programme instils pride in our employees and reinforces a key message that says and they have a direct impact on how our customers perceive FedEx, and that in turn has an impact on the success of our business," he notes.
The effectiveness of the programme is measured through the participation rate of the customers, the nomination rate of the employees, and the number of votes received. After the programme, a number of selected customers and employees are also surveyed to provide more detailed data to identify areas for future improvement. "We are delighted with the exceptional response received this year," Mr Sullivan says. "There has been a double-digit increase in the participation and voting rates compared to a year ago, and 80 per cent of our customers and employees indicate that they are highly satisfied with the programme."
Over the past decade, FedEx has become a world leader. Through its unmatched air-and-ground systems which speed up the delivery of time-sensitive shipments, it guarantees fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories, usually within one to two business days.
In Asia Pacific, FedEx currently serves over 30 countries and territories and employs more than 13,500 people. Operating its own wide-bodied MD-11 and A310 aircrafts, FedEx offers over 400 flights per week to Bangkok, Beijing, Cebu, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Osaka, Penang, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Subic Bay, Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo, as well as destinations in the US and Europe.