Guest Post: Cynthia Cottingham; Director, Solutions Services When I was first approached to describe what I do at Newgistics as Director of Solutions Services, I wasn’t sure where to begin. Returns or deliveries? Internal or external operations? And then it hit me: “Customers come first.” At Newgistics, our ‘customers come first’ philosophy carries through every department, and mine is no exception. These aren’t just boxes coming into our SmartCenter facilities, they are customers. Since I joined Newgistics nine years ago, I have watched our “customer service” department evolve into something much more than a department tasked with answering simple inquiries; it has truly become a full-service solutions department that puts the needs of our clients—and ultimately their customers—first. When we started this business, the idea of having robust visibility and the ability to track postal packages online through customized tools revolutionized an industry due to the impact this had on our clients’ ability to manage their labor and inventory costs. As we have continued to evolve, our solutions have expanded to include online reporting where our clients are able to go online and see what is scheduled to be received in their facility each day. This provides advance knowledge for planning how many workers will be required to handle the volume. We also provide customized daily reports in which we are able to extract and analyze data from SmartCenters across our network, providing concise, high-level reporting of all shipping activity within our clients’ environments. Through these processes we are able to estimate transit times, project inbound volumes, and provide updates when any unforeseen delays are encountered, (e.g., winter roads). It’s all a part of the added value we provide our clients, and because we assign a dedicated person to handle a client’s individual needs, it’s much more personalized than the automated customer service ‘solutions’ some of our competitors provide. The Solutions Services Department runs as a cross-functional coordination between our clients and the assigned Solution Services Specialist member from Newgistics who will follow the account from implementation through day-to-day operations, providing their clients a fully customized experience. There is no one “right way” to do it, except the way that best suits the customer’s needs. Throughout the day, my Solutions Services Specialists are compiling reports, monitoring shipment status and maintaining dialogue with the key contacts within the operation. We’ve implemented new communication tools that make it quick and easy to send branded messages and updates to any group of constituents across each organization. We always try to go the extra mile to take care of our customers. We have the unique privilege of serving and working side-by-side with very talented and professional clientele. When we first began in 1999, Newgistics was the first to capitalize on the opportunity to create a network where returns are a revenue-driving opportunity that improved service for the consumer. As we have continued to build the business and expand our services in the areas of deliveries and freight, the focus of our business has not changed.  In fact, we have continued to improve many times over.  The satisfied feedback I get from my clients who have been with us since the beginning – and in a sense have grown up with us – makes me passionate about always putting them and their customers first.