A Letter to Our Stakeholders
Large publicly traded companies regularly communicate with their shareholders, typically via an annual letter. As Daycos is a privately held corporation, we are not required to perform any formal communication with our shareholders.
At Daycos, instead of shareholders, we talk about our stakeholders: our customers, our employees, our community, and the company itself. We strive to evaluate the impact of every decision we make on these four entities. While some decisions may benefit one stakeholder more than the others, our goal is that our overall impact in business is good for each and every one of our four stakeholders. That is why we call the effort Daycos4Good.
When discussing Daycos4Good, people usually comment on the inclusion of the community or employees as stakeholders, since it is probably more unusual to include those categories in the group. However, today I would like to talk about our customer stakeholder, and how we view the importance of this particular stakeholder.
I have never liked being referred to as a “supplier” to our customers. To me, “supplier” implies a very transactional, short-term relationship, where we provide a service, and the customer gives us a fee for that service. At Daycos, we want to be a partner, not a supplier. A partnership is one in which each party trusts the other and wants them to succeed over the long term.
A partnership is based first and foremost on trust. This is especially true in our business, where we are handling financial transactions involving billions of dollars each year on behalf of our customers. Trust is earned slowly, over the long term, but can be lost very quickly. Over our nearly 40 year history, we have earned the trust of some of the finest companies in the transportation industry, but we still have to perform every day in a way that is deserving of that trust.
Just last week, we had a system issue that caused our EDI transmission service to error out, preventing any invoice transmissions. By the time we had fixed the error and restarted the transmission service, many invoices were sent a few hours past our 24-hour turnaround guarantee. Most of our customers would have never noticed the delay, and a delay of a few hours would not have effected payment times. The easy thing to do would have been to wait and see if customers noticed the delay, and offered refunds to those that did. But waiting to see if anyone noticed your error and then living up to your word is not the way partners who trust each other act.
As soon as the issue was resolved, our customer service team reached out to the affected companies and informed them they would be receiving a credit for the full service charge on any invoice that failed to meet the 24 hour service guarantee threshold. In total, we issued credits for over $5,000 of service fees for missing our guarantee by just a few hours. There was no hesitation or deliberation about this decision, because we know trust is a more valuable commodity than money. We can always earn more money, but earning back the trust of a partner is far more difficult once that trust is violated.
Investment in a long-term relationship built on trust is how we deliver value. Maintaining a focus on the customer stakeholder, to us, is similar to a bank account; we always want to make more deposits of trust and value than we ever need to make withdrawals of problems and issues. We are not interested in being a short-term supplier; so to achieve the status of a a long-term partner with our customers, everything we do needs to be in the best long-term interest of our customer stakeholder.
This means we often turn down opportunities that could become profitable, because we are not interested in chasing the short-term profits at the long-term expense of our customers. We are often approached with “opportunities” that we know would make us some money, but those opportunities don’t provide our customers with tools to be successful in the long run. Short-term gains are not where we want to focus our efforts and resources. We want to work on initiatives that make our customers successful over the long haul, and we believe that if we help them do that, those initiatives will help Daycos be successful along the way.
We will also pass on opportunities where we know we could make money, but we can’t perform those services at the level of performance our customers have come to expect. When evaluating new products or services, we discuss the value we can bring to the customer before we discuss the potential profitability. If we can’t bring value to the customer, we won’t do it. Our customer stakeholder has a seat at the table in every vision-setting meeting, every opportunity discussion, and every strategic decision.
Thinking with a long-term view of partnership also means having to handle difficult situations at times. On the rare occurrence a company decides to stop using our services, we bend over backwards to go above and beyond to make sure the transition is a smooth as possible, doing all we can to help that customer be successful without Daycos. We believe that circumstances that drive a customer’s decision to part ways with us should not change how we have always dealt with the relationships of our customer. Partners don’t work against the interest of the other, even when that partnership changes.
At Daycos, we believe that if we do everything we can to help our customers have long-term success; we will also have long-term success. That belief is based on 38 years of history in the transportation business. Our customers are our partners, and a valued stakeholder in Daycos. We vow to keep it that way.