Railinc Tracks Blog

Railinc tracks are everywhere although you don't always see them. The Railinc Tracks blog reveals them one at a time and shows you how we help to keep railroads, railcars and rail shipments moving across America. The blog is staffed by the Railinc Corporate Communication team and will give you news and insights about our company, our people and our products.

Entries with tag customer satisfaction .

Customer Success Helps Employees Learn, Grow

Starting in the Customer Success Center (CSC) at Railinc gives employees a solid foundation to build on as they work to reach their career goals. In this guest post, Railinc Customer Success Specialist Karin Bennett talks about the phone calls, the schedule, and the opportunities to learn, grow and make an impact across the company. Click here to find out more about our Railinc Customer Success team.

Before I started working in CSC at Railinc, I saw customer support like most people probably do: a large group of employees in a room answering phone call after phone call — all day, every day.

I do answer a lot of calls—as many as 30 a day—but there’s more to it than just answering the phone.

We're the first point of contact most of our customers have with Railinc. When I'm not answering calls or responding to emails, I work with colleagues across the company to ensure I know our products and services inside and out so I can help make the customer’s experience better.
 


I don't have a typical day. If I'm not on-call, I get in at 8 a.m. and begin responding to customer emails from the night before. New cases start coming in soon after and include everything from permission requests to unlocking online accounts to questions about error messages a customer might receive when working in our applications.

Beyond responding to phone calls and emails, CSC oversees reviewing permissions requests from customers who want to access our applications. We put each request through a verification process to make sure that customers get the right permissions and that our data are secure. We test applications, keep important industry databases up to date, and play important roles in company-wide disaster recovery exercises.

But we aren't expected to be subject matter experts from the start.

Every Railinc customer success specialist goes through a 90-day training period to learn the basics of all our products and get comfortable interacting with customers. We do things like unlock online accounts, respond to email requests, and send a "morning report" to the entire company that recaps any issues from the last 24 hours, as well as any completed or scheduled product releases. After our first 90 days, we keep learning through product training sessions and shadowing groups throughout the company.

We also work closely with Railinc's product support teams, which provide second-level support, and attend meetings and training for individual product groups. I like shadowing product support because I end up having a greater understanding, not only of the products they support, but of processes that I can repeat with customers to provide quicker support. This training helps us understand Railinc products, keeps us up to date with product releases and lets product groups know about any persistent issues customers have had. It feels good to know that the customer feedback we collect and share is used to improve our products.

Because we provide 24/7 customer support, there is an on-call rotation. For one week every two months, I'm responsible for responding to emergency requests that come in after business hours. While I haven’t experienced an emergency call during my rotation yet, one team member had to facilitate a conference call at 3 a.m. when one of our applications went down. It can be challenging, but it's a reflection of how important a responsive CSC team is to Railinc's work.

It's tough learning the freight rail industry and all our products and services as an entry-level employee, but it positions us well to advance in the company quickly. A lot of our product support employees, managers, business analysts and others started on Railinc's CSC team. The opportunity to grow and advance is just one of many things I like about working in CSC.
 


Another is flexibility.

It might seem like I’m tethered to my phone and computer during work hours, but I can take advantage of Railinc's flexible work environment, too. I have been able to participate in company events and work from home when there is inclement weather or some other reason I can’t come into the office.

A CSC role isn't for everyone. You need to multi-task. You need to be patient as you figure out what you can to do to help a customer with their challenge. And you need to make sure the customer gets what they need.

At Railinc, our job in CSC is about more than just answering phones. We’re helping build a strong foundation with our customers and supporting the work everyone throughout the company does.

 

—Karin Bennett

A graduate of North Carolina State University, Karin Bennett joined the Railinc Customer Success team in 2017. Interested in becoming a Customer Success Specialist at Railinc? Apply today.

Railinc's Parker Named Supply Chain Pro to Know

Railinc Vice President of Operations Yates Parker has been recognized as a 2018 supply chain executive “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine. The award honors individuals from software firms and service providers, consultancies and academia who have helped their supply chain clients or the supply chain community at large prepare to meet the significant challenges of today’s business climate.

Parker was selected for the award from over 300 entrants and was recognized in the March 2018 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine.

Click here to see all the winners.

“We commend this year’s recipients for their achievements in supply chain and for paving the way for the next generation of exceptional supply chain leaders,” said John Yuva, editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. ”This year’s recipients embody the commitment to transformative supply chain tools and processes, earning these individuals a rightful place in this year’s Pros to Know listing.”

Parker manages Railinc’s commercial business unit, which includes tracing, reporting, messaging, and research and development product families, as well as oversees the company’s customer experience operations. He and his teams work with Class I railroads and other freight rail industry partners to identify, develop and refine technology solutions to address some of the industry’s biggest operational challenges.

Parker joined Railinc in 2008 as vice president and chief financial officer and added customer experience to his responsibilities in 2014. He has been in his current role since early 2017.

Parker earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business management from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A certified public accountant, Parker was named CFO of the Year by the Triangle Business Journal in 2010.
 

About Supply & Demand Chain Executive
Supply & Demand Chain Executive is the executive's user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, utilizing hard-hitting analysis, viewpoints and unbiased case studies to steer executives and supply management professionals through the complicated, yet critical, world of supply and demand chain enablement to gain competitive advantage. Learn more at www.sdcexec.com.

Top Railinc Customer Questions (and Answers)

Railinc’s Customer Success Center handles about 40,000 inquiries each year, from requests for walkthroughs of any one of the company’s dozens of products to questions about locked accounts and lost passwords.

Here are five of the top questions Railinc’s CSC team gets from customers, with links to resources that have the answers.

Don’t see your question here? Our CSC team can help. Contact us at csc@railinc.com or 877-724-5462.
 

  1. How do I manage access rights for the Umler System?
    An Umler system user’s access is managed by an Umler administrator at their company. This administrator controls their colleagues’ ability to modify data within the system. The Umler Managing Access Rights Quick Guide covers how administrators can grant any or all data-modification rights to an Umler user or to another mark or company.
     
  2. How do I edit a Letter of Authorization (LOA)?
    Railinc uses LOAs to help protect its customers’ confidential data. These agreements ensure that appropriate data is sent only to authorized parties. Sometimes, you need to update information in an LOA to help with activities such as shipment or asset management. View our LOA Editing demo video for step-by-step instructions on editing an LOA.

     
  3. How do I nullify an alert closure in the Equipment Health Management System (EHMS)?
    When a repair or inspection is reported incorrectly, you can nullify the alert closure if your road reported the activity. There are restrictions on who can nullify an alert closure. Take a look at page 20 of the EHMS User Guide for complete instructions.
     
  4. How do I nullify an inspection in Umler?
    The Umler system gives users a way to report inspections. But sometimes mistakes happen, like reporting an air brake inspection in error. You can easily fix this by logging into the system and nullifying the inspection. Read our Umler Nullifying Inspections Quick Guide to learn how.
     
  5. How do I query historical lineage in Umler?
    The Umler system’s historical lineage function enables users to view all actions related to a specific equipment ID or equipment identification number, like the restenciling required by an ownership change. Some data are confidential and accessible only to equipment owners. Download the Umler Querying Historical Lineage Quick Guide to find out how to view historical lineage.

—Railinc Corporate Communications

Railinc Named Great Supply Chain Partner

Railinc Corp. is being honored as one of the “100 Great Supply Chain Partners" for 2016 by SupplyChainBrain magazine. Each year, the magazine features a select group of companies whose customers have nominated them for providing outstanding solutions and services that made a significant impact on their supply chain performance. This is the first time that Railinc has been honored with this logistics industry award.

Railinc RailSight improves supply chain visibility."Railinc is grateful to its customers for acknowledging the good work of our employees, and also to our employees for helping demonstrate the value of freight rail as a critical component in the supply chain network," said Allen West, Railinc CEO and president.

Now in its 14th year, SupplyChainBrain solicits nominations from logistics industry companies to evaluate service providers that made a significant impact on their company’s efficiency, customer service and overall supply chain performance.

"This year we received literally hundreds of nominations for solutions providers in every aspect of supply chain management," said Brad Berger, publisher of the magazine. "Railinc should be proud to be amongst the 100 Great!"
 

RailSight Delivers Rail Shipment Visibility and Rail Equipment Management Data

Railinc’s RailSight suite of applications delivers rail shipment visibility and equipment management data directly to the desktop or via TMS solution to support rail equipment owners, shippers and third-party logistics providers along every link of the rail logistics supply chain. The company’s data products and technology systems are deeply embedded in the North American freight rail network, providing safety and operational support. Railinc also maintains widely-used industry databases, builds critical software applications and provides essential business intelligence services supporting the freight rail industry. 

Railinc Corp. will appear in the 2016 July/August issue of SupplyChainBrain magazine as a celebrated member of this year’s 100 Great Supply Chain Partners.
 

Railinc Wins SupplyChainBrain 100 Great Award and Improves Supply Chain VisibilityAbout SupplyChainBrain (www.supplychainbrain.com

SupplyChainBrain, the world’s most comprehensive supply chain management information resource, is accessed year round through a wide range of ever evolving multi-media format by hundreds of thousands of senior level industry executives. In addition to addressing the fundamental principles of supply-chain management, SupplyChainBrain identifies emerging trends, technologies and best practices, forward thinking ideas and cutting-edge solutions, and continues to write and report about these as they evolve and mature. 

—Railinc Corporate Communications

Employees Learn, Grow in Critical Support Role

Railinc Customer Support Representative Kelli Buchanan in the Customer Support Center.

Not all customer support jobs are the same. Starting in the Customer Support Center (CSC) at Railinc gives employees a solid foundation to build on as they work to reach their career goals. In this guest post, Railinc Customer Support Representative Kelli Buchanan talks about the phone calls, the schedule, and the opportunities to learn, grow and make an impact across the company. Click here to find out more about the Railinc Customer Support team.

Before I started working in CSC at Railinc, I saw customer support like most people probably do: a large group of anonymous employees in a room answering phone call after phone call, occasionally helping a customer solve a problem.

Well, I do answer a lot of calls—as many as 40 a day.

But I do much more than that.

Improving the Customer Experience

We're the first point of contact most of our customers have with Railinc. When I'm not answering the phone or responding to customer emails, I'm working with people across the company to make sure I know our products and services inside and out; to support important programs and processes; and to help make the customer experience better.

I don't have a typical day. If I'm in the group of CSC employees that comes in early, I get in at 7 a.m. and begin responding to customer emails from the night before. Phone calls start soon after and include everything from requests to unlock online accounts to questions about an error message a customer might receive when working in one of our applications.

Application Testing, Data Management, Disaster Recovery

Railinc Customer Support Representative Kelli Buchanan working with a colleague.Beyond responding to phone calls and emails, CSC is in charge of reviewing permissions requests from customers who want to access our applications. We put each request through a verification process to make sure that customers get the right permissions and that our data are secure. We test applications, keep important industry databases are up to date and accurate, and play important roles in company-wide disaster recovery exercises.

We also work closely with Railinc's product support teams, which provide second-level support, and attend meetings and trainings for individual product groups. This helps us understand Railinc products, keep up with product releases and let product groups know about any persistent issues customers have had. It feels good to know that the customer feedback we collect and share is used to improve our products.

Importance of Customer Support at Railinc

Because we provide 24/7 customer support, we are on an on-call rotation. For one week every two months, I'm responsible for responding to emergency requests that come in after business hours. I have been woken up at 3 a.m. to facilitate a conference call when one of our applications went down. It can be challenging, but it's a reflection of how important a responsive CSC team is to Railinc's work.

It might seem overwhelming to answer and log every phone call and email and to always be ready to remember what each field in the Umler® system user interface means and how entering one wrong code into the system can keep a railcar out of service.

It can be.

Thankfully, we aren't expected to be subject matter experts from the start.

Training, Learning, Professional Growth

In fact, every Railinc CSC representative goes through a 90-day training period to learn all our products and get comfortable interacting with customers. When we start, we do things like unlock online accounts, respond to email requests, and send a "morning report" to the entire company that recaps critical cases from the last 24 hours as well as internal or external notifications that we sent. The learning doesn't stop after our first 90 days: there are plenty of opportunities to to learn through lunch and learns, product training sessions and shadowing of groups throughout the company.

Railinc Customer Support Representative Kelli Buchanan takes a break with a colleague.It's tough learning all the products and services and the freight rail industry as an entry-level employee. But it positions us well to advance in the company quickly. A lot of our product support employees, managers, business analysts and others started on Railinc's CSC team. This opportunity to grow is just one of many things I like about working in CSC at Railinc.

Another one that's important to me is flexibility.

It might seem like I have to be tethered to my phone and computer during work hours, but I can take advantage of Railinc's flexible work environment, too. I have had to run home for an emergency a few times. I was able to log on from home and work the rest of my day there. If you're on call, you have even more flexibility during daytime hours so you can do your job and live your life.

Customer support isn't for everyone. You have to multi-task. You have to be proactive. You have to be patient as you work to learn from the customer what their challenge is and figure out what you can do to help. And you have to be thoughtful and follow up to make sure they get what they need.

At Railinc, customer support is more than just answering phones. We've helped to build a strong foundation with our customers and support the work everyone throughout the company does.

—Kelli Buchanan

A graduate of UNC-Greensboro, Kelli Buchanan joined the Railinc Customer Support team in 2014.

Update: Since we published this post, Kelli has earned a promotion to product support specialist with Railinc's Commercial group. She is an essential part of a team that provides support for internal-facing services that are critical to our products, and we look forward to her continued growth and progress with the company. 

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