The Dependability Factor - Dependable Express: Customers Can Count on Great Service
Dependable Express LLC was founded in October 2002 in San Antonio, Texas. Since opening, Dependable Express has become one of the largest courier companies in the greater San Antonio area. The company currently offers customers secure shredding and delivery, and is known for expertly handling logistical distribution, route management and secure document destruction. Dependable Express also has noted excellent customer care.
Courier Magazine recently contacted Jason Miller, president of Dependable Express, and Shelly Miller, owner of Dependable Express, and found out how the company has evolved since 2002, and how the Millers recruit and retain their employees.
Courier Magazine: Can you explain how Dependable Express was founded?
Jason Miller: I didn’t purposely set out to get into the transportation and logistics industry, I just stumbled into it. I was 19 years old and needed a job; it was that simple. I came across an ad looking for drivers and the only qualification was “must own vehicle” and the rest, you can say, is history. In October 2002, I took the jump from employee to entrepreneur, and it’s been one the best decisions I’ve ever made. My wife and I started Dependable Express out of our kitchen, which meant my family utilized my desk at dinnertime. I was the company president, janitor, IT department, maintenance guy and only delivery driver.
Through the years, our growth has been primarily because of taking care of the customers and the repeat and referral business this brings. We also have benefited from networking with others in the industry and serving as agents in our local markets for couriers all over the country.
CM: How has your company has survived and thrived over the years?
Shelly Miller: When my husband and I started Dependable Express, I had no industry experience. Therefore, I strategically set out to find mentors and industry leaders who would share their knowledge, and invest in my life. The wisdom I gained, friendships that emerged, and the advice I received has been invaluable to Dependable Express’ success. Every year, I go on a road trip and visit with successful logistical companies to learn what they are doing right and sometimes, more importantly, what not to do.
Dependable Express has also been successful thanks to strong customer relationships. As their operations grow, we grow with them. We make it easy for people to do business with us. What can we do to become a greater resource to the people we serve? This is a key focus at Dependable Express. This one question has helped us expand services and venture into new markets.
CM: What services does the company offer?
Shelly Miller: Dependable Express offers same-day commercial and residential delivery, route management, white-glove delivery services, distribution, cross docking, warehousing and storage, and shredding services (document destruction). As of February 2013, we have also added refrigeration and temperature-controlled delivery service to our customers in Austin and San Antonio.
CM: How do you think you both have helped your company succeed?
Jason Miller: When we started Dependable Express, we purposely set out to establish a company culture that fostered creativity, a fun place to work, where laughter abounds, and where employee and driver recognition was constant. When faced with challenges, our motto is to keep things simple. We constantly re-evaluate our operations as we realize there's a big difference between activity and productivity. You always hear Shelly in the background saying work smarter, not harder.
CM: What are some of the new ideas your company is taking to modernize its operation? Is new technology pushing business?
Shelly Miller: Technology is definitely changing how we do business. We're not the same company we were five years ago, and we're pretty confident that five years from now we'll be amazed once again how technology has changed the face of our operations. Our strategy for technology success: partnering vendors that support the same-day delivery industry. Our focus at Dependable Express is on making deliveries, not in designing software or integrating GPS and mapping systems with hand-held devices. We've strategically selected vendors who are the best and whose entire business is designed around makings ours and others in the transportation industry lean, effective and current. Some of our favorite vendors are CXT Software, Brightstone Insurance, Courierboard, and Wireless Consulting.
Moving data into the cloud has been a huge benefit. As long as we have an Internet connection, we can be just as productive as those physically located in the office. This one simple move makes maternity leave or extended vacations bearable.
CM: What is the one key to your company success?
Shelly Miller: Dependability. It’s our namesake, so we can't be anything but. With one call, you get the right solution on time, every time. We like to say, “Outstanding service is not just our slogan, it’s our PROMISE.” We back up everything we do with a service guarantee. There’s nothing like a guarantee to make sure everyone is paying attention. After you've done a few deliveries for free, things change quickly. We are also very intentional about learning from our mistakes. And boy, have we learned a lot.
CM: How important is customer service to your company?
Shelly Miller: Customer service is everything. We founded Dependable Express on the premise of exceptional customer service, and we take it very seriously. Each delivery is important, and it’s our job to handle everyone professionally and on time. When circumstances such as inclement weather, hazardous road conditions, traffic accidents or major road closers occur, we keep our customers informed of their delivery status and make adjustments as needed. We are proactive instead of reactive because our customers are depending on us to get the job done. We also empower our employees to do what’s necessary to take care of the customer. There’s no red tape or hoops to jump through. We have to take good care of our customers. If not, someone else will.
It’s been interesting though the years to see how great customer service has not only brought us repeat business, but also brought us great friends. We have our first Dependable/customer baby on the way. A customer liked our CSR’s personality so much that she introduced our CSR to her brother. They got married and are now expecting their first child early August.
CM: Talk about the importance of your employees. How do they go above and beyond in your operation?
Shelly Miller: Dependable Express focuses on employee retention, and when we have a need, we go after the best. We are always looking to hire people who are smarter than we are. We get to know the top performers in the industry and try to make Dependable Express the place they want to come to. The strength, determination and resolve of our Dependable team are unmatched. We also stress to our employees the balance between work and living life. Work hard and play hard.