Thought Leadership: Where Do Customers Fit In? Perspectives from Phil Yeager


Customer Experience Thought Leader, Phil Yeager, Executive Vice President, Account Management and Intermodal Operations at Hub Group.

TMSA continues our "Perspectives from Thought Leaders" series, where visionaries in our industry share their ideas, perspectives and stories about the essence of thought leadership. This blog post is the third in a Thought Leadership series brought to you exclusively by the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association.

 Phil Yeager

What makes great companies? Great customers, of course! Phil Yeager comes from a long legacy of putting the customer at the center of Hub Group’s vision and strategy. His grandfather, Hub Group’s original founder, as well as Phil’s father, had deep knowledge of the industry and spent years and decades listening and evolving to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

Because there are so few companies in logistics and transportation who have excelled the way Hub Group has with this singular customer focus, what better place to continue our discussion on thought leadership? We sat down with Phil Yeager to discuss all things ‘customer experience and thought leadership.” Here’s what we learned:

  • Being successful at delivering a meaningful customer experience involves first and foremost, listening. Having the ability to listen to the customer, and the team and stakeholders who surround the customer, plays a critical role in identifying the right problems to solve and immersing yourself in the customer journey.

  • As you’re listening to the customer, keep in mind that it is rare for a great idea to emerge without needing to ‘tinker with it.’ An initial idea or concept typically goes through many iterations before it becomes an outstanding solution and something that’s meaningful to customers; so don’t be afraid of change. The most important thing is to start small, try it out, evolve and repeat.

  • A lot of logistics businesses are highly diversified and complex – meaning they deliver solutions made up of multiple services working together in an interconnected way. In light of this, it’s important to find ways to make it easy for the customer to do business with you. Tactics include giving the customer a single point of contact, creating easy methods for a customer to communicate with you, and delivering value with every interaction.

  • Your success at delivering a great customer experience, as well as a great thought leadership program, will be filled with challenges – and should be! You can’t succeed at something unless you try; trying involves taking risks, and yes, some risks result in failures. It’s what you learn from failures that ultimately, makes your solutions better.

As a closing thought, Phil shared this piece of valuable advice for marketers and business leaders alike: “If people say it’s a great idea but it is too hard or complicated to succeed, it is probably worth pursuing.”

More about our guest: Phillip D. Yeager was named Executive Vice President, Account Management and Intermodal Operations in January 2016 after serving as Vice President of Account Management and Business Development from February 2014 to January 2016. Phil is responsible for managing Hub Group’s overall customer experience, including customer service and intermodal operations. Phil serves on the boards of the Northwestern University Transportation Center Business Advisory Council (BAC) and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital-Chicago. He holds a B.A. from Trinity College and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. To contact Phil, email the HubGroup at [email protected]

TMSA invites you to learn more about Thought Leadership marketing by ordering:

Webinar: How To Launch A Thought Leadership Campaign in 90 Days 
E-Book: The Ultimate Launch Kit for a Thought Leadership Program 

Guest author of the TMSA Thought Leadership blog series is Jill Schmieg, Founder and Chief Strategist of Sol de Naples Marketing. 

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