In 2019 DFDS Cold Chain excelled in every aspect of its business thanks to a commitment at all levels to consistently exceeding customers’ expectations.

With 240 staff, up from 170 in 2018, and a fleet of 398 trucks and trailers operating from six depots from Cheshire to the Suffolk coast DFDS Cold Chain distributes chilled and frozen foods for major customers including all the large supermarkets.

Last year it achieved a 35% rise in turnover and a 55% boost in profits after overall performance exceeded the service level agreement of 98%.

Net Promoter Scores range between 57 and 80 across the depots, well above the average of 53 for the logistics sector.

Judges were impressed with the “very professional submission” and said there was a “clear link between customer satisfaction and growth in the business”.


DPD is now the UK’s leading domestic parcels carrier and 2019 was another successful year, with turnover up £72m to £1.38bn.

One comment to emerge from DPD’s regular meeting


s with customers was “it’s the ‘tiny noticeable things’ (TNTs) that separate the truly great companies from the rest”.

The TNTs for 2019 were:

• Prove Yourself to make it easier to prove a consumer’s identity when collecting a high value parcel from a DPD site

• Partner Rewards – gives consumers discounts from companies DPD delivers for

• Message the driver

• You’re next to alert consumers when the driver is five minutes away

• In-flight changes to a delivery once it’s already out on the road

• Rate my driver

Judges’ comments included: “A fantastic entry with a strong focus on customer service,” and “by listening to their customers they have made small changes to what is already a great service offering.”


Starbucks and Gist have had a long-standing, highly-integrated, collaborative relationship since 2010 and this has strengthened in recent years with a number of strategic developments, including the establishment of a dedicated customer excellence team in June 2019.


In just three months, Gist created a customer excellence centre for Starbucks, with team members working 12-hour shifts, 364 days a year.

The centre answered 24,000 queries in seven months from more than 1,000 stores with performance consistently over 98% of calls answered within 20 seconds. The centre provides insights to Starbucks enabling it to better understand claims data from their franchise and licensed partners by store and region.

Judges described this entry as an “excellent customer service case study where Gist help Starbucks to better understand their own business whilst providing significant service improvements”.

Paul Ponsonby

Paul Ponsonby is a transport and warehousing company specialising in delicate, high-value items based in Birmingham.

Established in 1998, the company has grown year on year and now employs 55 people.

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Its entry states: “Customer satisfaction is our number one priority. This ethos is cascaded throughout the entire company.”

Early on the company developed and implemented a customer commitment plan to ensure it is not only meeting but exceeding client expectations.

The plan is based on:

• A loyal, hard-working and knowledgeable team;

• Excellent communication;

• Flat management structure;

• A positive attitude throughout the operation - ‘nothing is too much trouble’;

• Successfully meeting SLAs/KPIs;

• Constantly seeking improvement

Our judges said: “This entry shows real positivity throughout the team with a strong focus on customer service” and “the daily team meetings to discuss customer feedback from the previous day is a great real time reaction”.


The majority of Stagefreight customers work in the fast-paced entertainment industry, with very specific targets and schedules that cannot be missed.

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Founded in 1986, Stagefreight provides transport services for events of all shapes and sizes, and has expertise in TV, music, theatre and exhibition transport.

While other event transport companies rely on the production manager to take care of the loading Stagefreight drivers don’t just wait for their trucks to be ready to drive out; they get stuck in and help with every part of the job.

Stagefreight’s average load time target for a stage show truck is between three and four hours, 20% better than the industry standard, and for an average five-truck show, it aims to have all trucks on the road within 10 hours.

Our judges could clearly see that “everyone in the company is aware of what is required to deliver excellent customer care”.