March 30, 2020

Freight Forwarder Best Practices: 10 Ways to Improve Customer Experience

Adam Robinson
Adam Robinson
Freight Forwarder Best Practices

Freight forwarding is rapidly undergoing a digital transformation. Unfortunately, the vertical in the global transportation economy has remained reluctant to embrace digital freight forwarding – failing to eliminate the many hassles of traditional, more manual processes. 

Even email, which once promoted a better experience for the shippers—your customers—that work with your company, is now inefficient. That is in conjunction with tons of, hard to locate quickly “nonstandard documents in circulation worldwide, not to mention customs requirements vary from country to country and product to product,” says Logistics Management

To maintain a positive customer experience, freight forwarders need to understand a few top freight forwarder best practices to deliver faster quotes, more accurate documentation, and improved service levels. 

1. Recognize Your Limits in Old, Antiquated Processes

The first step is to recognize the limits of your old systems and processes. Without evolving freight forwarding systems, freight forwarders cannot deliver on more volume and faster quoting. “The result is an antiquated customer experience for businesses moving goods across the globe.”

2. Hire the Right Team

Freight forwarders are only as good as their team members, and by hiring the right, experienced professionals, forwarders can ensure better customer service levels. As explained by AFILA, “for organizations that operate internationally, teams must understand how freight forwarding laws vary in each country and ensure adherence to the law. 

With so many unpredictable factors in play when it comes to moving freight, the right team will be creative, adaptable and capable of managing customer expectations when natural disasters or unforeseen delays strike.” Also, experienced professionals will naturally understand the need to be clear and concise in all freight communications

3. Leverage a Digital Freight Forwarding Platform

Digital freight forwarder best practices include the use of an advanced, automated digital freight forwarding platform. If your system is more than four years old or you’re still using traditional spreadsheets, disjointed communications channels, like email, or nothing at all, then it may be time to consider an upgrade. Ensure that any forwarding platform you use allows for unlimited scalability to continuously grow your forwarding business. 

4. Gain Visibility Into All Transactions

Increased visibility into all transactions, including all carrier relationships and quotes, will translate into better customer service. Remember that shippers value transparency, and in the height of various market forces, transparency and visibility are kings. It is a key foundation of trust.

5. Deploy APIs to Rate All Modes Instantaneously

Rating all modes for all shipments is an excellent way to increase customer service by guaranteeing your company has rated freight for all possible options to secure the best rate. Additionally, using an API transforms the process by putting the rating power in the hands of customers, if available, or also allowing your employees to immediately rate and respond to quote requests. Response time is critical.

6. Increase Use of Multi-Modal Shipping to Secure More Capacity and Available Rates

Multi-modal shipping must be a necessity for successful freight forwarder best practices. Multi-modal shipping allows for more value and rating options through more carriers, too. Having options allows for better redundancy and can help empower the customer in their own business.

7. Recognize How Disruption May Affect Operations in Advance 

Understanding disruption risks further augment customer service as part of the freight forwarder best practices by helping your company stay competitive and avoid unnecessary delays in shipping. 

8. Find Additional Spot Market Carriers

According to Supply Chain 24/7, additional spot market carriers provides a further protective effect against disruption and also promote stability throughout market volatility and customs’ concerns. 

“To streamline their customs clearance processes, topper-forming companies are leveraging customs brokers, freight forwarders and other third parties [to lower freight spend].” Thus, your company is in the perfect position to boost profitability and service levels in tandem. 

9. Aggregate Data and Apply Analytics to Understand Use of Digital Freight Forwarding Capabilities

Using data provides added benefits to understand freight forwarding best practice trends in your organization and how you can derive more value and service. Seek additional resources online or engage a data consultant to help you better understand applicable analytics.

10. Consider Use of Robotics Process Automation to Handle the “Email” Clients

Lastly, robotics process automation (RPA) capabilities, such as “Chatbots,” could leverage technology and software to automatically respond to customer inquiries, reply to emails, submit data for rating within API-connected freight forwarding platforms, and more. This rapidly developing technology can also allow you to automatically process emailed documents such as purchase orders, contracts, and other pdf documents.

Boost Customer Service Levels With the Digital freight forwarder best practices

Freight forwarder best practices give your company a chance to stay competitive, secure more shippers as clients, and build better customer service levels. 

Find out more about how your organization can take advantage of an advanced platform that aligns with these top best practices as we invite you and your team to join our Private Beta Group by clicking the Request Beta Access” button at the top of this page. 

To get the most out of our platform, book your free, personalized training call with our Success Team

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