5 Ways Forwarders Can Improve Customer Satisfaction with Automated Supply Chain Integrations

Providing excellent customer service can differentiate a freight forwarder from its competitors and help to build long-term relationships with customers. Read the five key strategies freight forwarders can employ to boost customer satisfaction and win repeat business from VP of Customer Success, Christa Hinkel.

five key strategies freight forwarders can employ to boost customer satisfaction and win repeat business

There are tens of thousands of freight forwarders around the world. Our CEO, Brian Glick, has written before about how the way to differentiate yourself as a forwarder is through relationships.

Just like in any business that relies heavily on repeat business, providing excellent customer service can differentiate a freight forwarder from its competitors and help to build long-term relationships with customers.

So what are the key elements of customer satisfaction that freight forwarders can be using to win back repeat business and expand their share of wallet?

1. Communication

Communication plays a critical role in building trust and credibility with BCO customers, and is essential for ensuring that customers are informed of the status of their shipments and any potential delays or issues. Freight forwarders should establish clear lines of communication with their customers, providing regular updates and being responsive to inquiries and concerns.

Leading freight forwarders are already leveraging technology to improve communication. Various software tools and platforms can streamline communication with customers, including online portals for tracking shipments, email alerts for status updates, chatbots for answering common questions, and many more tools.

By using technology to enhance communication, freight forwarders can provide greater transparency and real-time information to customers, ultimately leading to better forecasting, planning and increased satisfaction. The more that technology is integrated with core platforms and not siloed, the faster, more accurate, and more responsive your communications with customers can be.

2. Reliability

Reliability is a fundamental aspect of customer satisfaction in any industry, but especially in logistics where chaos is the norm. Shipments must arrive on time, without any surprises or hidden costs. And when those unexpected disasters and disruptions occur, we’re back to the idea that strategic technology investments and good communication can still save the day.

Freight forwarders can improve reliability by working with trusted and reputable carriers, using real-time tracking systems, and implementing robust quality control processes. They should also communicate regularly with their customers about any potential disruptions or delays, proactively addressing any issues before they become major problems. Over communication often goes a long way with customers, derisking any ability to account for disruption..

In addition to delivering shipments on time, freight forwarders should also ensure that all necessary paperwork and documentation are in order. This includes bills of lading, customs clearance documents, and any other documentation required for international shipments. By providing a smooth and hassle-free shipping experience for their BCO customers, freight forwarders can build trust and establish themselves as reliable partners.

Now the question is this: are you going to have agents and manual people power behind getting all those papers and documents in order? You could, but manual processes tend to increase delays, errors, and unreliability. If you have all your systems cleanly integrated into your TMS or customer-facing portal, customer satisfaction will improve. Automating ASNs and milestones and data routing between systems through a variety of data connections becomes paramount.

3. Flexibility

Flexibility is essential for customer satisfaction in the logistics industry. Freight forwarders can use technology to provide customized services to their BCO customers, such as handling special cargo, providing additional insurance coverage, or arranging for special handling or storage requirements. By using technology to manage and track the movement of goods, freight forwarders can also provide greater visibility and transparency into their operations, allowing for more flexible solutions.

In order to provide this kind of flexibility, you’ll need to have lots of partners who have specialized capabilities. These partners become much more valuable with a TMS integration.

4. Technology

Freight forwarders can leverage technology to improve customer satisfaction by providing greater visibility and transparency into their operations.

We talk about supply chain visibility platforms all the time here at Chain.io because it’s one of the innovations that is having the biggest impact on the industry. When you have a delay, a storm, a port strike, or any of the dozens of other things that could impact a shipment, the forwarders who can proactively reach out to BCO costumes and tell them where their stuff is are going to win over and over.

Visibility data providers can offer online tracking and tracing capabilities, automating invoicing and billing processes, or using data analytics to optimize shipping routes and minimize costs. By providing real-time information and greater transparency, freight forwarders can build trust and confidence with their BCO customers.

Download our free ebook on how freight forwarders can use visibility data to compete and win.

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5. Competitive Costs

BCOs are always looking for ways to reduce costs, and the forwarders who can be competitive will warrant a second look.

Freight forwarders can use data analytics to optimize their operations and reduce costs, which they can then pass on to customers.

Freight forwarders can also use automation to streamline their operations and reduce costs. By using automation software for tasks like invoicing and billing, freight forwarders can reduce manual labor and minimize the risk of errors. By using technology to improve cost-effectiveness, freight forwarders can provide more competitive pricing to their BCO customers, enhancing customer satisfaction.

How can faster integrations improve customer satisfaction?

It's evident that technology can improve customer satisfaction across the board. And the faster you get your technology onboarded and integrated with your customer’s key systems, the faster you’ll enjoy the rewards.

Moreover, when you choose to outsource technology integrations to Chain.io (to buy, rather than build it yourself), you free up your core team to focus on customer satisfaction and the product innovations that make you unique, instead of wasting their time on complex integrations that distract from your core capabilities. With our pre-built integrations, we helped Freight Right Global Logistics gain more efficiency and boost their customer satisfaction overall.

Robert Khachatryan, CEO, Freight Right Global Logistics

Download our free ebook to better understand the value of integrations or book a meeting with one of our supply chain experts to learn more.

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Christa Hinkel, VP of Customer Success
By Christa Hinkel
written on April 13, 2023

Christa is the VP of Customer Success at Chain.io where she is responsible for our clients’ journey and experience from onboarding to support.

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