Global exports are growing every year. In 2021, the global trade value of goods exported was approximately 22.3 trillion U.S. dollars.
If you're a freight forwarder this is great news. But the evolution of e-commerce has introduced a generation of importers and exporters that demand a lot more from forwarders.
A tracking code with a URL no longer serves today's shipper's need for visibility. Transparency in processes, lower costs with faster shipping, and real-time notifications on any device are just some of the demands.
In a connected world, forwarders are aware it is easy to lose a customer if they're not better equipped than fellow forwarders.
Forwarders may be masters at their trade but it is time to listen and act on your customer's pain points in the entire shipping process. Here are some ways you can simplify how shippers conduct business with you.
1. Bridge the gap between RFQ and shipment booking
A Request for Quotation or simply quotation is when an interested party (importer or exporter) approaches a forwarder for freight movement. It is generally considered the first step toward generating a sale transaction. A few forwarders can even take a week to reply to a quotation. Imagine being a consignor with an urgent delivery and not receiving a response. As a forwarder, that sale transaction is important to you, and a speedy response to the quotation helps increase your revenue. Online booking portals with quick responses can help convert twice as many sales as delayed ones.
2. Keeping your commitments
Once your shipper agrees to the schedule, pricing, and other terms, the only thing standing between a long-term relationship with your customer is you honoring the commitment. Hidden or surprise charges, damage to the cargo or missed delivery schedules do not help achieve this goal. To ease forwarders' handling of volumes and yet maintain the quality and accuracy of deliveries, freight management software comes in handy. It also helps bring transparency to your shippers by giving a quote that includes all fixed, variable, and incidental charges.
3. Regular updates about cargo
Like you, your shippers have commitments too. Shippers trust you to timely deliver cargo in the right condition to their customers or sometimes, even to their own offices abroad. Therefore it is paramount to provide an easy tracking facility with real-time updates to your customers. Helping your customer's business in turn is beneficial to yours as well. Well-known logistics software like Logi-Sys extends the tracking utility to milestone updates via auto-emails, SMS, and even a mobile app. Tracking cargo with supporting processes is essential for forwarders too. It ensures monitoring timely schedules, and identifying, and resolving bottlenecks. When handling several shipments, you will need automation or set up management-by-exception to trigger escalations.
4. User-friendly technology
Among the top reasons, shippers pick a freight forwarder like you are your expertise and the other is to save time. A smooth user experience is the least that you could provide. Importers and exporters appreciate lesser intervention from them allowing more time to focus on their businesses. While choosing software to assist your customers in freight management, ensure it includes:
direct booking of shipments
viewing invoices and outstanding
provide instant documentation compliance status
single window to view the shipment progress
simple navigation on the web and mobile
5. Answer their queries faster
You must show your support to your customer at all times. First-time shippers require a little more assistance but even your long-term customers have an ad-hoc concern. Some areas where your customers require assistance may include invoice queries, cargo damage, or insurance and customs compliance documents. Great customer support can be digital-assisted or person-assisted. Digital-assisted support can be chatbots, documentation, FAQs, or help videos on your website or mobile app given to your customers. Person-assisted support can be email or live assistance over the phone.
Mutual growth is one of the best business strategies. By listening to your importers' and exporters' demands, you help them fulfill their business goals while ultimately growing yours too. Adopting logistics software is your best bet to live up to your shippers' expectations. Keep up with the trends and make the most of the global trading opportunities available.