When it comes to processing shipments, especially in the world of freight forwarding, transparency and communication are vital in keeping customers happy. Allowing you to foster positive relationships and garner goodwill that translates into long term, and hopefully, profitable business. Building those relationships requires a lot of focus on options for the customer. Providing visibility is vital; a customer should know where their freight is, having a window for air cargo or container tracking, or keeping them posted on the progression of the final mile tracking. Additionally, you want to make sure they see the status of different milestones along the way, like if the ISF or AES got filed on time or if the shipment passed customs without a hitch.
A bird’s eye view on procedural challenges
But something that doesn’t always get as much attention is the run-up before the shipment starts. All the things that set up the inherit structure of how things get done. These play a significant role in determining customer experiences as well as the kind of customers you will attract. Here I am not talking about shipping terms like if a shipment is FOB or the type of service like expedited or not. Stepping back and reviewing the decisions made before the shipment even starts and taking that bird’s eye view to notice procedural challenges. Considering the choice of partners and vendors you chose to make the flow of cargo possible has an impact. Now you are seeing the patterns that are baked in your service because of the choice of agent, trucker, or carrier you made. These hidden restrictions sometimes get overlooked because everyone is too close to the issue to see the bigger picture. Freight forwarding is holistic, and not seeing all of it can mean missing opportunities that are staring you right in the face.
The work prior to the shipments
Thinking beyond those steps to the ones that happened before the pre-alerts, bill of ladings are issued, or AES or ISF get filed is harder because that isn’t where the action is. But you will want to pull that information in and make it visible to your organization so everyone can understand why things were set up that way for a customer:
- The sales effort made to secure the business
- The SOPs that were written by the account manager
- The negotiation of the rates by the purchasing team
- The time spent finding overseas agents
- Picking carriers and vendors
- Developing product
Just to name a few, all these items play a role in making a shipment happen and ensure that the service offered is of a standard acceptable to your customers and profitable. Not to mention the time spent on nurturing those relationships and, of course, the most important to us, the investment spent on picking then setting up the forwarding software, the one thing that brings it all together.
The need to fully exploit the software
Forwarding software is the thread that ties it all together — good software offers a variety of tools that will not only allow you to leverage a forwarding team’s potential but also give transparency to all the things involved in a shipment. Understanding how a software package can take all of that critical information and then facilitate quick answers at the desk level is vital. But sadly, it’s often exactly here where things get lost in the shuffle, and instead of being a boon of wonders, the software isn’t utilized fully, which is an unnecessary shame.
Creating excellent customer service that keeps your customer happy, to help achieve it, it’s essential to understand what software can do to harmonize all the steps that lead up to the shipment. How to use it to help scale workloads and reduce 5 hours of work with just one click. Automation of billing, transparency through dashboards, and customer reporting are just a few of the powerful tools Scope offers, but there is much more there to help, but like anything else, that too needs the correct set up to get the best ROI.
Scope can do a lot to help solve forwarding challenges and help you grow good business relationships. And that is what these posts are about. This is the first in a series of blogs to provide insight on how to leverage Scope but also offer a different point of view on how to do things more efficiently.
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