Customers do not like poor service. A bad customer experience can ruin a business’s reputation and drive loyal customers away. In fact, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. So it’s important to be aware of how you’re treating clients, handling complaints and establishing lines of communication throughout your customer’s journey.
By 2020, customer experience will bypass product and price as the number one brand differentiator. Consumers not only want more, they expect more from the companies and services they purchase, which means it’s time to look under the hood and evaluate how you are approaching customer service.
According to a study conducted by Bain & Company, 80% of CEOs believe they deliver superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree. That’s quite a disconnect, and it’s proof that customer expectations have dramatically risen over the years. Far past what business leaders realize.
In the shipping and logistics industry, transparency and communication are essential to success. Whether you’re a freight agent or carrier, your customers depend on you to get their cargo where it needs to be.
If a retailer is out of snow shovels two days before the biggest snow storm of the season and is relying on your services to get their order from the warehouse to the store in time, it’s a safe bet that they want to know what is happening with the order every step of the way. Smart freight agents leverage logistics technology and freight brokerage platforms that give them the information and real-time updates needed to move and track shipments with confidence and ease.
Agents can easily accept an order, quote freight rates, dispatch pickups, forecast weather and transit times, connect the shipper with a reliable and trustworthy carrier and track shipments in real time. Carriers can quickly pick up cargo and transport it to its final destination in the quickest, safest and most effective way. If something were to go wrong, freight agents know what has happened and what led to that situation. If a shipper calls to check in on transit progress, freight agents can give them an answer in a matter of minutes. And, if there’s a hiccup in the backend with invoicing and billing, agents have all the client’s information available at their fingertips so they can resolve the issue quickly.
It is amazing what technology can do to improve the effectiveness of your business, but customer service goes far beyond that. People trust people, not brands, and this should be something you keep in the back of your mind as you establish yourself as a freight agent.
Communication and transparency are key; technology is just there to make it easier for you to achieve those goals. Customers don’t want to spend too much time on the phone trying to deal with an issue, and they certainly don’t want to be consumed dealing with nonsensical policies that make doing business difficult or impossible. As you build your freight agent business, think about how you can weave communication and transparency through every step of the customer journey – from the resources and information located on your website and marketing materials, to how you answer the phone when a client makes an inquiry or complaint. These are all important things to think about.
Customer loyalty can change in the blink of an eye. But with the right technology and communication protocols in place, you can rest easy knowing your clients will continue to depend on you to move their shipments because you’re someone they can trust.
If you want to know more about building your freight business, check out our blog post “7 Tips for Freight Agent Marketing.” If you really want to take your freight management business to the next level and are not already affiliated with GlobalTranz, take a few minutes to explore the benefits of our freight agent program or reach out to one of our specialists who can help you implement the right technology and programs to boost your business and customer success today.
 “Customers 2020: The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience Report,” Walker Research
It’s no secret that many carriers see freight brokers as a necessary evil, a roadblock keeping them from working directly with the shipper to move cargo. Without context, you can see why that assumption is often made. What’s the point of a freight broker if the shipper can just pick up the phone and call the carrier to schedule a shipment? Well, this situation isn’t black and white. Freight brokers add a tremendous amount of value to both shippers and carriers.
Freight brokers not only understand but value the trucking profession. Without viable transportation companies, they have nothing of value to sell to their customer base. They have forged relationships with carriers all over the world and depend on them day in and day out to safely deliver shipments intact and on time. It’s a working relationship where both parties can benefit.
Freight agents deliver a lot of value to carriers because they:
The most successful carriers have a network of reputable freight agents they depend on to connect them to shippers while driving more business. They’ve established a relationship that is mutually beneficial and trustworthy. To that end, GlobalTranz has established relationships with over 120 less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers and 14,000 truckload (TL) carriers – all helping to provide solutions for our mutual customers to meet all types of shipping needs. When you partner with us, you’ll be joining an expansive and winning team with some of the country’s best freight agents working for GlobalTranz. With over 25,000 customers shipping freight, more opportunities are abound for you as a carrier to grow your business strategically and collaboratively.
In addition, GlobalTranz has the most innovative freight management technology platform in the industry. That logistics technology platform is now being extended to carriers – allowing you to benefit from on-demand visibility into payment status, the ability to electronically transmit data and forms, and ready access to quick-pay options that will get you paid faster.
We can guarantee your business is in good hands when you work with GlobalTranz. Learn more about our freight agent network and market-leading freight agent program.
Let’s face it – we spend the majority of our lifetimes working so it’s no surprise that strong relationships are often formed with business colleagues. And for GlobalTranz, some of our strongest relationships are with our freight agents and carriers – and of course our ultimate customers, shippers.
Our freight agents are problem solvers, they’re reliable, and they are always there to get you out of a pickle. But so often freight agents are the front line for frustrations coming from shippers and carriers.
So in a nod to Valentine’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 reasons to love your freight brokerage firm and the freight agents who handle your shipments.
Thank you to all of our shippers and carriers for your long-term support, and thank you to all of our dedicated freight agents. Without you, moving cargo would be more a lot more nightmare and a lot less romance.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
And freight agents – If your freight brokerage firm is not showing you enough love, join the GlobalTranz freight agent program
Freight brokers act as the intermediary between shippers and carriers. They have the network, the experience and the resources to fulfill orders and get shipments where they need to be. Yet, like anyone serving as a liaison, they are always fighting the stigma that they’re an unnecessary and expensive part of the equation. “Why pay a freight broker to move my shipment when I can just deal with the carrier directly?” shippers often ask.
Well the truth is, taking freight brokers out of the equation isn’t going to make it cheaper for shippers. Yes, freight brokers earn money for connecting shippers to carriers. And yes, shippers are the ones forking up the money to pay for their services, but the reality is, an experienced and trustworthy freight broker can move your load more efficiently and effectively than if you had arranged the transportation yourself. This isn’t because you aren’t capable, it’s because the connections, technology and support freight agents have at their disposal can significantly lower your overall shipping costs.
Here are three ways freight brokers can help shippers lower their shipping costs:
Moving freight is a complicated and complex business. Don’t cut corners by searching for reliable carriers yourself and hoping the process will manage itself. Leave it to freight brokerage pros like GlobalTranz. We know the freight business and we’ll put your mind at ease while saving you money along the way. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you lower shipping costs and improve logistics efficiency.
The start of the New Year is often a time when we pause to think about how we can do things better or make our lives happier, on both a personal and professional level. And because technology has become so fundamental to our daily lives, often technology innovations have the ability to help us improve – whether it be the latest fitness tracker or a new application that helps us do our jobs better.
Whether you are a seasoned freight broker with a booming business or a new freight agent trying to navigate a complex industry, your success is dependent on the freight brokerage platform you use. So the question is – how well is your current freight brokerage platform serving you?
Managing a freight business that delivers exceptional customer service and competitive rates is no easy task. There are so many moving parts going on behind the scenes that require your attention. Like most legacy technology, a freight brokerage platform of the past is not likely to leap frog you into the future. If you want to build a reputable, trustworthy and profitable freight management business in 2017, you need reliable and innovative logistics management technology solutions that support both your day-to-day activities and long-term business goals.
If you’re reading this post, it’s safe to guess there’s something wrong with the freight brokerage technology you’re using today – or you’re less than happy with it. And if you’re not sure, here are three red flags that mean it’s definitely time for you to start looking for a new freight brokerage platform:
At this point you understand the technology roadblocks that are getting in the way of your success, but do you know about some of the partnerships you can make to invest in the future of your business? If you really want to bolster your freight brokerage business in the New Year, you should think about partnering with an organization that is committed to growing your freight business with you.
GlobalTranz offers a freight agent partnership program that helps freight agents run and grow their own agency. Agents leverage GlobalTranz’ world-class freight brokerage technology and network of 14,000 truck-load (TL) and 100 less-than-a-truck-load (LTL) carriers to fuel their business growth. Not to mention you can maximize your earnings through aggressive commission splits, real-time commission tracking, simultaneous load board posting and marketing programs to help you generate leads. You also have complete access to a business transition team and a back-office support team to help you streamline and optimize your freight management business processes and systems. And you have nothing to lose, so why not explore the opportunity of becoming a GlobalTranz freight agent?
2017 is full of potential! This year make it a priority to take advantage of a freight brokerage technology solution and freight agent support program that can truly drive your freight brokerage growth and success in the New Year.
According to one survey, weather-related shipping challenges cost trucking companies between $2 billion and $3.5 billion on average. In fact, overall weather-related shipping challenges add up to close to 3.5% of the U.S. GDP. Unless you have a plan for managing risks due to weather, just one hurricane or devastating snowstorm could upend your business.
Every business is vulnerable to weather variances – but freight brokerages are particularly vulnerable. While most delays caused by weather happen on the ground for trucking companies, freight agents can experience challenges even when operating a multi-modal transportation business.
Say your ground carriers are unable to fulfill a shipment because of a weather-related challenge. If your alternate is air transportation, those same challenges may impact air transportation, too. Almost three quarters of all flight delays are due to weather and nearly 85% of weather delays prevent planes from ever taking off.
Recent weather models show the increasing erratic nature of weather patterns are creating daily weather variances that make predicting weather-related challenges harder. Not to mention the practically annual unprecedented natural disasters recently:
It’s clear that no matter what region, what state, or what country you operate in, every freight agent needs several alternatives for managing weather-related challenges.
Did you know that last year, at least three ocean vessels sank because of hurricanes and tropical storms? Weather will affect or disrupt every mode of transportation. Evidence shows that these extreme weather events are going to grow increasingly more severe and happen more and more routinely for the foreseeable future.
If the roads are closed, planes are grounded, and you can’t get your cargo out of port, what do you do? As a freight agent how can you safeguard your deliveries against delays, cancellations, and mass transportation disruptions due to weather?
Here are 6 safeguards to mitigate your damages and avoid being caught without a viable alternate when disasters strike.
#1: Strategically Placed Warehouses and Distribution Centers
Many industries from retailers to pharmaceutical companies maintain an excess of goods in different locations to prepare for typical business fluctuations. If a retailer’s sale leaves shelves bare, they can access additional goods from nearby warehouses.
This concept is called “nearshoring” when it applies to freight logistics. Instead of having to ship a load cross-country, you have distribution centers strategically located so that if part of your supply chain is shutdown, your operations can still move forward.
#2: Broad Carrier Network Including Ground, Air, and Ocean
One of the best ways for a freight brokerage to avoid weather-related challenges is by having a broad carrier network across multiple modes of transportation. If the roads are shut down, do you have an air carrier in your network?
If flights are grounded, can you still ship via ocean? The broader and more diverse your carrier network, the easier it is to manage weather disruptions.
#3: Partner with Other 3PLs
Competition between third-party logistics providers (3PLs) for the same accounts prevents many freight agents from forming smart partnerships with other 3PLs. However, partnering with other 3PLs in regions where you don’t normally operate can save your bottom line if a disaster or weather-related event closes down your normal routes.
#4: Involve a 4PL Provider
What is a 4PL provider? A 4PL provider is an integrator that has the resources, capabilities and technologies to run complete supply chain solutions. They can provide reports on historical and predicted weather patterns and take over portions of your supply chain operations in the event of an outage.
#5: Utilize Data Analysis to Anticipate Weather-Related Challenges
If you are only analyzing data where you have historically shipped but you have since expanded to new territories, you are not getting a full picture of the challenges you face. Data analysis helps you proactively analyze weather-related risks wherever you operate so that you can predict disruptions.
#6: Optional Weather Insurance for Shipments
Offering weather insurance can protect the freight agent’s bottom line while giving customers a chance to protect themselves against weather-related challenges. There are global and national areas where weather challenges are highest. Offering weather insurance for those shipments is another way to safeguard against losses due to weather events.
With years of transportation industry experience, GlobalTranz is a valuable 3PL partner that empowers its freight agents with innovative technology, near real-time data and a team of logistics specialists who help mitigate risk from numerous supply chain challenges, including weather-related issues. Contact us now for more information.
The launch of Uber Freight got quite a bit of press last month, as Uber shared its vision of cutting out the middleman in freight movement by connecting shippers directly with available carriers and providing real-time pricing.
Uber is not the first to attempt this model. Other companies have tried it with mixed results and minimal disruption to the traditional freight brokerage industry.
While Uber clearly has a track record of success in connecting passengers with drivers, the world of commercial trucking and large freight movement is much more complex.
Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Association summed it up best when he said: “It just seems like there is interest because being ‘Uber-like’ is sexier than saying that you are a truck freight broker.”
While freight brokerages may not be perceived as sexy, they play a critical role in logistics and offer a great deal of value, more than justifying their fees.
Here are 3 ways freight brokerage firms add value that an Uber-like shipper-to-carrier model can’t beat – volume pricing, accuracy and accountability.
Freight brokerages move a tremendous amount of cargo in a year – and that high level of volume gives freight brokers leverage in pricing. Companies like GlobalTranz are able to negotiate better rates with carriers because they are able to guarantee a consistent level of business. As shipper profit margins grow tighter and tighter, any dollar saved in shipping is a dollar toward the bottom line. While freight brokerages add some cost to the supply chain, they also remove a lot of cost by offering lower carrier rates and reducing shipper overhead in managing freight movement.
While the idea of replacing the middleman may look attractive, freight shipment is not simple. Freight brokering is a complex operation that involves many variables, almost all of which can results in a significant cost to the shipper in terms of in time, risk, and hard dollars if not completed efficiently and accurately. Freight movement requires adherence to shipper requests, freight-specific requirements and compliance with state and federal laws. In addition to regulations governing freight transport, each shipper often requires compliance with its own unique set of shipping policies regarding rates, insurance, and carrier attributes (like on time delivery).
To ensure accuracy and compliance, a freight agent must take the basic parameters a shipper provides and use these data points to seed decisions around a much larger set of information and actions. For example, the size, weight, and commodity type or freight class may require a nuanced carrier class or carrier service selection (e.g. van, side loader, flat bed). Freight shipment reclassification alone can result in high, unexpected costs for the shipper if not handled properly. For example, if a shipment is booked at an LTL-negotiated rate, but in reality should have been moved as a volume shipment, significant disconnects can occur in pricing. A shipment of 10,000 ping pong balls may show a cost of $200 (not a real value) as a result of low weight, but the reality is the amount of space the shipment actually requires is half a trailer, so the rebill could be $10,000. Freight brokerages have the insight and experience to flag these potential issues, facilitate resolution and ensure shippers have the appropriate documentation to negotiate effectively with carriers.
For an Uber-like service to gather this information accurately at the time of the freight service request is likely not feasible as most small-to-medium shippers would not be able to answer many of these questions. Whereas an experienced freight agent using GlobalTranz’ advanced logistics technology and freight transport database, combined with their own experience and knowledge, has the ability to make the accurate, real-time decisions necessary to ensure successful and compliant freight delivery.
Freight brokerage firms often have long-standing relationships with carriers, giving shippers peace of mind in knowing that the carrier is trustworthy, reputable and reliable. Freight is precious and expensive cargo – shippers need to do everything possible to minimize the risk of loss, damage or theft. Freight brokerages play a critical role in screening carriers, providing oversight to ensure loads are correctly matched with the right type of carrier and equipment, and ensuring shipper expectations are met. This takes a load off (no pun intended!) of shippers, allowing them to stay focused on running their core operations.
What Does the Future Hold for Logistics?
That said, Uber is offering an exciting alternative to the industry and will likely be successful in carving out a niche in on-demand freight movement. The company is also investing in advancing innovative technologies like self-driving trucks which will benefit the logistics industry as a whole, and deliver valuable new options for both shippers and freight brokerages alike. Automation in logistics is a topic unto its own, and one we’ll explore in a future blog post.
At GlobalTranz, we look forward to working alongside or in partnership with Uber and other on-demand freight options as we continue to grow our freight brokerage and 3PL service offerings. Contact GlobalTranz today to discuss how we can add value to your business.
Every year, advances in transportation, logistics and freight brokerage technology keep the logistics industry in constant flux. These changes can impact not only your freight management operations but also how you market your business. Here are 7 of the most untapped but effective freight agent marketing tips.
Last year we told you about how to market your niche. Well one of the top 7 untapped marketing tips for freight agents is in promoting your niche. Having a unique niche can make you a hometown hero to your local businesses.
Promoting your niche to an even bigger audience can reap unprecedented rewards. Take your niche national or global. You may be surprised at how many businesses have been looking for a freight agent like you.
It’s easy to get caught up looking for leads in the same places. But if you venture outside of the typical freight pool of potential shippers and seek out other businesses that could benefit from your services you could reach a potentially untapped reservoir of clients.
For instance, if you live in a city where there are niche businesses or local startups moving their own products, market your freight management services to them. You can offer introductory rates for new companies that could use a break in shipping. That way, not only can you show your community how you are helping new businesses in your area, but your new customers will also be your biggest cheerleaders in your local market.
Your business is logistics and moving freight. Marketing doesn’t have to be your strong suit in order to successfully market your company. Too many freight agents try to save a few bucks by doing the bare minimum or by discounting the importance of freight agent marketing.
Don’t risk losing business to your competitors who out market you. Find a good marketing firm that specializes in logistics to help you market your freight management services. Unless you are willing to put in the effort necessary to build an effective marketing campaign on your own, investing in professionals who can do it for you will pay off and will allow you to stay focused on your core business – which is moving freight.
It’s one thing to market to generate more leads. However, once you’ve converted those leads into clients, you want to keep them coming back. Of course the most effective way to do that is to provide quality service. But you can also deepen that loyalty by rewarding your customers with promotional giveaways and discounts.
Along the same lines, referrals are the strongest marketing tool in the world. Word-of-mouth is still the most highly effective form of freight agent marketing. You can use your website to build that kind of valuable word-of-mouth by encouraging referrals. If you’re doing a good job, your clients will be happy to do it.
It’s not always easy to offer guarantees on freight delivery. There will be times when delays are unavoidable. Yet if you have a strong transportation carrier network and can confidently manage on-time deliveries despite road closures, inclement weather, or other logistical issues, you can snap up a lot of new business by promoting that guarantee.
On the other hand, if guarantees sound too risky, you could offer something just as effective – price matching. When you offer your customers competitive rates for your freight management services, you will get attention. But if you can offer a smaller company price matching or promise to beat your competitors’ rates, your marketing efforts will be even more effective.
Lastly, too many marketing strategies, particularly for freight agents, ignore the importance of customer engagement as a means to market your business. When you respond quickly to customer concerns, participate in online discussions on your website, and genuinely solicit feedback, you give your customers a sense of camaraderie and familiarity that breeds loyalty.
All of these tips amount to very little if you are not using the right tools to give your customers the very best freight logistics service possible. At GlobalTranz we have the freight brokerage technology platform that will help you deliver exceptional customer service to both your new and existing customers – which is critical to maximizing the return on investment from your marketing efforts.
In order to offer price matching, delivery guarantees, and referrals, you are going to need to back up your promises. You’ll find the right tools for outstanding freight management lead generation, data analysis, and customer retention at GlobalTranz. Contact us now for more information.
Becoming a qualified freight agent doesn’t have to take long. There isn’t a four-year program or $60K tuition to pay. All you need is a top-flight freight agent program to build a powerhouse freight agency. Finding the right program depends a lot on how you learn, and what you are looking to get out of your career.
The right freight agent program will have positive answers to the questions below.
1. Does the brokerage have a solid name in the industry?
What’s in a name? In the freight industry, a lot is in the name. A freight agent’s reputation is built on trust and reliability. Shippers can’t risk trusting their important cargo to a fly-by-night operation with no real guarantee that the load will make it to the final destination intact and on time.
When looking for the right freight agent program, run a search on the freight brokerage offering the program. Check them out on the BBB website and make contact with a live person to validate their credibility.
2. How long has the firm been in business?
Longevity is a sign of a healthy freight business that has grown with the times. For example, GlobalTranz has been a leading logistics firm for over a decade and is still growing.
There is also huge business value to teaming up with a freight brokerage that provides administrative and technical support. The freight industry has undergone massive adjustments in the last two decades, and the regulatory and technology landscape will continue to evolve. Having someone to help you navigate those changes is key.
Are you signing on with a program that is on the forefront of the transportation and logistics market? Are you looking at programs that provide the most advanced freight brokerage technology to give you a good running start in your career? These are important questions to ask, and if a freight brokerage has been around a while, it usually means they’re doing something right.
3. Will you have opportunities to grow and launch your own business?
If you pick the wrong freight agent program, you may find they are more interested in making money from you, rather than helping you make money. Look for a freight agent program that offers well-defined onboarding and “jump start” training programs that will enable you to ramp up quickly and feel supported in growing your business.
As you’re evaluating freight agent programs, ask yourself some questions. Does the program you’re considering help you launch your own freight business? Will you eventually be able to enjoy the type of independence and freedom that attracted you to the business in the first place? Does the freight brokerage firm you’re partnering with exude energy and a desire to grow and help you grow?
4. How good is your commission split?
Money isn’t everything, but it is ultimately why we work. What kind of commission split does your freight agent program offer? Are you getting a fair deal on the commission split?
Keep in mind that some splits may not be that bad if you are working with a freight brokerage with a well-known brand that provides you with comprehensive support. In the beginning, it’s important to receive help in areas like:
A solid freight agent program will provide you all of this and then some. It is in their interest to entice you to want to work with them after you complete or leave the program, not force you. If you have to obligate yourself to them in order to get that support, you might want to keep shopping around.
5. Will you be provided with leads to get you started?
The hardest part about starting out in the freight industry is generating leads and building trust. Shippers are often hesitant to take chances with unknown freight agents for valuable loads and cargo.
This is where your choice of freight agent program comes in. Does the program provide you with access to leads to help you get started? Are you going to be part of a network that is deep and broad enough to help you provide the best service to your customers? If the answer is no to these questions, it may take you longer to see profits.
6. How big is the freight brokerage’s carrier network?
If your freight agent program offers you access to their carrier network, but it is small and incomplete, is it really worth it? They may be a purely local or regional outfit with connections where you live and nowhere else.
But if your vision is to build your own national network, choose a program that will give you access to a vast carrier network. If you want to get an edge in your area by providing expedited service to Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, you will want to find a program with a carrier network that’s broad enough to help you reach that goal.
7. Is the brokerage using modern technology and advanced TMS?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly these days, are you working with a brokerage using the most advanced transportation management system (TMS) and modern technology to your advantage? Thanks to advancing technology, the freight industry is booming, especially for third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and independent freight agents and brokers.
In order to compete in this field, you have to have a smart strategy for using these tools to your advantage. There are many different technology firms dedicated to offering generic CRM software that doesn’t meet the unique needs of freight agents. Look for a program that uses advanced software designed specifically for freight agents.
You have choices, but only one will be the right one for you. The GlobalTranz Freight Agent Opportunity Program is built around your needs as a modern freight agent. That means providing you with world-class logistics technology, and experts on the ground to support you while you establish and build equity in your own independent freight agent business.
GlobalTranz’ goal is to help you achieve your dreams of being a top producing freight agent. All of our agents, partners, and trainees benefit from comprehensive administrative support, including: payroll processing, vendor and carrier pay, claim filing, financial reporting and more.
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand the benefits of joining a specific freight agent program. Read about the GlobalTranz freight agent program, and contact us for more information.