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Keeping your customers top of mind with every decision you make will help drive your business success. This is particularly true in freight shipping, where your process for moving products is nearly as important as the product itself. That simply means your choice of carriers and shipping modes, the price you pay for shipping, and shipment visibility can help create a competitive advantage for your business.

However, freight carrier selection and maintaining strong carrier relationships can be difficult for many shippers. But there is help available by working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider with industry expertise and a vetted freight carrier network.

Here are four areas where a 3PL provider can help you advance your freight shipping and keep your customers satisfied with your products and shipping solutions!

Professional Freight Shipping Services

While shipping prices are important to your bottom line, choosing the right freight shipping carrier will bring more value to your business. Whether your customers are B2B or B2C, it's not uncommon today that the face of your business is your carrier. Afterall, they are the ones delivering the product. Providing customers with great freight shipping experiences shows you care about their business. It also gives them a reason to become a repeat customer.

Choose a reliable freight carrier with services that are convenient not just for you but also for your customers. The drivers are an extension of your business and must be professional, handle the shipments with care and deliver them safely, intact and on time. A top 3PL company should provide you with a large and diverse carrier network — including less than truckload (LTL), full truckload (FTL) and specialty freight — that is vetted and has a proven history of freight shipping success.

Flexible Freight Shipping Options — Including LTL and FTL Freight

The amount you pay — or better yet, how much you save — on shipping should trickle down to your customer, whether you charge them for shipping or include it in the price of your product. A provider of leading 3PL services can help you in that regard and furnish pricing and service options with cost savings in mind.

For example, if you typically use LTL freight for shipping but have a larger one-off shipment, FTL freight might be a more economical choice for you. A 3PL provider can help you make these determinations and regularly evaluate your shipping strategy and recommend the right mode or combination of modes for your specific freight shipping needs. A 3PL can even provide managed transportation services and become the logistics arm of your company.

Freight Shipping Visibility

Not knowing the status of an inbound shipment can disrupt the flow of your business. The same is true for your customers. A 3PL provider's transportation management system (TMS) should include a portal for shipment tracking that can help bridge that gap. A TMS with sophisticated tracking capabilities and alert notifications will keep you informed of important stages in the freight shipping process.

You can set it up to get notified when a shipment is picked up, when it reaches the distribution or consolidation facility, or if it's delayed because of weather or other disruptions. Carriers that use GPS for extra security can also send notifications if a truck goes outside geofencing parameters — kind of like virtual boundaries set up around the shipment's delivery route. In turn, you can use this information to let your customers know when they can expect your shipment.

Filing Freight Claims

Lost, stolen or damaged shipments don't only affect your business. In the end, it's your customers who miss out, and it's up to you to help avoid the unfortunate from happening in the first place. Protective packaging and proper packing can help keep a shipment intact. A 3PL provider can evaluate if you're using the best packing materials for your product to ensure their safety. They'll also advise you to let your customers know the importance of inspecting shipments for damage or missing parts immediately upon delivery.

A 3PL company can also provide you multiple carriers that have equipment and plans in place for safe transport (including geofencing and route optimization) to help mitigate stolen goods. They can also advise you when to use FTL for high-value products to eliminate excess handling that can result in lost shipments.

But if the unfortunate does happen, knowing the proper procedures for filing freight claims and following up with the carriers can help quicken claims resolution. Keeping your customers informed can maintain their trust in your business. Having access to a 3PL provider's TMS will make the freight claims process more manageable and streamlined. Claims documentation and communications are available directly in the TMS, and if you need assistance dealing with carriers, a 3PL can act as a liaison on your behalf.

Leveraging 3PL Services To Help Enhance Customer Relationships

Providing the best support and service possible is key to maintaining strong customer relationships. When looking for a 3PL to work with, keep in mind that its services and support aren't just for the success of your business. A strong 3PL company knows that providing you with excellent services and support — including transportation optimization — helps keep your customers happy, too.

GlobalTranz Is Your Full Service 3PL Provider

GlobalTranz provides top 3PL services including a variety of shipping solutions and best-in-class support from our team of dedicated logistics experts. By working with our network of 85,000+ FTL and 75+ LTL freight carriers across the nation, you're sure to find a solution to fit your company's needs and budget.

Connect with an expert today to see how GlobalTranz can help transform your logistics, help you learn how to reduce freight costs and keep customers happy.