Conversations about staying competitive in the wake of digitization are at the forefront of discussions for many traditional freight forwarders, but it is also vital to create strategies to nurture current relationships with customers as well.
Strong relationships with your current customers can help reduce churn, increase referrals, and aid sales enablement through strong customer testimonials. Placing a focus on continued strategies to foster the strength of your relationship with customers will increase the overall success of your forwarding company.
Build Customer Loyalty
Building strong customer loyalty is all about taking their experience with your company up a level and building trust – from start to finish. Understanding the difference between customer experience and customer service is the first way to level up.
Customer experience is about making customers’ lives easier by reducing manual touchpoints and improving every interaction the customer has with your company. This does not mean removing customer service from the equation. It means shifting the work and service you are providing toward value-added jobs (like strategy and personalized service), and away from manual administrative work that digital solutions can automate.
Shipment visibility access and exception transparency both add heightened levels of trust with your customers and are a direct result of prioritizing digital customer experience solutions. As a leading desire of shippers, shipment visibility access to your customers can now be 24/7 with live data at the touch of your customer’s fingertips. Investing in solutions with customer facing dashboards for shipment progress and exception notifications will save your team time while giving customers control and insight over their supply chain.
Strategy enablement is another loyalty-strengthening benefit of digital customer experience software. Offer solutions that allow your customers to have independent access to shipment data and the ability to customize their own reporting in the same place. This will give them the tools they need to analyze historical data and make resulting decisions for future shipments through your team. If your customers trust that you have their logistics and supply chain success as one of your top priorities, they will continue to want your team to manage their shipments.
Offer Unmatchable Customer Support
As a result of implementing a customer-facing shipment dashboard, your team can use their time to offer more valuable and elevated support. From personalized attention, scheduled goal alignment meetings, and technology support, your team will gain more value to your customers than when the main interactions revolved around the location of their goods.
Implement quarterly business reviews (QBR) with your customers to encourage their continued business with your team, to highlight your value, to strategize the next quarter, and to take note of any concerns for future improvements. Meetings like these for continued alignment will demonstrate that you are offering more than the service of managing the movement of their shipments – you are a partner dedicated to their success.
In addition to the automation and productivity you are adding with digital customer experience solutions, you are also adding the need for a concerted effort to get your customers actually using the new technology. Some of that extra time given back to your team should be used to facilitate a clean transition to using dashboards, new communication methods, etc. Or you should partner with a digital solution that provides direct support for your customers as well (FAQs, tutorial videos, instructional sessions, and more). Proactively helping customers before there are any hiccups with technology will show them you are there to make the process as easy as possible.
Create an outline of your main support tactics and share it with all your new customers. By providing a clear point of reference, you can ensure they reach out for any problems and get a chance to fully realize the value of partnering with your company.
Provide Superior Technology
Digital solutions and their relation to customer experience and support have already been highlighted, but there is also an abundance of software to level up your internal operations for an increase in customer satisfaction.
A recent study surveying 100 shippers found that 46% had stopped working with a freight forwarder because another offered better technology, while 83% were willing to pay more for a forwarder with better technology and visibility. Look for the solutions that can make the biggest impact on your business and add them to your tech stack.
The same shipper survey also ranked “shipment visibility/track and trace” as the most important, with online quotes and document management following close behind. If you have provided your customers visibility through a customer-facing dashboard, you can set your sights on starting to add more solutions to the stack.
The focus should be on what solutions will add automation that will provide the greatest levels of internal productivity for a heightened customer experience. Document management (automation of sharing, online access, and requesting), instant or inline quoting, online invoicing, and analytics access are all impactful areas to strive to reduce manual effort and errors.
Work with digital partners that prioritize change management and constant innovation in each of these areas so you don’t have to. When your customers are sure they are working with a freight forwarder who is always at the head of the pack in innovation and digitization, they will trust their shipments are being managed in the best way possible.
Frighteningly Good Results
Use these tips to take advantage of strengthening your business with not only new prospects, but by bolstering relationships with the customers you already have.
Don’t scare your customers away. Use your people, your processes, and your technology to show your customers that their shipments are safe with your team.