I have been observing the transport industry for over 13 years. Unfortunately, I have noticed that not only customer service quality, but also the basic rules of safety are insufficient in a large part of the industry. I am a graduate of Logistics and Quality Management. From the beginning of my career I have combined these two areas and I consider them inseparable. Already in 2011 I implemented the Quality Management System according to ISO 9001:2015, because I believe that a well-implemented QMS is the basis for the success of every company.
So what underlies the success of a shipping company?
- SUPPLIER QUALIFICATION AND EVALUATION
You cannot provide high-quality services without the appropriate qualifications of suppliers. How should you qualify suppliers in freight forwarding?
All new suppliers should be carefully verified. Verification should include:
– Duration of existence on the market,
– Company size,
– Opinions of other partners,
– Validity of incorporation documents,
– Type and validity of the transport license,
– Scope of insurance policy – I see the highest number of shortcomings here. Unfortunately, carriers are often not fully aware of the scope of their policy. There are insurance policies that impose the obligation to park only on guarded parking lots that are fenced, monitored, lit and feature an entrance barrier. There are very few such parking lots. If goods are stolen in such a location, we can forget about compensation paid under such a policy.
The beginning of cooperation with a specific subcontractor itself is not enough. Periodic evaluation of suppliers is very important, and should take into account the timeliness of deliveries, communication, timeliness of document delivery, failure rate, compliance with individual requirements, etc.
Only in this way the base of subcontractors is a solid foundation and competitive advantage in freight forwarding.
- HIGH QUALITY OF CUSTOMER SERVICE
Unfortunately, I often observe that a high quality of customer service is understood merely as being nice during a telephone conversation. However, quality in transport is much more.
What does a customer expect?
– above all, a quick response to their demand or, unfortunately, I should say a response to their demand at all! I have often seen a situation where customers have complained about the lack of any response from a forwarding company to their request. After a telephone call, after 2 days, the customer learned that the request had been analysed and unfortunately transport was impossible. How about informing the customer about it? Let’s not forget that on the other side of the monitor there is someone who would like to know if their request has been read. Therefore, it should be elementary to quickly answer the customer that the request has been read and is being checked.
– reliable information on the order status.
Remember that the transported goods are the property of a customer, who should be informed about various stages of transport. “The goods have been loaded”, “the goods will arrive on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.”, “the goods have been unloaded” are necessary information to be provided to the ordering party, otherwise even timely service may quickly appear unattractive compared to enterprises that also provide the relevant information.
– continuing contact with the person responsible for completing the transport
Transports are carried out 24 hours a day. If unloading is planned in the evening, the freight forwarder must be available on the phone. Problems with communication or related to changes in the quantity of transported goods are common at loading/unloading points. If the person responsible in such a situation does not answer the phone, it will most likely disappoint the customer and encourage them to take their business elsewhere.
Standardisation is the basis of executive processes. The development and implementation of defined rules allows you to maintain a constant level of quality at every stage of business.
It shows employees a specific path of action, therefore minimising adverse effects.
A clearly defined manner of operation, order in documentation, straightforward instructions or checklists underlie a well-managed company.
Last, but not least: a staff well trained in both hard and soft skills is one of the most important factors in a company. Lack of knowledge of legal regulations, for example, may cost the company a lot, and even the best news communicated by a grumpy representative will not encourage further contact.
Let’s take care of knowledge and awareness of our employees, so that they properly represent our company.
Naturally, there are many more factors affecting the success of a forwarding company, such as strategy or investments, but I wanted to focus on the above mentioned, as every day I observe how important, yet much underestimated they are.
Let’s ensure reliable service providers, clear procedures, knowledge and awareness of staff as well as the right quality of customer service, and we will see an increase in satisfied customers and referred customers, which will automatically ensure the success of our business.