Freight agents don’t physically hand their customers a product, and in many cases they don’t even get the chance to meet them face to face, but that doesn’t make their customer service any less important. In the shipping industry, thoughtfully crafted customer service is often the difference between a loyal clientele and constant, frustrating turnover.
There are many ways to build the type of customer service that keeps carriers and shippers coming back time and again, but several best practices pop up as common themes in almost any good strategic plan. Here are 5 customer service tips every freight agent should know:
Communicate across various channels — with consistency.
Freight agents now have more communication options than ever before — ranging from old favorites like the phone to online opportunities such as email, blogs and LinkedIn. All of these have their time and place, but remember that communicating through a variety of tools calls for consistency of tone, message and wording.
Develop a reputation as a straight shooter.
Whether you’re talking about your background, your pricing or your procedure, don’t back away from the truth. Shippers and carriers are looking for a freight agent who can be trusted — and they’ll be loyal once they find the right person.
Don’t let one customer rule your world.
It’s dangerous when too many of a freight agent’s eggs are in one customer’s basket. It’s a situation that leads to desperate, unwise decisions made solely to prevent losing business.
Obviously keeping customers happy is important, but not if the relationship is unhealthy. The broader a freight agent’s roster of accounts, the easier it is to provide respect-based customer service.
Make it clear that you’re an authority on freight shipping.
It’s one thing to put in the time and effort to become a freight agent who really knows his or her stuff. It’s also important to make sure your customers understand the depth of your experience, knowledge and abilities — so they can leverage those assets to improve their business operations.
Once there’s mutual trust, seek referrals with confidence.
When the customer is straightforward about what it wants and the freight agent begins providing important services with honesty and integrity, it’s a beautiful thing. Mutual trust breeds a relationship in which questions can flow freely.
More specifically, trust presents excellent opportunities for freight agents to ask existing customers to refer potential customers. It doesn’t hurt to ask — especially if recent business between the two parties has gone smoothly.
With these customer service best practices in place, freight agents are much more likely to achieve the long-term success that each one of them strives for.