From digital air and sea freight processes to proactive customer service

In conversations with small air and sea freight forwarders about digital customer services, you often hear: Personal support is still our focus – that’s what sets us apart. This statement is understandable at a time when interpersonal contact is gaining importance again in the face of increasingly extensive digital offerings. On the other hand, leading global logistics service providers have long developed customer-centric applications for handling shipments. Mid-sized forwarders are catching up by providing project teams and budgets to develop digital solutions.

This not only meets companies’ new digital expectations of their end customers to make logistics as easy as online banking, but it also creates new business opportunities. With the help of the applications, they can proactively advise customers and expand business together.

Handle complex bookings faster

The benefits of digitizing complex booking processes in air and sea freight are clear: Processes are no longer manually conducted via email, telephone, and fax. Digital applications, whether developed in-house or purchased as Software-as-a-Service, significantly simplify the processing. Information in the two-stage booking process between shipper, forwarder, and carrier is digitally exchanged via secure interfaces. This process optimization enables higher throughput in daily operations. But this is only the beginning of the digital journey.

Access customer-relevant information at the touch of a button

The true potential of digitized processes goes far beyond faster processing. Once the data is digitally available, it can also be accessed by customers at the touch of a button. This is relevant because shippers expect to access important information, such as shipment status immediately. The development in logistics is similar to online banking: What was initially exotic has become normal for end customers. A bank without online banking is no longer an option today. Customers expect to access important information themselves via apps and platforms. There is tremendous potential for a forwarder’s sales team in this. The digitized process not only makes sales teams immediately informative but also advisory. For example, in the area of ESG: With the right data in the background, ESG reporting-relevant data is immediately available – a real advantage for shippers over their customers.

Proactively advise and accompany thanks to digitalization

With this data, reports can also be generated – and automated – time-consuming data queries and evaluations are a thing of the past. The forwarder’s sales team can focus on personally and individually advising customers with the digital data and evaluations – and thus tap into new business opportunities. Management can develop long-term activities for business development from these potential analyses and consolidated reports.

In summary, enriching personal customer care with digital services enables both shippers and forwarders to maintain market access and offers forwarders real opportunities to develop their own customer service.