By JP Wiggins, VP of Logistics at 3G
We talked to top brokers about getting/keeping customers, here is what they said.
In today’s world, shippers are scrambling to find carrier capacity and affordably move their products. This includes relying on all available avenues, often leading to freight brokers and 3PLs. However, the freight brokerage space is rife with competition, and shippers have many options available. A recent report expects the US freight brokerage market to jump from 1.164 billion to 13.78 billion by 2028, with 17,000 existing players already in the market.
So how can freight brokers stand out from everyone else? How can they achieve their long-term objectives and broker more shipments for more customers? How can they not only win repeat business but ultimately become the preferred broker for their shipping customers?
We talked to both shippers and brokers to get their take. Keep reading to see what they said were the three tips for brokers to gain and keep customers.
When shippers need to move a load, they want to get a carrier locked in ASAP. And when shippers call a broker, they expect to have a quote back in minutes. Not hours, and certainly not days. While hours or days may have been commonplace in the past, they certainly aren’t the norm now. Gathering a quote can no longer be a manual process and needs to be automated.
The brokers that keep winning new customers and hang on to their existing ones use technology to deliver accurate quotes. This includes checking load cost history, negotiated carrier rates, load boards, and carrier capacity tools like Parade.ai or Macropoint from a single screen. With all these available tools, brokers can quickly provide an accurate quote that resembles a guarantee. This boosts brokers’ acceptance rates and helps keep quotes consistent with actual costs. After shippers receive fast, accurate quotes a few times, they recognize a broker’s reliability and are more likely to continue coming back for more shipments.
Carrier Network Strength
Why do shippers turn to brokers? They need access to more carriers. It’s that simple. The way a freight brokerage adds value and stands out is by having relationships with reliable smaller carriers in addition to the national providers. Any shipper can contract with large national carriers, but finding, vetting, and contracting with smaller carriers requires more time and resources than shippers typically have available. Relationships with both national and small, regional providers are the way successful brokerages prove their worth. This type of carrier network model maximizes capacity potential and delivers scalability to use carriers as needed, compared to the limited capacity and cost-savings of national carrier options.
While the breadth of carriers is important, carrier reliability and management are also huge factors in earning new and repeat business. From a shipper’s perspective, the broker messes up when the carrier messes up. Brokers need to ensure carriers are on time, insured, and have a track record of success. Thankfully, with today’s technology, brokers easily integrate with carriers and load boards to find capacity while also integrating with carrier onboarding apps like RMIS, SaferWatch, CarrierWatch, and more to simplify the vetting process. Successful brokers also use software that integrates with visibility tools like Project44 and others. These best practices give brokers the trifecta for carrier network optimization by having a robust set of carrier options, a safety net of dependability, and visibility into load timelines.
Some shippers may be on the brink of needing their own software, like TMS, but they are still determining if it’s worth the money or dedicating the resources to implement. Successful brokers share their technology with shippers in a “managed technologies” business model. The most efficient version of this is the use of customer portals that allow shippers to input orders, select carriers, and execute the shipment from a single, customer-branded portal.
This process takes broker personnel completely out of the interaction. The shipper selects from negotiated carrier rates, books a load, and tracks their shipment. All without any input from brokerage staff. This type of reliance on broker technology means shippers continue coming back for more bookings, and delivers shipment automation at scale.
Become the Preferred Broker for Your Shippers
Are you a broker that’s trying to gain and keep growing your customer base? How many of these best practices are you using? Do you think you are your customer’s preferred freight brokerage? If not, which of these tips do you think are easiest to tackle first?
With the right technology, you can deliver automation, velocity, and maximum opportunities for your shippers to book the most affordable loads with your carriers. Perfect your processes to ensure repeat business so your customers will depend on your technology and workflows (which means they rely on you!) to deliver best-in-class service that they can't find anywhere else.
Want to see how easy it is to find carriers with dynamic freight broker software? Watch our demo video on carrier sourcing.