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How to identify problems inside a freight forwarder

Created on | Last updated on November 24, 2021 at 02:52 pm

Every forwarder business has some touchpoints that need to be improved, however, knowing how to identify problems inside a freight forwarder is not an easy task. Inside a forwarder, there are some pain points that should always be taken into consideration, such as: operational and communication problems, possibilities of optimizing processes, and much more.

The best way to discover where you should put your effort is by talking to your clients. They are the key to your business success. 

Keep your forwarder customers close

As mentioned above, keeping your forwarder clients close is the key to the success of your freight forwarding business. It’s important that you listen to what your customers have to say, and that you always try to deliver what they need.

The tricky thing here is that not every time your client says what they want is actually what they need. This is where you need to be super analytical and try to identify the real problem to provide them a solution that they really need.

That being said, you should always focus on the problem, and for that, you can ask yourself 2 things:

  1. What is behind a complaint of my forwarder customers? 
  2. What motivates some kind of dissatisfaction with my forwarder clients?

Once you are able to identify the real problems your forwarder customers are pointing out you will be able to provide an improvement, and that is one of the biggest challenges faced by freight forwarders. But don’t worry, I’ll walk you through how to identify problems inside a freight forwarder.

How to identify the freight issues my partners are pointing out?

Even though it seems challenging, the only way to identify problems inside your forwarding company is to ASK. 

However, there is a right way to ask, you need to make questions to your freight forwarder partner that have the goal of finding out the problems, and not to hear compliments. 

It shouldn’t be about creating satisfaction research, this is the moment where you need to leave your ego inside and go after answers that will help you to improve your forwarder business. Because there might be something you can’t see as you are not a consumer of the service you are offering. 

So here are 2 questions to help you identify the problems of your freight forwarder:

  1. If you could choose one thing to be improved in our service, what would it be? 
  1. Is there anything you would like to have when you are working with us that you don’t have right now?

One of the ways you can make those questions is via survey, where you can let your forwarder partners answer them anonymously, or if you want to have direct feedback from them you can ask them to have a meeting with you where you will be able to hear what your clients have to say.

How to build your forwarder research process?

Ok, I’ve already told you how to identify problems inside a freight forwarder, which is by asking, now I’ll teach you how to build your research process. 

  1. Make it a routine process

The main thing you should keep in mind is that this process needs to be a routine, you must make the survey inside your freight forwarding company from time to time. Define a timeframe to do your research, and a team member who is going to be in charge of it, someone that will keep the process going once a year, once a semester, or whenever you feel necessary.

  1. Identify the right forwarder partners to answer your questions

Keep in mind when you think a customer has experienced your service enough to provide you a valid opinion. This is super important because you might have some forwarder partners that only exchanged business with your company once, and that can give you the wrong perceptions, either is too good, or too bad. So, define your criteria of service experience and apply them to your survey. 

  1. Choose a tool to help you with your research

Nowadays there are many tools to help you with your surveys, so make sure to choose one of your preferences. You can use simple and free tools, like Google Forms, Cognito Forms, SurveyPlanet, LimeSurvey, and much more.

  1. Let your forwarder partners know the importance of your survey

Answering survey questions is not something your forwarder partners will love to do, that is why you need to make clear for them that this is in their best interest. So let your freight forwarder customer know that by answering the survey they will benefit from a better experience, process optimization, faster delivery, and much more. Let them know the importance of what you are asking them and what you are going to use their feedback for. And sometimes to give them a little push you can offer something in return.

Work on solving the problems inside your freight forwarder

After you have structured your survey and you’ve gotten the answers you were looking for is time to bring your team on board and start working on how to solve problems inside your freight forwarder.

It’s time to brainstorm, work on ideas and solutions to the identified problems, and for that, you must bring the teammates that have closer relationships with your forwarder clients. 

Keep in mind that this needs to be a team effort, working on ideas with only a couple of people will not be much help. And that is because your opinion can not play a major role, your client’s opinion is the one that really matters, so make sure you and your team are aligned to this idea. 

There are many methodologies that can be used to implement your team’s ideas, for example: 

  1. Lightning Decision Jam
  2. Design Sprint
  3. Crazy 8’s

These methodologies will facilitate the ideation and validation process of creating a solution.

Remember to always think about Impact X Effort – measure how your ideas are going to impact the problems you are trying to solve and how much effort you will have to put into it to make it happen. 

Validate your solution’s ideas

Before implementing all the ideas you and your forwarder team had you must validate them, so you need to ask yourself – are my ideas REALLY going to solve the problems? To get this answer there is only one way – talk to your freight forwarder partners. 

So, present the idea, and the concept, to your forwarder partners, and then listen to their perception about how your solution really impacts the main problem. If they think it is going to be helpful you can start working on implementing the solution. But in case your solution doesn’t ring any bells no problem, collect feedback, go back to the ideation process. You didn’t lose time and money working on something that wouldn’t work!

To sum up

Well, I guess now you are ready to make improvements inside your freight forwarding company, right? The most important thing to keep in mind is to be customer-centric, so listen to what your freight forwarder partners and clients have to say and work on their suggestions. 

If you want to know more about how you can build a customer-centric strategy inside your forwarder business click here

Oh and to watch the complete lecture Thais Faria, Parnity’s Head of Product gave about identifying problems inside a freight forwarder watch the video below.