How to Use Technology to Improve the Carrier Experience
Finding and keeping good carriers is no small feat in today’s transportation market. In today's tight capacity market, how can shippers and brokers leverage technology to improve their carriers' experiences? How can they improve the relationships that benefit all sides of the shipping equation?
For a simple business transaction, how much does the experience matter to carriers?
Why a carrier's experience DOES matter
Everyone knows that truck and driver capacity are both tight — very tight. With a driver shortage and pandemic-worsened equipment shortages, that doesn’t look to change any time soon.
In some ways, the importance of your carrier’s experience comes down to simple laws of supply and demand. In a tight capacity market, carriers have more leverage. Simply put, you’ll have a harder time finding someone to take your load than carriers are having finding loads to take.
Additionally, onboarding new carriers can be expensive and takes time. By building relationships with carriers, you avoid the trouble and costs of onboarding.
Plus, everyone benefits from a positive relationship. When you’ve built rapport, a carrier is much more likely to go above and beyond when the circumstances require it. In today’s freight market, there’s no understating how important that can be.
How technology can improve the experience
There's no substitute for great interpersonal relationships between carrier reps and carriers, but there are plenty of ways that shippers and brokers can use technology to make sure their carriers have the best experience possible.
Onboarding manually involves a lot of work on both sides. Automated onboarding solutions can help speed up the process and reduce human error during the transmission of information. Companies like RMIS and MyCarrierPackets make collecting pertinent data from carriers and inputting it into your systems faster and easier for both you and your carriers.
Digital freight matching
Digital freight matching makes it easier for shippers and brokers to offer freight their carriers actually want and need. By offering targeted freight, you don't waste your carriers' time and signal to them that you're a partner they want to build a relationship with and trust.
At FreightFriend, we've seen this proven time and time again. By offering a tailored opportunity, a client was recently able to dedicate freight for an important customer with a top carrier they previously didn't have a relationship with. Instead of blasting their carriers with generic loads, they were able to open doors with a targeted shipment, eventually allowing them to book additional loads and lanes with that same carrier.
Making a phone call or shooting off an email to try to keep track of drivers and the loads they’re carrying can get tedious. A bi-direction flow of real-time tracking information eliminates much of the need for those types of interactions. Depending on the level of visibility you need for success, intensive solutions like project44 or other tracking platforms can integrate with your TMS so you know the status of your load in real time.
Faster, easier payment options
One of the best — and most overlooked — ways to maintain good rapport with carriers is to make it fast and easy for them to get paid through digital freight payments. There are all kinds of technologies to help track POD, request final advances, and make final payments. Find one that includes all the parts you need like HubTek or use piecemeal systems like PayCargo to get carriers paid promptly.
Whenever possible, it’s ideal to meet carriers where they’re at, technologically speaking. If you can avoid inundating new carriers with new technologies that they have to implement just for you, you’ll save everyone on both ends a lot of time and trouble.