Freight Agent & Broker Support System
Freight agents are advised to work with companies that do not have private brokerages. Transport companies with internal brokerages tend to favor their domestic needs when independent agents struggle to manage their resources to satisfy demand. In such situations, such transport companies force internal resources on the agents, which complicate the distribution of revenues and profits. Good brokerage, on the other hand, should encourage the entrepreneurial success of freight agents in several ways, including those explained in this brief.
BEST PRACTICES TO PROMOTE COMMUNICATION
Brokerage Information Platforms and Functional Communication Plans
- Brokers and agents need to establish functional communication plans which include agreeing on the channels of communication to be used.
- Brokers help agents by making real-time updates and necessary information available on their platforms. It is up to agents to leverage the information provided and logistics technology. Brokers can also help maintain the communication by sending cold mails.
- Freight agents need to be equipped with the right technology and communication protocols.
- Nonetheless, as much as having up-to-date communication technology is emphasized to agents, the essential goals are communication and transparency. Technology is just a tool to achieve those goals. It is imperative for agents and shippers to state requirements for every job and for brokers to give real-time updates as loads are being transported.
- Several industry professionals agree on these best practices and assert that it has helped many firms and entrepreneurs in the industry.
Covering Agents' Communication Expenses
- Communication involves many tools to be seamless. Seamless communication must be clear, timely and effective to promote understanding thereby building trust.
- Considerate brokers can foster communication between themselves and agents by paying some of their agents' communication expenses.
- Paying for technology tools used in communication will help agents financially and build solid relationships through value addition. This is, in a way offering excellent customer service by building trust.
- This best practice is agreed on by reputable transport companies and can be found on their blog articles.
BEST PRACTICES TO HELP AGENTS REMARKET
Not Stealing Clients
- Experts affirm that brokers play a part in helping agents retain and remarket to their existing customers. Sometimes, this can be achieved in acts of kindness so small as not stealing clients from agents. In the opinion of trusted transport firms, good brokers should go the extra mile in making legal documents stating that the broker will not take clients from agents.
- Whether from existing clients or new, brokers should not compete with agents for new business deals. When clients return with new jobs to be done, good brokers should only play their parts in fostering the success of the agents and not try to double-cross agents.
- Trustworthy transport companies emphasize this best practice and have success stories to show its effectiveness.
Reducing Expenses for Agents
- To retain clients, sometimes agents need to reduce prices (make loyalty deals) for the clients. Moreover, remarketing is facilitated by deepening relationships with clients by sending emails and messages informing them of new products or the additional value of already purchased items. Clients value agents who make memorable gestures like birthday and congratulatory wishes, small gifts, and phone calls on pressing matters outside work.
- Brokers are expected to also do their bit in reducing expenses for agents. Obviously, this would help customer retention. These expenses cover technology tools, administrative support, and even capital.
- Good brokers should also be responsible in covering their expenses. They should not be greedy in dividing revenue and should split debts 50/50 between the broker and agent. For instance, agents should not be 100% responsible for customers' bad debts. Such debts should be split evenly between the brokers and agents.
- This best practice is agreed on by several transport companies and experts. Agents have also shared stories on the importance of debt sharing.
The best practices compiled were those relevant to the question and agreed upon by several industry professionals. Also, these practices were reported to have several success stories. Reputable blogs of transport companies such as Freight Tec and Sea Rates and other logistics platforms, including Logistics Management, were thoroughly searched and articles compared to extract the data points in this brief. Other reputable business blogs and news outlets such as SmallBizDaily and The Chronicle were also leveraged.