In freight forwarding, you are entrusting your products to be delivered by a shipper. Question is: “Do you know this shipping company so well that you won’t be worrying much about the consignment?” Take note that you need a good guarantee that the packages will be in safe hands. In this article, we will enlighten you and hopefully ease your burdens about freight forwarding by showing you the do’s and don’ts of this service.
1. Don’t rush. Do get to know the shipping vendor well.
Don’t be content in just checking out the company’s website, as they more than likely will only post information beneficial to their business. However, one good source of information you can get from there is the number of years they have been operating. One year of experience is never enough to earn your confidence in them; three would be more acceptable.
Start researching for customer reviews posted on the Internet in online community forums, Facebook pages, and other sites where comments can be examined. These are real and actual testimonies which have value.
Then ask your acquaintances, friends, and relatives if this company can be trusted or not, and how good or bad their experience with it was to get a good grasp and understanding about the performance of the freight-forwarding company.
Also, call the company and study the customer service you receive on the phone. Listen intently how the personnel sound: inviting or nonchalant. If the person sounds knowledgeable and courteous, this is a positive sign that the company provides good customer service. The initial impression is most of the time right. If the telephone rings ten times and the call is not attended, don’t proceed in contacting them any further. You know their silence means: “We are not worthy of your trust.”
2. Don’t be ignorant. Do check the services they offer.
Ask whether they have tracking, logistics, and commanding systems to dispatch their vehicles and monitor the consignments. A good freight forwarder will offer services equipped with highly efficient technologies such as GPS (Global Positioning System), automated systems to record all the statuses and locations of the shipments and the profiles of their customers, and a good customer support group who can accommodate the questions of customers as necessary, or almost 24/7.
3. Don’t be apathetic. Do know your rights as a customer.
In shipping services, often there’s a term of agreement sheet that you need to sign before the transaction will be settled. Read the policies as these will be the basis of your rights. When this paper is not provided, ask them to enumerate the privileges and returns you will get in case there are anticipated slip-ups in their service. Common examples are refunds and freebies. Make sure you get them to be committed and responsible in writing for possible damages.
4. Do worry less about the pricing and more about the quality of service.
If your belongings are at stake, you will be better off dealing with a more expensive but safe company. You have already spent a considerable amount of money purchasing your goods, and now you should be equally considerate in sending them assuredly to the right people, either for personal or business reasons. Cost of quality and your conscience will come knocking at your door when you find out later that the items have incurred damages, spoilages, etc. or that the delivery did not come on time when you made a deal with a cheap freight forwarder.
5. Don’t take the the freight forwarder’s word for it that your shipment has arrived. Do call or contact your business partner, family, friend, client, etc. and ask whether or not they received the package in good condition, if you aren’t there to receive it yourself.
After checking the status of delivery with the company, also check the items’ condition with the recipient. They can best tell this as they are the ones who will open the boxes. For any problems, call the service company immediately and let them know so you can get the rightful compensation.
Freight forwarding is a complex task, and you are your best advocate, so don’t be afraid to take charge. As companies should take accountability for sending your packages, on your end, you should also be dutiful in ensuring they are following good service practices on theirs, before turning your possessions over to them.
Natalie Montes is an alumna from San Beda College of Alabang, a former marketing assistant and a 23 year old freelance writer. She is into almost all types of Music, especially the Ballad and Old Love songs. She also has a passion in Singing and Scrap Booking. Follow her escapades on her Twitter.