5 ways logistics companies use Front

Sherene Arjani

Sherene Arjani,

Product Marketer at Front

17 April 20200 min read

For logistics service providers, every missed email is a missed opportunity—and potentially lost revenue.

Learn how leading logistics companies are using Front to scale their operations

Email is mission-critical to logistics companies. They rely on it to communicate with their customers, agents, and carriers. ​​For logistics service providers, every missed email is a missed opportunity — and potentially lost revenue.

That’s why leading logistics companies depend on Front to manage their email. Here’s how ASAP Expediting & Logistics, Freightworks Transportation & Logistics, Platinum Cargo Logistics, Inc., and Logistic Dynamics, Inc. use Front to keep up with demand and scale their operations, while maintaining the excellent customer service they’re known for.

1. Move faster on time-critical shipments

ASAP Expediting & Logistics is a premium expediting and logistics firm that prides itself on its service-oriented mindset — and their customers love them for it. They specialize in same-day and next-day transportation, moving anything their clients need, as efficiently as possible. That “anything” has included shipments as large as a jet engine, as important as a human heart, and even as small as paper cups. “If it’s important to our client, then it’s important to us. We handle it all,” said Derek Banks, Business Director.

Shared mailboxes were a drain on productivity

Before they found Front, ASAP used shared mailboxes in Microsoft Outlook to manually route requests to the first available agent alongside a separate chat service. Customers would send an email to a shared mailbox (e.g. dispatch@). The first available agent would claim it, then move it to their personal inbox to work on the job. From there, they would forward, BCC, or ping colleagues on chat whenever they needed assistance or input.

Inevitably, when they needed to quickly update the rest of the team or bring another teammate up to speed on a time-critical issue, the system broke down.

“It was a lot of back and forth and a lot of extra steps, but we made it happen,” Derek said. “When you needed more than one person involved, it was very difficult. It was causing us to slow down, and it was hindering our growth as a company.”

Faster responses, happier customers

With Front, they work more efficiently while delivering a superior customer experience. “Front has really streamlined everything,” Derek said.

When a new job comes into their shared inbox in Front, everyone on the team can see who is responding, the job’s current status, and exactly what needs to happen next.

They can easily loop in teammates in other departments on a need-to-know basis and can work together on emails with internal-only comments. Agents are no longer shouting across the room to let the team know they’re handling a request.

“We pretty much answer everyone within two minutes or less,” Derek said. (And yes, they do take their name literally!)

Front has been a godsend to our organization and everything that we do. It’s definitely enabling us to operate at a higher capacity.

Derek Banks, Business Director, ASAP Expediting & Logistics

2. Bring accountability to high-volume inboxes (and avoid double work)

Freightworks Transportation & Logistics is a family-owned, asset-based motor carrier that provides package truckload transportation services to the life sciences, food, coatings and chemical industries in North America.

High email volume made inboxes a mess

Prior to finding Front, they used Google Groups to triage over 25,000 incoming emails a month. Emails either got trapped in someone’s personal inbox, or two people would reply, meaning the team wasted time on work that was already done.

“With that old system, everybody got the message. If there were 10 people in the group, it went to 10 individual inboxes,” Director of Customer Service, Load Planning, and IT Jordan Kidd said. “It was impossible to know if someone handled it or if they didn’t reply all. Quite frankly, it was a mess.”

Shared inboxes with accountability built-in

With Front, the entire team has a shared view of every inbound email. They can assign it to the appropriate teammate or claim it themselves, so there’s clear ownership on every conversation.

“With Front, the customer has a single point of contact, but on our side we know exactly who is working on what and when it’s done,” Jordan said.

3. Ensure seamless handoffs between shifts

Like most logistics service providers, Freightworks operates with a this-world-never-sleeps mentality — and they’ve seen almost 100 percent growth over the last few years. On top of that, they remain committed to an unprecedented level of customer service.

They rely on support agents across rotating time shifts to provide 24/7 customer support. Prior to Front, when one shift ended and the next began, a support agent would take over a job with little to no context about what had transpired in the previous few hours. Often, customers wouldn’t get an answer until the next morning. For global teams, this problem is only compounded.

Hassle-free hand-offs

With Front, internal hand-offs between shifts have been pain-free for Freightworks. When the first shift leaves for the day, any response to their email automatically goes straight to the shared team inbox for the next shift to take over. Every support agent has the context they need to jump right into an ongoing conversation. Automatic routing ensures that no customer message is ever left withering away in a private inbox.

With Front, we’ve been able to do more with fewer employees. It allows us to do things we never could have done before.

Jordan Kidd, Director of Customer Service, Load Planning, and IT

4. Give customers real-time updates on shipment activity

Platinum Cargo is a leading provider of logistics services. Their agents use Front to schedule reminders on email threads, so they can provide timely updates on shipments — so much so that their customers are often “wowed,” according to Sean Conrad, Business Development.

Say an agent is working on a shipment that will take 2 days to get to South Florida. He or she can snooze that particular chain for 24 hours and have that message pop back up in their inbox automatically, so they are reminded to check on the order and provide the customer with an update on the shipment. Front makes it easy for agents to proactively update customers, so they always feel taken care of and in the loop.

Front has also enabled Platinum Cargo to cut down their initial response time on requests:

Oftentimes, it’s such a competitive industry that the first to respond gets the shipment. And from that standpoint, Front has been phenomenal.

Sean Conrad, Business Development, Platinum Cargo

5. Automate the activities that slow you down

Logistic Dynamics, Inc. (LDI) is one of the fastest-growing logistics providers in North America. Front helps LDI scale their operations across thousands of customers, agents, and carrier parters to keep up with growing demand.

“Once we reached a certain level of business, it was clear we needed something like Front,” Carrier and Agent Support Manager Andrew Whipple III said.

Automation in Front has been critical to LDI’s growth. “It’s been key as we’ve scaled,” Andrew said. “We’ve set up rules in Front to automate things that were just slowing us down before.”

For example, if an email has been sitting without a reply for 10 minutes, LDI uses automated rules in Front to automatically escalate that message into a High Priority inbox, with a “urgent” label, so someone can jump on it immediately.

Rather than manually triaging high volume inboxes, LDI has also set rules to automate the routing of specific emails so they land directly in the inbox of the exact person who needs to work on them. That means that agents are no longer spending time on high-frequency, low-effort tasks like sorting through emails.

Best of all, each department can customize Front’s rules to match their exact needs. “Part of the genius of Front is in its flexibility,” Andrew said. In some cases, like for the Accounts Payable team, that’s as simple as setting a rule to auto-archive emails after a set period of 3 weeks to make the burden of closing out new invoices easier on the finance team.

Written by Sherene Arjani

Originally Published: 17 April 2020

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