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OVRSEA is a next-generation freight shipping company that uses technology to simplify and optimize international transport for businesses. Their digital platform helps connect and facilitate the relationship between customers who want to ship goods and the transport suppliers who can take the freight. In three years, they’ve grown from providing 10 or 20 quotes a month to serving up more than a thousand.
Brieuc André and his four co-founders started OVRSEA in 2017 as a way to revolutionize transportation. Their web platform enables customers to manage all aspects of transport – from initial quotes to invoices to digital documentation and real-time shipment tracking.
Today, there are more than 50 employees in four areas of the business: operations, sales, tech, and finance/HR. They work together to ship anything that can enter a container or be put on a pallet, but mainly French cosmetics and luxury goods like electronic hardware and shoes. About 50% of what they import and export goes to China, 30% to the U.S. and the remaining 20% is shipped all over the world.
The business grew very quickly from a handful of clients to more than 500, 95% of whom are recurring customers. Efficient, easy-to access information is critical to keep this shipping company that handles a high volume of orders on the right track.
The operations team exchanges emails with suppliers to accomplish things like getting quotes and negotiating rates. The sales team then needs to communicate this information, including timing details, with the clients who are booking the shipments on OVRSEA’s platform.
“We have to exchange and forward a lot of emails to the sales team, so I started looking for a solution to help prevent a lot of emails,” André said. “This was the main thing that made me switch from Gmail to Front – to share emails more efficiently.”
As COO, André was intent on making internal communications as simple and streamlined as possible – from the very beginning. “We were using Front when there were only five or six people in the company,” he said.
All teams have a shared inbox in Front. Messages are automatically assigned to the right person to be handled. The shared inbox helps all teammates have a clear line of sight to all of the quotes and other information about each shipment.
“Once the pricing team works on the quotes and they’re accepted, the operational team can step in next. They see what quotes were sent to the supplier and provide a response to launch the shipments,” said André.
“Since everyone’s communication is in shared inboxes, we can always locate the information if we need it. If someone is away, an order is easy to find by typing in the reference number.”
Orders made through the platform are sent to Front so a record is kept of the entire customer journey. “If something happens, you can tag people to say there’s a problem and the billing team can click on the platform directly to see the file and determine what happened. We go from the platform to Front all the time.”
André says they quickly adopted the assignments feature in Front to give clear owners for messages, and they keep inboxes clean by having rules set up to archive irrelevant emails that come from the platform, such as out-of-office or unsubscribe alerts.
Front also helps reduce the amount of legwork necessary to respond to inquiries on the website through live web chat. “We use an integration that allows us to send automatic emails directly from our platform. This has helped us respond to all the quotes without needing 10 or 20 people to do it manually.”
The sales team has a number of canned responses that answer everything from pesky recruitment agency requests to providing a quick response to a common question from a customer.
Being nimble and quick to reply is extremely important to the OVRSEA team. They use Front to sort through messages from suppliers quickly so they can respond to the client faster. “We promise to answer quotes within two hours and answer clients who write to us via our platform in less than 10 minutes,” said André.
“What our clients love most about us is that we’re a tech company with a good platform and we answer them quickly. Front helps us accomplish this.”
— Brieuc André, COO and Co-founder of OVRSEA
“If we have 100 quotes being processed, we can very clearly see which ones have been answered and which ones need attention. Without Front, we would be sorting through messages to figure out what’s ready to move to the next step and what’s not.”
This system also ensures staff feel empowered and motivated instead of stressed and burdened with the volume of orders. “The shipment industry has a lot of stress. There are problems all the time. With Front, our team knows they’re not missing any information as they work on their tasks. If they have problems, they can find information easily within the program,” said André.
André has been championing Front since OVRSEAS’ earliest days. “Everybody loves the product now and it’s so easy to share messages with people, which is the most important thing in our field. When you join our company, one of the first things you get is a Front account. It’s part of how we operate.”
What's a shared inbox? Why do teams use them for customer communications? Here's what you need to know.