Delivering the On-demand Experience that Customers Expect

Building upon their personal experience while online shopping, customers now expect information on-demand from their forwarder. They want to access information and book shipments online. Customers also want value. They want to compare cost versus transit time estimates at-a-glance to get the best price. They want to book a shipment easily or use business rules that automatically select the best option. In addition, today’s customers are not bound to their desktop and want to book shipments or check rates from mobile-enabled devices.

Customers also want visibility. They expect real-time tracking throughout the shipment lifecycle through to the point-of-delivery. Visibility also includes access to their data and documents such as bills of lading. Customers also want to know when their shipments have cleared customs or if an exception has occurred. They want to know that forwarders are taking the necessary steps needed for compliance. Also, if a shipment delay occurs, customers want to know the shipment status so they can adjust labor resources and notify their own clients of the estimated time of arrival.

Forwarders who can make it easy for customers to find the best rates and book shipments need to be smart about how they deploy these services. The right technology should present the forwarder’s brand as the face behind the technology. As a result, the forwarder maintains control of the interaction while providing customers with a premiere experience.

The questions below are geared to gauge how your existing technology is servicing your client base. Use these questions to help home-in on any points where improvements or changes could be made.

  • Online rating tools: Can customers evaluate rates and service times and book online?
  • Access to information: Does your web-based portal or visibility tool allow customers to easily search shipments, manage documents, and view cargo statuses?
  • Real-time visibility: Does your technology allow customers to see real-time shipment status online or do you require them to contact you?
  • Branding: Does your online portal show your customers your brand and logo?
  • Integration: Does your technology easily integrate or bolt-on to your current platforms?

The freight forwarding world is changing, and digitization of the customer experience is critical to thrive in the future. Customers are demanding self-service solutions, better control over their shipments and documents, and real-time visibility. Digitization provides an excellent opportunity for forwarders to streamline the booking and tracking processes to reduce costs, provide a better customer experience, and focus resources on higher value customer activities.

Today’s digital customer experience portals can be added to existing back-office solutions to jump start the process to becoming a fully digital forwarding operation. It is those forwarders that can rapidly deliver a premiere customer-facing self-service solution that are better positioned to excel in a competitive environment.

How Descartes Can Help

No matter the size of your freight forwarding operations, Descartes can help you better compete. It is our domain expertise and understanding of the complex freight forwarder and customs brokers market that sets us apart. Our solutions enable large and small organizations to take advantage of robust capabilities for bookings, security filings, customs entries, multimodal shipment management, rating, quoting, and fiscal management.

Descartes’ web-based, white-labelled online customer visibility portal can help you keep your client base well-informed to make critical supply chain decisions and can easily bolt-on to existing platforms. Contact us to learn how Descartes can help you digitize and offer world-class customer-facing enablement.

Success Story

Hellman Worldwide Logistics


Buyer's Guide: Digital Rate Management

Filled with easy-to-understand practical take-aways, this piece focuses on opportunities for LSPs to better manage rates and enable on-demand customer booking and rating.


Digital Rate Management

Provide customer self-service rating, increase revenue and refocus resources on higher-value services


Transportation & Logistics