Whether you are a large business or individual interacting online, you want to know your cargo shipments are in the hands of persons working in your best interest. For many, the absence of alternatives (having large fleets on dedicated routes) makes the need – and the service – essential – and the level of service can enhance or damage your brand.

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With a variety of service providers offering a range of different service configurations, how do you choose the right service for you and your customers? We explore key factors and dimensions to help you make the right choice.

This need is especially in situations where your cargo is coming from or going overseas – there’s a lot that can happen to it in transit. Shipment damages, delays, wrong destinations, poor packaging, wrong classification and overcharges at Customs – many factors can impact on your shipments, their costs and the service experiences, with potentially damaging impacts on your reputation and your brand.

Today’s customers not only ship in products from online purchases, but also ship out orders to customers throughout the globe. Some inbound cargo they need immediately in good working order, and are willing to pay for that value, while other purchases are not urgent and can be shipped at a more leisurely (and cheaper) option to reduce overall spend.

Today there is an array of various couriers, express consignment cargo operators and service providers – with a range of service configurations – which makes the task of choosing the right service difficult, and maybe even a little daunting. Some try one service (then another, then another)… others defer to recommendations within their network, yet others do their due diligence and assimilate reviews, tests and other available information.

We recognize your time is valuable, and to help you with this important dimension of your commerce, we answer the question what should you look for in making the choice of an overseas shipment / courier service provider?

Let’s recognize that different persons look for different things in a service provider. Some are more concerned with the service effectiveness and efficiencies, others with the standards of customer service, and yet others with prices and transaction costs. And many service providers, it seems, model their operations to satisfy one area more than the others, based on their targeted markets being served.

This service configuration is not a zero-sum game, and begs the question we constantly ask – why can’t a customer have all three? Today, customers deserve not only efficient and effective service, but delightful customer service and all at the greatest value configurations to suit their needs. This has always been the operating basis of the shipping and supply chain industry.

So what factors do we look for? Many commentors have identified a range of factors that you should pay attention to – covering a host of things that some may find easy to identify and others might see as impossible to track before being served. We have clustered the factors into 2 simple areas for your consideration.

Shipment Service

Speed. This relates to the speed, accuracy and safety with which shipments are received, processed, forwarded and managed throughout its journey. How long after the shipments arrive at your courier’s destination does it take to land in your country? How quickly are these processed through port & customs? How long after that does it take to get to your door or available for collection? Although not all these factors are within your service provider’s control, those areas that they can control can be run effectively, and experienced operators know the tips and techniques to expedite shipments as needed.

Options. If you purchase from, or ship to (or both) different countries throughout the world, you need to determine whether your courier can meet the needs seamlessly. You don’t want to have to use different couriers in the routine course of moving cargo. As well, the ability of the service provider to offer different options gives you the ability to select the right shipping for your needs – based on individual shipments. Air freight is expensive, and while useful and convenient, it may not always be right for your shipment needs. A service provider can offer the options and provide the advice to ensure your needs are met for each shipment.

Risk Mitigation. Depending on the value of your shipments, access to insurance and other supporting components that help minimize the risk of loss to you and/or your customer. With this in place, you gain the confidence that you are covered for lost or damaged cargo, and more importantly recover your expenditure or reputation quickly and effectively.

Customer care, attitude and support

Open communication. It may well seem that this is an area which people love to hate. Complaints about shipping time, accuracy and damages seem secondary to complaints about poor customer service and attitudes. From the feeling about being ignored, not honoring service terms or requests, to being overcharged and/or exploited… there are many dimensions at play in logistics which, if not managed well, can give rise to customer dissatisfaction. To demonstrate care, a service provider would give you access to, and incorporate your information, as and when needed.

From a shipment calculator before you decide to shop & ship, to selection of shipping options and the ability to customize your shipping based on needs, to shipment tracking and timely updates available to you, and being able to talk to a human – are ways that service providers can demonstrate their care and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Operations and response quality. You want to consider how professional the service provider is. How they respond to your concerns, or those of your customers, can reinforce or undermine confidence, and either give you peace of mind or cause for worry. Be sure that whoever you select gives you the confidence that your shipments, and concerns are in good hands.

Price minimization and cost savings. This is a prominent and diverse factor to consider. Some service providers pride themselves on lowest rates, claiming others are overcharging, while others may prove more expensive and, in their defense, assert that you get what you pay for. We understand that what customers see as important is a different conversation. As an individual you want to be treated with respect, dignity and care as a human being, and as a customer you want to get the best value for cost – not necessarily the lowest price but definitely value for money. This is why we bring our decades of experience and entire network to provide you with shipping options that suit your needs. AND, ensure your every concern is acknowledged and attended to.

The configuration options are many, and customers today need to know not only that they have access to the information that would help them make the right decision, but also that a service provider understands their needs per shipment and has the commitment, and the care, to respond to their inquiries individually.

It is for this reason that GCM Air & Maritime prides itself on providing integrated shipping solutions to meet your business and individual needs. Air & maritime commercial cargo, GCM Express skybox services, barrels & boxed shipments, freight and insurance are available to anyone seeking to ship cargo to/from their destinations of choice – based on individual shipments. It is also why you can access a range of customer support – shopping sites, proxy credit card purchases, shipping calculators, automated customer sign-up and order tracking… all to provide you with the access, confidence and comfort of knowing your shipments are in good hands.

It is why GCMAM continues to be the preferred partners in global trade.


Comment or feedback on this article. Email us info@gcmamtt.com

The views expressed in this article represent the views and opinions of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of GCM Air & Maritime Customs Brokerage Co. Ltd. (GCMAMTT). This is made available for informational and educational purposes only. GCMAMTT does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the content contained herein. GCMAMTT does not warrant the performance, effectiveness or applicability of any sites listed or linked to in any content. GCMAMTT hereby disclaims any and all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of this content, which is provided as is, and without warranties.

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