White Glove Services: When It's Time to Call In a Specialist
Q: When and why would someone need a special commodities carrier?
A: Special commodities carriers are experts at performing complex, often delicate, moves that most freight carriers would not typically handle.
Customers that utilize special commodities carriers expect an extra level of care, professionalism, and quality of service. Special commodities carriers are selected when the transport of goods requires services beyond standard, dock-to-dock transportation. Specialized equipment such as pads, straps, bars, and liftgates are standard equipment for specialty van line carriers. Drivers of full-service van line carriers routinely perform "on day, on time," white glove inside deliveries of the goods, unpack, set into place, and debris removal.
Industries such as medical, telecommunication, electronics, and tradeshows often use the services of specialty carriers because the shipments are historically high in value and time sensitive.
Q: What should someone look for when evaluating carriers?
A: Look for specialty carriers that are asset-based that have the equipment features necessary to accommodate the movement of the type of cargo. Choosing an asset-based transportation provider gives the customer a direct line of communication to the team members planning and arranging the transportation of their shipment. In the current market conditions, brokerage may be the only option when selecting a carrier, however this solution does add another layer of communication and gives the customer less control if issues arise.
It is also extremely important to perform your due diligence and check the safety ratings of any asset-based carrier to make sure the carrier has satisfactory safety scores and is a carrier qualified to haul your shipment. Often cargo that requires a specialty carrier is higher in value and has specific insurance requirements. Proof the carrier meets the insurance coverage requirements should be verified during the vetting process.
Customer service quality and on-time delivery scores are also something customers should look at.
Find out the vertical markets they specialize in. For instance, if they do business with telecommunications, electronics, medical, trade show or retail clients they typically have relevant high touch expertise.
Q: How is the business evolving—particularly in recent months?
A: One evolving change I'm seeing is in the way companies procure transportation services—and it all comes down to the demographics of who's purchasing. Millennials are doing things a little differently—more hands off, less networking and relationship-building. They want cost savings, but with a high level of service. Visibility and transparency driven by technology needs to be a part of their customer experience.
Ultimately, they want carriers that are easy to do business with, and that's across the board, not just for specialty carriers. Keep this top of mind as you invest in technology to create a better customer experience.