Browse Tag

customer service

Choosing the Right 3PL to Align with Your Business Strategy

Most shippers don’t spend much time worrying about who is driving the trucks carrying their goods, but choosing a 3PL with the right carrier network makes all the difference when your business is expanding. B2B and B2C networks are increasingly determined by where the customer is, rather than a companies’ geographical location. With more business moving to online, you need to be prepared to meet your customers where they are. 

When your customers need change, you want to be able to say “yes.” But logistics is a complicated business and when you are examining your choices, there are some factors to consider.

The first step is to understand your internal requirements – consider what your specific needs are before looking for a 3PL. Questions to ask include, what modes of transportation and what services you will need? What volumes do you plan to ship and where? Do you have specific security or visibility requirements? Are your shipments time-sensitive? The list goes on… Despite their expertise, 3PLs are only as useful as their knowledge of your business and customer requirements. 

The right 3PL will also have a network density that connects you with the right carrier, at the right location and with the right capacity and expertise.

Start with Carrier Partnerships

Whether you are shipping intra-warehouse or last-mile, it’s important that your 3PL  has the capabilities to make it happen. Two considerations are technology and partnerships.  

Shippers should look for a partner that allows them to quote, track and control invoicing for their LTL and FTL shipments, across a nationwide carrier network. Because your shipping partner is responsible for integrating different shipments, they are responsible for implementing technology that provides visibility to your shipment across their network of trucks and more. 

The right 3PL will also have a network density that connects you with the right carrier, at the right location and with the right capacity and expertise. With capacity being tight these days, partnering with the right 3PL will increases the chances that your time-critical shipments will be delivered on time and at a competitive price. That means, if you have warehousing and delivery needs in Houston, your 3PL  should have vehicles available to accommodate those needs, and quickly. 

Door to Door deliveries

Not all trucking companies handle door-to-door deliveries and some don’t have to. What matters is that your 3PL is partnered with carriers that offer fleet capabilities that meet your needs. For your urban customers, the trucking company might need to deploy a fleet of smaller trucks or even vans. If your requirements are FTL B2B shipments, you need a trucking company with that sort of capacity. For many shippers, their requirements fall in-between, or into the ‘all-of-the-above category.’ In those cases, your 3PL needs to have a range of carriers available to facilitate your business. 

Experience matters

Shippers should ask themselves if their 3PL understands their business and customer base. For example, a company shipping high-value electronics, will want to check with their 3PL about security protocols. Are trucks secured? Is there a system in place to alert management when drivers divert course? Proactive 3PLs will have systems in place so that your customers can rely on you in turn.  

Shipping disruption is an unfortunate reality in the business, ranging from weather disruptions to dock strikes. The right 3PL will have a plan in place to make sure that you are taken care of. 

Do the services match the requirements?

Some 3PLs specialize in specific modes of transportation, commodities, dealing with regulations and origin/destinations. Others are generalists. Make sure that you ask potential 3PLs if they have experience handling the cargo that your business will be shipping. The right partner for your business will be able to walk you through the different steps required, allowing all parties to agree on the correct protocols and procedures.  Reviewing a 3PLs Case Study library can help you better understand their expertise.

How many modes?

There are four common modes – ocean road, air, and rail. Many 3PLs will offer “intermodal” services, but if they don’t have the size and experience to properly manage that freight in-transit, they are essentially handing off responsibility to another party. 

To avoid this uncertainty, make sure your 3PL works with established rail and intermodal carriers. That way, you get the most options. Offering a variety of modes that let shippers choose slower transit times when possible, which lowers costs. On the flip side, if you need something shipped fast, having a 3PL with a dedicated expedite team will help to ensures that your shipment gets where it’s going, in the time it needs to be there.

How’s their customer service? 

This might seem too obvious to print, but it’s important to distinguish between friendly phone conversations and 3PLs that can get you the information you need when you need it. If there’s a disruption or other events along the shipment chain, you need a 3PL that can reach out proactively to help you make the necessary adjustments on your end. There will always be disruptions, but that doesn’t mean they need to put you on your back heels. 

Customer service is also about finding a 3PL that’s willing to take the time to help you set up the right solution. If your business is experiencing sudden growth, you might not have all the answers.

Is your 3PL BlueGrace?

At BlueGrace, our freight specialists work with you every step of the way to understand your requirements and set up a solution that’s tailored to your needs. BlueGrace provides scalability for growing companies to achieve their goals without labor or technology investments. With a fully built-out national network and global partners, BlueGrace makes it easier than ever to reach your markets in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Our expertise and processes provide clients with the bandwidth to operate efficiently and drive direct cost reduction, backed by procurement and dedicated management. For more information on how we can help you analyze your current freight issues and simplify your supply chain, contact us using the form below: 

The Importance of Customer Care in The Age of Automation and AI 

We’re approaching a new age. Not just in technology, but in our mentality towards that technology. Self-driving cars are no longer just a concept but are in the pre-production testing phase. Robots are less novelty and more integral to many aspects of our lives and our jobs. Simply put, we’re approaching a new age that might see a lot less need for human interaction.   

Though they may be intuitive and programmable, robots aren’t capable of handling every aspect of a job.

Many industries, not just the freight and logistics sector, have voiced some concerns about the integration of robots in the workforce. Truck drivers might take a back seat to an automated rig, at least for the highway stretches. Logistics planners might sit on the sideline while an AI constructs the hypotheticals and maps out the best route from A to B. When you consider it like that, it seems as though there might be a good reason to panic about the encroaching robotic workforce. Though they may be intuitive and programmable, robots aren’t capable of handling every aspect of a job. In fact, there are a few areas where they fall drastically short of the mark.   

Human Core Capabilities  

Despite what Isaac Asimov had to say about the matter, there are three areas in which robots simply can’t hold a candle to a human counterpart. These “core capabilities” are creativity, community and empathy. Robots aren’t designed to feel human emotion. They can’t understand when a customer is frustrated by a missing or damaged piece of freight.

Sharing Economy 

People will change their view of asset ownership, something that has been more or less hardwired into previous generations. For those that own assets, they want to get the most out of them. For those that don’t, they want to be able to access them instantly, without the need to ever own them. To make this easier to understand, consider Uber for a moment. The vehicle owner can take their asset and use it to make some extra money by giving rides. The users simply have to tap a few buttons on their phone, and a ride is summoned, ready to take them to their destination without the need to own a vehicle themselves. This is a perfect example of the Sharing Economy.  

Empathetic Businesses 

With automation growing, we’ll see a shift in the sharing economy into the empathy economy. This empathy economy will be more focused on matching humans or businesses with a need for empathetic services to those who are willing to offer them, according to the World Economic Forum 

True empathy isn’t easy, but it’s the most powerful expression of humanity. In a world full of robots, empathy can only become more valuable

“It’s cliché to say that empathy is in short supply today because every generation probably has the same sentiment. The good news is that automation will force humans to be more human and the empathy economy will create opportunities for humans to monetize a unique capability. True empathy isn’t easy, but it’s the most powerful expression of humanity. In a world full of robots, empathy can only become more valuable,” says WEForum.

Companies will need to find the balance between automated production and workers, with the softness of human emotion and customer service. Customer service specialists and the “white glove” treatment of customers will be the true differentiator between competitors in the field. The stronger the empathetic match between company and potential customer, the more likely it is that they will become a regular client.   

The Human Element 

In many regards, we look for other people to not only help us with our problems but also to understand what we’re going through. Humans will always be the best in understanding emotions. We understand how frustrating it can be to be put on hold or left with questions and seemingly no answers. It’s that human connection that is vital for businesses.  

While many businesses understand this, that’s not to say that they won’t automate at least some of their customer service elements. Well, augment might be a better word 

They all do that in the name of efficiency. However, it will be important for them and us as customers, to keep the human connection alive and well. Amazon’s Grab-and-Go is a perfect example of this. The concept is that customers don’t need to go through checkout or interact with a cashier. Simply grab the items they want and have Amazon automatically track and charge the “purchases.” While this drastically removes much of the human element, the Amazon Grab-and-Go stores are also staffed with human workers who can help answer any questions and guide customers through the process. In other words, there will always be a need for human interaction in any business environment. Human-based customer service is and will continue to be the cornerstone for building a strong business.  

Treat customers as people and not just another line in the profit margin and your business is golden.  

While data services are certainly a must, they are also becoming the norm in the logistics and freight industry. Real-time data and high-end visibility used to be a selling point, now it’s simply an expectation. Customers want to know where their products are and when they can expect them to arrive. They want a simple and easy to use system that gives them the comfort and security of knowing that they have made the right choices for optimizing their supply chain. Nonetheless, despite all the efforts and advancement of different technologies, it will be the mutual understanding created by the human empathy that will solve problems. Treat customers as people and not just another line in the profit margin and your business is golden.  

Working with a 3PL like BlueGrace

BlueGrace provides scalability for growing companies to achieve their goals without labor or technology investments. With a fully built-out national network and global partners, BlueGrace makes it easier than ever to reach your markets in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Their expertise and processes provide clients with the bandwidth to operate efficiently and drive direct cost reduction, backed by procurement and dedicated management. For more information on how we can help you analyze your current freight issues and simplify your supply chain, feel free to contact us using the form below:

BlueGrace Scheduled to Host Talent Acquisition Blitz (TAB) in Chicago, February 24-25

BlueGrace Logistics, one of the fastest-growing logistics services firms in the country, is enhancing our presence in the Chicago area.

To support our hyper-growth, we are opening an office in Oak Brook, IL, a suburb of Chicago. The BlueGrace Talent Acquisition Blitz (TAB) in Chicago will take place February 24-25, in an effort to scout new recruits to join our team.

BlueGrace President and CEO, Bobby Harris, is expected to be in attendance to meet with prospects and hand select the top candidates to help grow the Chicago office. TAB will be held at our Chicago headquarters: 700 Commerce Drive in Oak Brook.

We will be looking to fill 20 positions, including sales, truckload operations, customer service and management positions. All new hires to join our Chicago team will receive a $1,000 signing bonus!

Candidates can submit their resume via email to, as well as request information about the company by visiting

BlueGrace Logistics on Fox & Friends

BlueGrace Logistics was featured on Fox & Friends segment “On the Job Hunt” on Fox News Channel on Tuesday, February 4! This segment discusses companies that are currently hiring. They mentioned how we have open positions in both our Tampa and Chicago office, including sales, customer service and operations.

Check out the clip by clicking here: Fox & Friends – On the Job Hunt 2/4/14

However, there were some errors in the segment that need to be addressed. In the first mention of BlueGrace, the reporter mispronounces our name, saying “BlueGrass Logistics…” Yea, like the music. Just so you know, we’re not hiring banjo players!

They then go onto to describe us a company who does “bubble-wrapping” and say that we’ll “take care of the tape for you.” Well, that is not remotely close to what we do.

We are true consultants. To simplify it, think of BlueGrace Logistics as the Expedia of freight (no pun intended). We have a full staff of freight experts and have built a proprietary and cutting-edge transportation management system called BlueShip. We are the middleman between customers and transportation carriers to provide more options to businesses and bring in more revenue to carriers. Overall, our business model drives productivity into our industry.

Are you interested in learning more about job opportunities with BlueGrace Logistics? Please click here.

How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

As I was planning a possible long weekend in NYC last month I was pursuing different Broadway shows that were currently playing that I might want to see. I was surprised to find that there was a remake of the Broadway show “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” starring John Larroquette and Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame. The story is about a young man that works as a window washer that finds the book “How to Succeed in Business.” He reads the book and believes he would be able to succeed in the corporate world even though he had no training and no skills. Much to everyone’s surprise he follows the suggestions in the book and is able to quickly climb the corporate ladder – but only by stepping over and stepping on everyone in his way. In the end he is forced to look at his life path and realizes that he really has not achieved any success.  This got me to thinking about my own career path and where I am headed.

When I graduated from college I was certain that I was headed on a fast track to the top of the corporate world. I was an honors graduate. I had studied hard planned my career and life goals. I was ready to make my mark in the world! I thought I had what I needed to succeed. Ah, big news – college did NOT teach me all there is to know and did little to prepare me for the challenges I have had to face in the career world – in other words I found that “you cannot succeed in business without really trying.”

Success has been much harder to attain in the business world than it was in college. There are far more variables to contend with, more personalities to pacify and there is a lot less bending of the rules. I have had to rethink what it takes to succeed and the lessons have not all come easily. Much like J. Pierpont Finch in the musical “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying”, I found that the desire to succeed is not nearly as important as the effort you have to put in to attaining that success. For me, setting goals, study, and the willingness to listen and learn from my colleagues has helped to direct me to my long term goals of personal and financial success. Understanding the mission and vision of the company as well as the expectations of my supervisors have also helped direct me along my career path. However, learning to focus on my customers’ needs has proven to be the most successful and satisfying goal of my short career, and I believe it will ultimately be the key to my success. If I can provide my customers with the absolute best care, instead of having one time run-in’s, a relationship will form and there will always be a chance of repeat business…  Especially in the BlueGrace World.

– Bryan Byak, Account Manager
Follow me @bryanbyak

Quality vs. Quantity… or Both?

A common comparison is quality and quantity. In this case, let’s compare low prices versus great service. It’s rare to find the two values together. Every day there are advertisements geared towards price sensitive consumers. One major example is, Walmart, “Save money, live better.” Then there is Sweetbay, focusing mainly on their “fresh” produce with billboards like, “Low prices taste better.” A focus on price point makes sense for such places due to the fact that people are going to buy food and other necessities; it’s inevitable. Why not get your Doritos for less? They taste the same no matter what store you get them from. A focus on experience is the marketing strategy at Publix, “Where shopping is a pleasure.” They do not focus on price as much… although there is plenty of room for savings (BOGOs). Each of these grocers are successful establishments.

I use this example because everyone purchases groceries, it doesn’t stop. People eat. They also need deodorant and laundry detergent. Similarly, businesses will always need to move their products. Will the decision to ship be solely based on price? Or, is it more important that the service received during the shipping process is more than satisfactory? Isn’t quality worth the extra cost? If trucks are Doritos, then service may not be as important to you. However, what if they run out of Doritos? At BlueGrace, we focus on strong customer service and tailoring our services to fit your company’s needs specifically. Price is certainly important and that’s why we offer very competitive rates.

OK, so is it quality over quantity, low prices over great service… or vice versa? You can have it all. The BlueGrace team will do what we can to assist your business and its shipping needs. The aim is to reach for the best prices AND provide the best service. Understanding our customers allows us to better meet their needs and help their business grow!

– Ariel Saiani, Sales Rep
Follow me @ArielSaiani_BG

The Value of Superior Customer Service

“Thank you for calling, how may I help you?”  These are eight simple words that we hear so frequently on a daily basis. We hear the words so often that it does not faze us when we hear them; however, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that every time we hear those eight words, we are embarking on a customer service adventure.  Every call that we receive is a mini-adventure in helping one of the many valued clients that we serve.

Our job in Customer Service is to streamline the logistical processes of our customers in an effort to make sure that their products are delivered to and from their locations in the most efficient and timely manner possible through our technology and the assistance of our expert account managers.  Inevitably, there are always situations that arise needing some T.L.C. and that is where you can separate yourself from other similar companies in your industry; with your superior customer service.

The first-class customer service offered by our highly trained and dedicated staff; from our Diamond Desk to our Specialized Services to our General Customer Service Representatives are always available to provide assistance to our customers at the highest level available. To be best-in-class, pride yourself on handling any situation that arises as quickly and efficiently as possible.  This can be made possible by the dedication and experience that your team of customer service representatives puts into every transaction they process.

The level of excellence to be attained continues to be raised everyday as representatives understand more and more what a vital role they play in the continued success of their business and their clients.  Our customer service representatives’ attention to detail and willingness to assist on the hundreds of issues that take place every day is truly a testament to our customers and the level of service they will receive as long as we have the opportunity.

At BlueGrace, with incentives in place such as the BlueStar and TrueBlue Award programs, we recognize members of the Customer Service Team for their continued service in helping to maintain the level of superiority our customers deserve.  Like programs ensure that your level of customer service will continue to rise as you move forward in your efforts to become undisputedly the preeminent name in your Industry.

– Mike Eligon, Executive Assistant

How to Improve Yourself Professionally and Personally through Feedback

“Everybody needs feedback, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a trainer.” Doug Lowenstein Upon brainstorming ideas on how to improve yourself both professionally and personally, I came across a common thread in all the training that I have done with various companies.  The one commonality is that each company required feedback.  One might ask, what is feedback? According to CBS Business Network, feedback is defined as “the communication of responses and reactions to proposals and changes, or of the findings of performance appraisals, with the goal of enabling improvements to be made. Feedback can be either positive or negative.”  Feedback should be encouraged within every organization on all levels even between managers and employees flowing not only downward but upward as well.  Everyone has things that they can improve upon, so why not get the specifics on how to do so from the ones that see you in action everyday, your coworkers.  

An  example of positive feedback, “John, I noticed how you were speaking to that customer, do you have a second to talk about it?”  Then, if John gives his permission that is the time to give your feedback. “John, I thought it was really great how you called the carrier for the customer to find out where their freight was and followed up with them until their freight made it to the end destination.  You did a really good job of reassuring the customer that the shipment would be on time.”  On the other end of the spectrum, some negative feedback would be, “Julie, I noticed when you were speaking to that prospect you weren’t really clear about the solutions we offer, do you have a second to discuss it?”  Once permission has been given, “Julie, when you were speaking to that prospect you weren’t really clear on how our transportation management system could benefit the customer.  Next time you should explain how it can integrate with their system, has the ability to create customized reporting, and automatically generates Bills of Lading.”

With the positive feedback, this encourages the employee/coworker to continue their excellent customer service, where as the negative feedback explains ways that the sales rep can make improvements.  Each form of feedback was both clear, concise, and detailed so that the receiver of the feedback knew exactly what the giver was referring to at the time.  You should also give feedback as soon as possible after the action you want to mention occurred and encourage the receiver to give you feedback as well.  This enables employees to make improvements both personally and professionally by engaging in open communication.  Do you encourage your employees to give each other feedback?  If so, how has this helped your organization to grow and develop your workforce?

Customer Service with a Smile

I wanted to take some time to give my personal input on customer service in the freight business. In my 5 years in this industry, I have learned that no matter how great your prices are or how great your TMS works, it is service that will help you keep and grow your business.

I have worked in other service industries as a sales representative. It doesn’t matter what your title is, you always need to let your customers know that you are here to help them. They always need to feel like they are the most important person you will talk to that day. Providing this level of service keeps your customers happy and reduces attrition.  They will know that if something goes wrong with a shipment that you will solve their problem. 

I have seen other sales and customer service representatives get upset with a customer that is asking questions. Just put yourself in their shoes! Questions are just another way for people to learn about your company. It is another chance for you to show why you are different. Customers have a lot of choices for their transportation needs. If you cannot do the job, they will find someone else who will.  I say if you greet the customer with good cheer, ask plenty of questions, try to solve their problem and always provide service with a smile that you will have a customer for life.

– Juan Ortiz, Customer Service Representative