IBM’s rescue from the brink of collapse in the early 1990s to global technology leader today is generally credited to its leadership’s ability to pivot and make major changes to its established businesses – primarily from a focus on hardware to software, cloud computing and services. But technology is surprisingly not the only driver in […]
IBM’s rescue from the brink of collapse in the early 1990s to global technology leader today is generally credited to its leadership’s ability to pivot and make major changes to its established businesses – primarily from a focus on hardware to software, cloud computing and services.
But technology is surprisingly not the only driver in IBM’s renaissance.
Often overlooked in this metamorphosis from incumbent trailer to leader was then-CEO Lou Gerstner’s identification of the need for a cultural change: leveraging IBM’s organizational and technological talents towards exceptional customer experience (CX).
Using digital tools to help deliver great customer experience.
What does the oldest company on the top ten global technology companies have to do with freight?
Here’s What This Has To Do With Freight
The transformation of a tech giant and the freight industry’s current process of digitization share some key principles: whether selling AI tools and consulting or freight, the ability to adopt new technologies by listening to what customers want can be key to any transformation.
The digitization of the freight industry is about improving speed and efficiency.
But at its core it is providing a simplified, frictionless and transparent experience to shippers.
This trend moved forward in exciting ways in 2019. For example:
CH Robinson launched Freightquote – This platform takes aim at SMBs enabling simple online search and e-booking across multiple US trucking carriers.
DB Schenker rolled out Connect 4.0 – allowing customers online multimodal search, and even booking and tracking across land, air and ocean.
Among carriers, Hapag-Lloyd added Navigator, a real-time tracking and alerts platform to complement its QuickQuotes offering.
All of these are steps to improve the customer experience of shipping freight, and remove the legacy frictions that could slow down the process in the past. Critically, these are all offered by legacy incumbents intent on offering a phenomenal customer experience. Sound familiar?
But how extensive have these steps to digitize been across the 3PL industry, and how much has the shipping customer experience changed as a result?
In the study we looked to online spot quoting as a proxy for the overall digitizationof the industry as it’s often a shipper’s first encounter with forwarders. Also, the ability to get key information quickly, easily and reliably is a pillar of 21st century digitization and may say a lot, not only about what tools have now become available, but how they’re being leveraged to deliver a truly digital customer experience.
We mystery shopped the twenty largest freight forwarders for FCL, LCL and air online quotes. We also surveyed eight digital freight forwarders and the five largest ocean carriers for FCL quotes to get a sense of the growing competition that forwarders are facing and how these compare in their digitization efforts.
Online Requests for Quotes (RFQs)
For small and midsize importers, the customer journey almost always starts with a freight quote. So the first thing we wanted to see was how easily an RFQ could be submitted online.
The results show progress over previous years, with nearly all forwarders providing an online form (90% compared to 70% in 2015). Most were easy to find, and some forms, like those provided by DB Schenker, CEVA, and Kuehne+ Nagel, featured search and filter options that let shippers sort by price or duration and get very exact for their quote request.
But What Happens After the RFQ?
Next we looked at how forwarders responded to these requests. Here there was also progress, but still significant room for improvement.
There was a much higher rate of forwarders providing instant quotes (15% compared to none in 2015 and 5% in 2017) – a true mark of digitized pricing and processes.
Forwarders also sent more responses within 24 hours than in the past, pointing to digitized rate management being used internally. But 18% of all requests were provided with quotes manually, taking an average of 122 hours and as much as 19 days – definitely slower than most shippers’ desired pace of business!
But perhaps worse was the majority (60%) of requests that were just ignored, leaving hot leads and interested customers to go elsewhere and indicating that the importance of customer experience in digital channels is not yet appreciated.
Threat from Carriers and Digital Freight Forwarders?
In the mid-’90s, IBM wasn’t living in a bubble. Neither are freight forwarders.
When we looked at carriers, we found that the top carriers are getting serious about digitization. Several are rolling out new shipper-facing products and doing somewhat better in taking steps to reach shippers directly with 40% of carriers offering instant quotes, compared with only 15% of freight forwarders quotes.
Digital forwarders are likewise seeking to be customer-centric and doing somewhat better than traditional forwarders with 25% offering instant quotes. Both of these groups are showing progress and seeking to pose a threat to traditional freight forwarding, but likewise still have a way to go.
Customer Experience Matters for B2B. More than You Think.
A recent Salesforce study found that B2B buyers: consider customer experience very important (even more so than consumers); can be won by great service; and expect technology and innovation to play a key role in delivering it.
The advances in digitization of the past year are encouraging, but suggest that the industry doesn’t fully appreciate the importance of customer experience and how digitization can help deliver it.
As in the example of IBM, the difference will be which players are able to listen to what customers want, pivot to deliver, and leverage the available tools to provide a smooth, reliable, and transparent customer experience.
To see in-depth where all this is going and in what ways digitization will enable customer-centric freight download the full report here.
Visually, the N Line is distinguished by subtle yet distinct cues. The front gets an all-black mesh along with larger outboard grilles with arrow-like inserts. The sides get small skirts, and the rear features a small spoiler, diffuser and twin round exhaust tips on the right side. The N Line also has 18-inch alloy wheels and “N Line” badging scattered about. The inside is upgraded with more heavily bolstered seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and aluminum pedals.
Powering the Elantra N Line is the same turbocharged 1.6-liter engine featured in the old Elantra Sport and GT N Line, as well as the Veloster Turbo. It can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Additional upgrades over the base sedan include larger front brake rotors, a multi-link independent rear suspension and stiffer suspension tuning.
Hyundai includes plenty of safety and convenience technology with the Elantra N Line, too. Automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping and lane-follow assist, automatic high-beams, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning lead the standard safety features. The N Line will also have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Hyundai’s Digital Key, which allows access via your smartphone.
The Elantra N Line will be available sometime this year. Exact dates haven’t been given, but it will be available ahead of the Sonata N Line, which is also slated to release this year. Pricing also hasn’t been announced, but expect it to come in around $24,000 like its Elantra Sport and GT N Line predecessors.
In the midst of crummy news seemingly everywhere, we have one that’s thoroughly heartwarming. A Hyundai dealer in Brazil has gained worldwide fame after adopting a stray dog and bringing him into the dealership as a “car consultant” to spend time with the sales staff and customers.
Since becoming part of the Prime Hyundai family, he has received a variety of dapper accessories including ties and a piece of a tuxedo, along with his own employee badge. He spends the day at the dealership, where the employees recently put together his very own doghouse. He has an Instagram account that has over 124,000 followers, but more important, it also has photos of him at the dealership. A Gazeta also noted that he will be featured in some advertising. Mariano also told ES360 that he was happy to give Tucson a home, since he has noticed a lot of pets becoming homeless in the wake of the pandemic. We’re happy Tucson found a home, too, one that seems to love him quite a bit.
Rocket League’s upcoming update is a huge one — it will not only make the game free to play on all platforms, it will also introduce cross-platform progression. Now, Psyonix has detailed how cross-platform progression will work for the car racing/soccer title and how you’ll be prompted to make an or link to an existing Epic Games account to take advantage of the feature after you upgrade.
See, Rocket League will also debut on the Epic Games Store (and leave Steam completely) with the next update. The developer says that after you link an Epic Games profile, you’ll be asked to set a Primary Platform. That will serve as the source of progression, including your Rocket Pass Progress, Competitive Rank and XP Level, for all the platforms you connect. Once that’s set up, you’ll be able to link your PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Nintendo Switch Online and Steam accounts.
Psyonix says you can unlink platforms and switch primaries if you change your mind, but you won’t be able to link any platform you remove to another Epic Games account. When it comes to items in your inventory, the feature will allow you to share all earned free drops, season rewards, shop purchases, Rocket Pass items, blueprints and Rocket League-branded DLC. However, you can’t share platform-exclusive items and credits. You can’t share Premium DLC Packs, as well, but Psyonix is working to make them accessible across platforms in the future.
Finally, the developer has clarified that you can only trade purchased items on the platform you bought them on to reduce the risk of fraud. You can’t hop onto Xbox to trade something you bought on PlayStation, for instance. You’ll also need at least 500 Credits to trade, unless you’ve been playing Rocket League before free to play’s launch.
This article by Mariella Moon first appeared on Engadget.