There are a lot of moving parts to LTL freight shipping. From pickup to delivery, there are plenty of reasons you’ll need to reach out to your LTL carrier. It’s crucial that you reach the right person quickly to keep shipping efficient and cost-effective. Effective communicating with LTL carriers can make the difference in your freight reaching its destination smoothly.
Here are 4 tips for communicating with carriers:
Review Carrier’s Website
Most carriers have real time tracking capabilities that can give you an idea of when your freight will reach delivery. It can also save time on scheduling pickups, online billing, shipment documents, and terminal locators. Some even offer live chat options that connect to customer service agents.
Call Terminal Directly
Customer service lines are very helpful but can sometimes involve waiting on hold. Once you get through, if you need more detailed information, you will most likely be placed on hold again so they can reach out to the terminal. Most carrier websites have tools to help you reach the terminal directly.
Ask for the Right Team
Communicating with LTL carriers can’t be effective if you’re talking to the wrong people. The list below can help you assess which team to ask for:
- Dispatch – The dispatch team can best help with any questions related to pickups and deliveries. They will have updated information on driver ETAs, locations and trailer capacity.
- Rates – The rates team can assist with giving and confirming quotes. As a result, unexpected costs when you receive your invoice are avoided.
- OS&D – The overages, shortages and damages (OS&D) team assists with any missing, refused, damaged and freight on hold for any reason at a terminal. This can also include freight that is waiting on dock pickup or delivery appointment confirmation.
- Accounting/Billing – The accounting/billing team can help with invoice inquiries and corrections. Have a detailed and accurate BOL and a corresponding quote to go with your freight. It goes a long way and can help assist in any invoice discrepancies.
- Specialized Services – When it’s offered by your carrier, specialized services are specific teams that assist with LTL services outside of the standard traditional LTL shipping methods. This includes expedited/guaranteed, white glove delivery, volume, trade show, cross border and more.
- Customer Service/Tracking – The customer service team will have the general information on your account and shipments. This involves tracking information on your shipments. Having your carrier PRO/tracking number will expedite any requests you may have and can be located on the driver-signed shipper’s bill of lading (BOL). The customer service team can also help facilitate and reach the departments above, but assistance can occasionally come with some hold time.
LTL carriers have a lot of restrictions and regulations that can change a few times a year. Carrier’s rules tariffs seem so daunting to read through, but they are very useful with general information on the carrier’s standard rules and pricing. Most carriers have this information available online, or it can be requested from your carrier representative.
Finding the right contact at the LTL carrier’s office can often involve long hold times, a few transfers and inconsistent information that can lead to having to call back again for more information. If you’re looking to simply the process, consider reaching out to a third-party logistics (3PL) company for your LTL shipping. 3PLs can do a lot of these for you and have been able to foster relationships with your LTL carriers, which takes the burden off of you.
Next time you need to be effective when communicating with LTL carriers, try these tips, and don’t forget about your 3PL options! Both are sure to save you some time on your LTL shipping, which can pay off in the long run.
The England Logistics Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) division can provide nationwide service for shipments of almost any shape or size. To bring simplicity to shipping processes, LTL offers a one-stop solution with the information needed to get shipments on the road. Dedicated team members are available 24/7 to ensure timely and cost-efficient delivery.