Logistics is a relationship-based business. It is no surprise then that players across the industry pour into partnerships and place a premium on service. For carriers, this means living up to service agreements and delivering on key performance metrics. For shippers, it often means taking steps to become a “shipper of choice.”
For brokers, excellence lies in standout customer service. The problem, however, is that most brokerages have a customer service problem, according to Waggon Founder Robert Rajfer.
“If you go to any shipper out there and ask them about their experience with brokers, it probably isn’t a good one,” Rajfer said. “There are not a lot of firms that back up what they say in terms of creating a best-in-class customer experience.”
Rajfer defines having a “best-in-class customer experience” as being readily available, offering fair but competitive prices and having an owner’s mindset. He noted that it is crucial for the entire organization to live by the same set of customer-first values, not just the leadership team.
Ultimately, most of the qualities of a standout broker can be summed up in one word: integrity.
Rajfer set out alongside Waggon co-founder Tyler Sala to bring their vision of a customer-first brokerage experience to life. That meant walking the talk when it came to putting customers first, but it also meant they needed to offer the same — or better — high-tech functionality that their competitors were offering.
Traditional brokerages often pour their time and resources into building proprietary tech stacks. While these solutions offer increased functionality, keeping them running can leave companies bogged down with sprawling departments and layers of oversight.
Waggon is doing something unique. Rajfer and Sala opted to partner with some of the most innovative and inspiring third-party technology providers in the market, essentially building one high-powered brainchild from a myriad of API plug-ins. This approach enabled the duo to achieve high levels of technological excellence without the backend expenses associated with building their own solutions.
“We don’t see proprietary tech as a needed expense right now,” Sala said. “We have to run lean and aggressive, and that is how our model is set up.”
By focusing on building up their core strengths, Waggon has freed up the time — and funds — necessary to hire some of the best talent out there to fill the company’s most crucial roles, supporting its efficient and turnkey operating model.
In order to be the best, it isn’t enough to just be a logistics savant; Waggon is also looking for expert communicators.
“At the end of the day, freight is about communication. You have to be able to communicate well,” Sala said. “When you get into this industry, communication is the only thing you can control. That is what we do as brokers..”
When brokers remember their role as communicators, they are able to build stronger relationships with both their shipper customers and their carrier partners. This plays into the emphasis on customer service while also fighting against the industry’s common broker versus carrier dynamic.
Sala considers the Waggon’s entry into the market a success. The company moved 250 loads last month and is on track to double volume in July.
“We’re not doing anything differently, we’re just doing it better,” Rajfer said.