As a truck driver, part of your job description is that of customer service rep. Every time you pick up a load, you are dealing with a customer who is paying for a logistics service. Every time you deliver a load, you are dealing with a customer that has paid to receive cargo on time and in good condition. You represent your employer at both ends as the service provider.
How can you be a good customer service rep? By paying attention to a few key areas and giving them your best effort. The harder you work to please customers, the more satisfied they will be.
Maintaining Lines of Communication
Great customer service starts with open and honest communications. Maintaining open lines of communication is paramount here. Drivers need to regularly communicate with both shippers and receivers to ensure schedules are maintained. They need to effectively communicate with dispatchers so that everyone stays on the right page. And when unforeseen problems do arise, open communications are needed to address them in a way that prevents these issues from being exacerbated.
Keeping to Schedules
Maintaining schedules is key to the trucking industry given that margins are so low. Both shippers and receivers depend on drivers to stick to their schedules in order to keep cargo flowing. Consider intermodal transport, for example. A shipper sending several truckloads of cargo to a West Coast port depends on the carrier getting those containers to the port on time so that ships can leave as scheduled. One scheduling glitch can disrupt the entire flow.
It is understood that sometimes schedules can be interrupted by things out of a driver’s control. Weather is one example; mechanical breakdowns are another. But the driver who wants to be a good customer service rep will do everything in his or her power to keep to schedules.
Always Protecting Cargo
It goes without saying that being a good customer service rep means always protecting cargo, regardless of how it is transported. We mention this because there are some shippers and distributors that don’t necessarily have cargo control policies in place. But a lack of official policy should not prevent a driver from going above and beyond to secure cargo.
Obviously, flatbed truckers have more to deal with in terms of securing cargo, but every truck driver has to pay attention to it to some degree. Where refrigerated transport is concerned, drivers have to be mindful of maintaining temperature control. A driver’s reputation will most certainly be harmed by a load that has been damaged after reaching too high a temperature.
You Are the Face of Your Company
Whether you are employed by a carrier or you work as an independent contractor, you are the face of your company. You are the one customers will go to if schedules are not met or cargo is not protected. You will be the one greeting customers at their locations on a daily basis. As such, you need to be the best customer service rep you can be.
What’s in it for you? CDL drivers able to provide exceptional customer service tend to get the best jobs and the most lucrative runs. By providing exceptional customer service, you will be advancing your own career in everything from your pay to your future opportunities.