When you think of jobs that require heavy customer service skills, what comes to mind? If truck driving is not on your list, it should be. It is true that truck drivers spend the vast majority of their time on the road and not in direct contact with customers. Yet every journey ends with some kind of customer service experience. Many include opportunities to interact with customers along the way.
With this in mind, C.R. England believes it is essential to include drivers in the customer service vision. Drivers who fully understand their employer’s goals and vision for serving customers are drivers that are able to meet those expectations. When drivers are kept out of the loop, they are left to react to problems rather than working to prevent them.
Customer Service and Satisfaction
The long and short of customer service is that it is all about satisfaction. Shippers and receivers need to be satisfied that the service they have received has been at least adequate. But let’s go one step further. Exceptional customer service should be the goal of every carrier and driver.
Satisfaction means picking up loads on time and getting them delivered on schedule. Of course, shippers and receivers do understand that things such as whether delays can impede schedules somewhat. But rest assured that customers are looking for carriers and drivers they can rely on to get the job done consistently.
Satisfaction also means protecting loads so that they get to their destinations in the same condition they were at the start. A careless driver or carrier is one that makes the customer service vision harder to fulfill, especially when that carelessness results in damage to cargo.
How to Engage Drivers
Involving drivers in the pursuit of exceptional customer service starts with communication. First and foremost, employers need to communicate to their drivers what their goals and vision are concerning customer service. Furthermore, those communications must be clear and concise. If there’s one thing drivers cannot afford it is vague communications that lack definition and clarity.
Regular driver training sessions designed to deal with routine things like safety and regulations should also include some customer service training. At C.R. England, we offer truck driving jobs with training included at every stage of the driver’s career. We believe that ongoing training is the key to making sure our drivers know how to keep customers satisfied.
Beyond training, companies can regularly remind drivers of the need for excellent customer service by doing simple things such as hanging posters around the office, sending quarterly reminders via e-mail, and including customer service as part of annual evaluations. It is also a good idea for managers and dispatchers to ride with drivers every now and again for the purposes of understanding what they experience day by day so that customer service training can be adapted accordingly.
When a new driver comes on board, he or she should always be paired with an experienced driver trainer for at least a minimal amount of time. Customer service can be communicated and explained during that training period, and the driver trainer can demonstrate what the company expects through real-time interactions with customers.
Research shows that satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal customers who return time and again. They are customers who are happy to spend with companies they believe take good care of them. Therefore, trucking companies need to make sure their drivers are a part of the customer service vision and mission. After all, they are the boots on the ground, so to speak; they are the ones who bring customer service home.