Recently, we have been talking a lot about customer service here at C.R. England. Our reasoning is simple: customer service is that which separates the most successful companies from those that are just getting by or perhaps even failing. Customer service is so important that an entire industry has risen around helping companies measure customer service metrics that will help them retain their customers.
In this particular post, we want to address customer service from the standpoint of politeness. We believe this is important due to a general perception among the public that truck drivers are anything but polite. Whether this is true or not, politeness goes a long way with truck drivers attempting to project a positive customer service image.
The dictionary definition of politeness is the quality of showing good manners and respect for other people. More often than not, it is observed in the conversations we share. But politeness can also be measured by body language, emotional reactions, and even specific behaviors that people engage in to show either respect for others or lack thereof.
Truckers and Their Conversations
The character trait of politeness is one very few people are born with. Rather, it is learned. Moreover, it is most often learned through the art of conversation. This is where truckers can make a lot of headway in terms of incorporating politeness with customer service.
For example, a polite driver engages in conversations with customers, dispatchers and others without interrupting. Interrupting another’s speech is generally considered rude and a sign that a person does not really care about what is being said. Therefore, making a concerted effort to avoid interruptions is part of general politeness.
Along the same lines, a polite driver is someone who knows how to listen well enough to actually understand the details of what someone else is saying. Doing so goes a long way toward defusing situations that could otherwise be made worse.
Politeness Behind the Wheel
Politeness does not have to be limited just to conversations with customers and dispatchers. The concept of being polite behind the wheel is equally valid. We can look at in terms of respecting other drivers on the road. In that regard, there are many things a polite driver will not do:
- Follow too closely
- Cut in front of other drivers
- Remain in the passing lane on divided highways
- Force their way into traffic when entering a divided highway
- Tailgate in an attempt to force slower drivers to speed up
- Use the horn as a means of intimidation
- Use inappropriate hand gestures.
Polite drivers understand that their larger vehicles intimidate car drivers even if there is no intention of doing so. The intimidation can be such that it causes other drivers to become anxious or nervous, eventually leading them to make unwise decisions.
The best way to understand polite driving is for the driver to consider what he or she expects from others on the road. The truck driver certainly does not want car drivers cutting in front of him/her with little room to spare; he/she doesn’t want car drivers riding alongside in an obvious blind spot; he/she doesn’t want slower cars to impede flow of traffic by remaining in the passing lane.
Politeness is part of good customer service. For truck drivers, it is all about treating people with respect. Whether you’re talking about shippers, receivers, dispatchers, warehouse workers for even the general public, showing others respect will result in the driver being treated in kind. When everybody involved respects others as they should, we’re all better off for it.