Customer Service and AccountabilityJune 26, 2015
“Every day we’re saying, ‘How can we keep the customer happy? …because if we don’t, somebody else will.” – Bill Gates
All drivers in all companies worry about miles. Why? Drivers are paid by the mile. We are paid by the mile too. So if we havea week of low miles, our pay is low. Miles are critical to our financial well-being. Miles are the coin of the realm.
The key to getting good miles is good customer service. In the hyper competitive world of over the road trucking, a customer can easily tender freight to another carrier if they are not happy with the service. In the case of yearly freight bids, ties go to the carrier with the better service. Service oriented carriers get the rate increases which enable them to increase driver pay. Poor service carriers do not. It takes months of work to find a good customer and only seconds to lose one. If we lose business to poor service, we all lose miles.
ACT does not give drivers miles. Customers give drivers miles. They have the freight. They tender it to ACT and ACT tenders it to you, the driver. If we all want miles, it follows that we have to make and keep that customer happy so that we continue to get miles and get more of them.
How do you define customer satisfaction? What makes a customer happy is defined by the customer, not us. It is the customer who defines service expectations.
If you are a company driver, your job is to transport a customer’s load safely, legally, professionally and to the customer’s requirements and deliver the load in the same condition you received it. If you have service failures, you are not doing the job you are paid to do. If you are a contractor, you have agreed to do the same by contract. If you have service failures, you are not living up to your part of the agreement. This is a breach of your contract. Service failures hurt us all.
We have been through a crazy capacity crunch in 2014. There was so much freight in relation to trucks that carriers simply could not cover all of it. Everyone’s service deteriorated. 2015 is different. Everyone in trucking has seen a relative softening of freight. This results in spotty areas from time to time and customers demanding better service.
We can’t control everything that causes a late delivery. For example, weather and late loading can cause delay. However, we can control our attitudes towards good service, our planning and our communication. Customer service is not a department, it is an attitude! It’s everyone’s job.
Excellence in customer service is what sets ACT and its team apart from the competition. We have worked on this reputation for years. Excellent service means we can get better freight and charge a little more rate than others. This in turn helps us maintain business in down cycles and pay our drivers top pay in the industry. If service suffers, our rates are hard to justify and increases become impossible. Without service, we are just another carrier. We have always cherished our reputation and worked hard to keep it. We continuously look for ways to get better and make the customer even more satisfied.
Help by doing your part in keeping our standard of excellence in customer service!
“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford
Happy Trucking! Tom