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Back To Basics: Trucking – A Great PR Opportunity
Virtually every pallet supplier delivers its products on trucks. Many realize that truck drivers and company trucks can be good public relations tools.
By Clarence Leising & Dick Burns
Date Posted: 7/1/2010
Virtually every pallet supplier delivers its products on trucks. Many realize that truck drivers and company trucks can be good public relations tools. A few basics here shed light on this concept.
There is no doubt that a truck driver is one of the most important employees for any pallet company. Experience driving a truck is important, but personality and a professional attitude are probably even more important. A good truck driver can represent your company and products positively and professionally to a customer and its people. In addition he can serve as your best liaison of information back to you.
How does a customer handle receiving and using your products? What other suppliers are they using? Do competitive products meet the same specification you are supplying? A good truck driver can keep his eyes and ears open. And he can ask the right strategic questions of people on the dock and in the receiving department.
A driver should be familiar with your products so he can be a knowledgeable source of information to your customers. And he should know your customers’ expectations of quality, receiving times, and best times to deliver. He should know such things as the most efficient driving routes and what traffic patterns should be considered. All of these factors contribute to efficient service. You are more likely to keep your existing customers and attract the interest of new ones if your front line of people represents your company and its products professionally.
A good driver should have flexible working hours. He may have to come in early, stay late, or work a longer day than many of your other people. Ideally, his schedule should be flexible.
Truck drivers should know customers’ dock workers. An interest in their needs and desires can develop relationships that help you with unloading. Something as simple as a box of a dozen donuts; remember the song line “a teaspoon of sugar makes the medicine go down.” Few things go over as well as a friendly attitude. A friendly attitude within your own plant is desirable. But a friendly attitude from your truck drivers is where the rubber hits the road with your customers.
Appearance is another thing, both of your drivers and your trucks. You can have a well made product, but a sloppy appearance can be very distractive. Clean and orderly driver uniforms impress your customers, and clean trucks can have a major impact on customers’ perceptions and those of the general public.
Drivers should know customer names, delivery schedules, loading patterns, etc. When possible coordinate pickups with deliveries. Work with customers to try and maximize truck space. Work with customers to facilitate this coordination. Lots of customers are flexible when you communicate with them. It is to both you and your customers’ advantages to work together to make every aspect of delivery and service run smoothly. A smart truck driver who focuses on the right things brings benefits all around.