Fuel for Thought
Trusting an Expedite Company
Last night I had a reminder of why some people use expedited. I mean, there are many reasons, sure... but I think we all get used to the customers who regularly use us... for who ”˜Expedite’ loads are just the way they do business, but every now and then, we get to see another side.
I’ve ran pretty good the last couple of weeks, well enough that I haven’t updated my blog the way I planned! Several days I was woken up by a run offer. Friday night, I was close to Ohio, and needed to go home anyway to get my wife’s car fixed, so I headed in. Arriving home, within an hour, I finalized arrangements with the mechanic, made plans for the evening, and was deciding whether or not to go out of service for the weekend, when my phone rang. Yep, home one hour, and it rang LOL... it was a relatively short run, taking me less than 200 miles away, picking up in an hour, and delivering this morning (Saturday). Figuring it would give me an uninterrupted evening, I accepted the offer, and went to get the run in a neighboring town.
Arriving at a customer I’d never been to before, I found a small “tech” business tucked away in a small industrial area. In contrast to companies we go to with 20 dock doors and hundreds of cars in the lot, this place had ONE dock door, one roll up door, and about 6 cars in the lot. I checked in, and was escorted back to the ”˜garage’ area, where I was met by a middle aged, very worried looking gentleman. He showed me the two relatively small boxes I would be taking, and proceeded to rattle off a series of instructions, informing me they were extremely fragile, and ”˜up means up’ etc.... He then informed me of the value of these two small boxes of electronic equipment. There was an average middle class yearly salary in these two boxes.
As he scurried around taking pictures of the boxes, and how they were packed, I glanced at the paperwork, and realized the name beside “Salesman”... was also the name over the front door. I got it. This was not ”˜just another shipment’ for a dock worker. He WAS the business, and he was trusting a huge contract to my care. If this shipment (which was going to a large, well known, company) were to be messed up, it could make a difference in the success of his business.
I quickly got my van ready for the boxes, and he called an associate over. They personally loaded the boxes into my van, and continued to ”˜hover’ as I secured them and finished up the paperwork I took extra care strapping them down (using more straps than were absolutely necessary), which seemed to reassure him.... He then asked and made sure this was ”˜dedicated’, that I was the one delivering them; it was not going to a warehouse. I assured him, I would personally deliver them, and told him what time I would be there... he finally relaxed, said “Good”... and signed off on them.
As I drove away, I thought about what it took for him to trust his business to me. I realized of course, he didn’t know me, but he was trusting that FedEx knew what they were doing. In that moment, to him, I WAS FedEx ... and his perception of that company will forever be based on what service I provided. It made me think of not only the responsibility I have to take care of the freight... but also the responsibility I have in representing my company, my business, and myself to customers. Do I appear professional? Is my van clean? I can answer yes to both... but what if I had shown up in flip flops and a dirty t-shirt, and trash fell out of my van as I opened the door? What if I had tossed his precious electronics willy nilly into the back of my van and slammed the door? I dare say, it would have been the last time he used us.
Sometimes... we need to be aware, we're not just carrying another shipment.. we may be carrying the future of some small company.