Fuel for Thought
Two words that can have a huge impact. Many people complain about it when they receive a less than adequate version of it, and nowadays it seems nearly non-existent, or at least hard to find. When you are looking for it, you want the best you can get.
Customer Service. Most people know it as an 800 number to call and (try to) resolve an issue with a company. You are the customer, you have a problem and you want satisfaction. There is a certain degree of satisfaction you expect when you purchase goods or services. Whether you purchase a steak dinner or hire a lawn service, you expect to receive what you paid for, and if it is unsatisfactory to you, you have some options. You can ask for the product or service to be replaced or corrected, ask for a refund or ask for a reduced rate for the subpar product or service.
As an owner-operator in the trucking industry, you are the service provider. Your customer expects a certain level of service from you. If you agree to the terms presented to you prior to accepting the load, then it is your DUTY to do everything in your power the complete the agreed task. Sometimes circumstances may play a role in whether you can fulfill your end of the bargain, this is understandable since there are a variety of unknown events that can occur during your trip from point A to point B or even to point C. When you are accepting a load, with known conditions, you have a responsibility to yourself, your customer and possibly many others to do your job and provide excellent customer service. If you fail to do your job it can affect others down the line. If you arrive late, you may be altering someone else’s schedule as well since now you have to be dealt with during someone else’s time to load or unload. This is poor customer service. It could even affect whether you or your carrier receives future loads from the, now angry, customer. You are not out here alone. The image you place in the customer’s mind will affect other owner-operators as well. If you are providing poor service you may not be in business for long. You have invested time and money in your business, do all you can to help it grow.
Secured, no matter how small
If you want to gauge your level of customer service, this is easy to do. Do you have repeat customers? Or are you the last one to get the offer?
Look at the way you operate and ask yourself, if I needed to get something hauled, would I hire me? When you transport something for your own personal needs, do you do anything different? Are you giving your customer the same level of service you would give yourself? Do you take pride in your work? Customers will be happy to receive service beyond their expectations and in most cases will remember the great service for a while, but the memory of bad service will stay with them longer and make it more difficult to get repeat business.
You do not need the newest truck or the shiniest chrome to win a customer over, you just need to provide the service you agreed to do for the customer, and if the opportunity arises, go beyond their expectations. You and your customer will part will a great feeling of satisfaction rather than regret. Yes you have the equipment to do the job, but without customer service to go with it nothing gets done. A steak dinner will not cook itself and a load will not unload itself either.
See you down the road,