It’s too easy to think that a trucking customer only wants the cheapest price.

There are two kinds of customers.what-does-the-trucking-customer-want-fb

The first kind is all about the price.  They often aren’t tied to deadlines and strict schedules so they aren’t concerned about service, just delivery. The other kind is about the service.  They understand that the cheapest trucker isn’t necessarily the best for them  in the long run. The battle for the cheapest rate is a losing war for everyone. A trucking firm that doesn’t make enough money isn’t going to keep quality drivers in safe, well-maintained equipment. The trucking customer who’s always paying the lowest price for a load is going to discover that the truckers who have agreed to take the loads might start having breakdowns and can’t pick up that load  because they haven’t taken care of their vehicles – or  because the trucker found a better-paying load elsewhere. Nobody wins. The wise fleet manager is on the lookout for the customers who respect the shipping industry and pays a fair wage.  Those are the customers you want. What does that customer want? When you know the best trucking customer’s priorities, then you’re ready to start working with them.

What Are Our Trucking Customer’s Priorities?

  1.  On Time Delivery  The business world now faces a regulatory system as nasty as the trucking industry does with taxes on inventory and warehouse space.  Businesses don’t want to have supplies on hand too early nor keep their product on the shelf too long.  It’s all on-demand and we’re the engine that moves the goods from place to place.  We’re probably the one part they don’t have much control over. They want to be confident that the delivery will be on schedule.
  2. Safe and Secure Transportation  No one wants to get the phone call that a delivery has been lost due to an accident or theft.  As truckers face more difficulties finding safe overnight parking and we head into the stormy winter months, all of us are concerned about the time our loads are on the road.
  3.  Reasonable Rates  As a trucker, you look at what people want to pay to haul a load out of Florida or New England and you have to wonder if they really want their load to move if they’re only willing to pay that much money… Often shipping is seen as a place where money can be saved by a manufacturer.  They want the lowest possible price to transport their goods.  Whether those rates are reasonable is entirely another matter.  But the best trucking customer who wants a responsible trucker with a reliable rig and a good reputation will pay more for those.

The Fleet Manager’s Response

It’s all too easy to blame it all on the roads, the detours, the accidents, the weather… and lose a potential long-term trucking customer.  The keys are simple:  response and responsibility. By recognizing a trucking customer’s priorities, a fleet manager has the opportunity to build a positive relationship even when there are problems.  A pickup is delayed?  Immediate communication and frequent updates can help maintain a good relationship even in the worst of situations.  A breakdown or an accident?  You can earn a lot of goodwill by expediting whatever insurance and alternative resources that you have. Respond in the most positive, proactive manner you can.  Keep the customer’s needs in mind as your highest priority .  This doesn’t mean you ignore your drivers – not at all.  That’s the tough part of being a manager – you have to manage both.  (That’s why you’re paid the big bucks.) Over time, you’re going to build relationships with the customers who value you and your services.  Your team and your drivers will benefit from working with companies that respect them.  You’ll see lanes and loads for transportation for your business. That’s what everybody wants.

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