What is trucking? Getting your customers (trucking customers that is) product to market so they can succeed and in turn make you successful. Welcome the responsibility your customer has entrusted you with... their success! That responsibility should never be taken lightly. If you do it could jeopardize your own business. More importantly, realize the wonderful opportunity that responsibility offers you and the unlimited potential for your business's success. In any business customer satisfaction is always paramount. In trucking that means reliability and reliability begins with dedication to your customers.
1. Always be early for pickup and delivery. Never plan to be just in time (unless you are doing “just in time” service for your customer). That provides you with at least the possibility to overcome a flat tire, dirty fuel filter, DOT inspection, etc. and still pickup or deliver on time.
2. Set yourself apart and be the one carrier your customer can count on during the holidays. Holidays are the hardest time for customers to find reliable dependable carriers. If you separate yourself above your competition for the holidays your customer is more likely to give you their business during the slow season. They will want to keep you because you are there when they need you the most.
Be thankful for their business and never miss an opportunity to show your thankfulness like...
1. Be kind, wear a smile and always say “please” and “thank you.” No one likes working with someone with an attitude or a chip on their shoulder. Just like Grandma used to say “you reap what you sow.”
2. Give gift certificates. Not only to the person responsible for giving you their business but also the employees loading your trailer. It is a very inexpensive way to show the forklift operators you appreciate them and what they do. In return they will be more inclined to take additional care when loading your trailer.
3. Be understanding. Just like trucking has unexpected chaos our customers businesses have challenges and chaos as well. If you are not willing to be understanding, patient and cooperative do you think your customer will be understanding, patient and cooperative the next time your pickup or delivery is late due to a break down?
Treat all your customers as valued business partners. Always remember that a customer is who you send your invoice to and expect payment from. That includes brokers. Brokers are not the enemy and sometimes come in very handy when the need arises.
Locating potential new customers is not as hard as you think. When I first started my own trucking company and with only 1 truck to offer my customers I successfully negotiated contracts with and hauled for a variety of companies. To name just a few of the companies I have enjoyed successful business relationships with – Perdue Farms, Odom's Tennessee Pride Sausage, Performance Food Group, Letica Corp., JL Gonzalez, Redline, Omni Meats, Saputo Cheese, Atlas Cold Storage, Gulf Stream Coach and many more. The key to all the successful contracts and business relationships I have developed began with locating them. I'll share with you how I found my customers in an upcoming post "Find Customers Who Need a Truck."