By Randy Seals, McLeod Software Customer Advocate
In the previous post, I spoke about “why” managing your drivers well is so critical to the success of your business. Now let’s look at the “how.” Here are my Top Ten Rules:
1. Recognize that drivers are important.
Don’t treat them as second-class citizens.
2. Appreciate the positive character traits of people who are drawn to become good professional truck drivers.
They are independent, adventurous, mobile, energetic, ambitious, and responsible.
3. Understand the difficult life that comes with driving a truck.
Drivers face long hours, odd hours, too much time away from home and family, and a lack of good places to sleep, bathe, and eat.
4. Understand what drivers need and want.
Professional drivers don’t want special treatment, but they do want to be treated fairly. They want to be treated with respect and dignity by their employer and the public, and they want reliable, safe, and clean equipment.
5. Follow basic professional guidelines when dealing with drivers.
- Be courteous, tactful, concise, honest, and helpful.
- Offer assistance and show gratitude.
- Always do your part to resolve any complaints.
- Return calls from drivers promptly and answer questions as clearly and thoroughly as possible.
- Do your homework before returning calls so that you have all relevant files and information at hand.
6. Follow these essential rules of communication for all encounters with drivers.
- Show drivers that you take their problems seriously by listening carefully and showing empathy.
- Ask questions to clarify problems.
- Identify the driver’s expectations.
- Ensure that company policies are explained carefully.
- Be willing to admit your mistakes.
7. Avoid common mistakes when interacting with drivers.
- Don’t let an encounter with a driver cause you to lose your cool.
- Don’t tell a driver that you’ll solve a problem and then neglect to follow through.
- Don’t blame other people at the company for the problem at hand.
- Don’t promise solutions to problems that are beyond the scope of your responsibilities.
- Don’t assume that a driver is less professional simply because he or she sounds uneducated or does not speak English well.
8. Handle conflicts with care.
Try to diffuse difficult encounters by sticking to the facts and seeking solutions. Use conflicts as opportunities to educate drivers and to highlight changes that are needed.
9. Be willing to work with your drivers when problems arise.
Give good drivers some extra latitude at times and try to help struggling drivers become good drivers.
10. Be fair.
This means keeping solid records on each driver so that you reward the good drivers and eliminate the drivers who can’t or won’t improve.
Our next post will give you the Eleventh Rule and also using technology to manage your drivers with McLeod Software.