In any retail store or car dealership, employees are the major point of contact for the customers who come in to purchase items. They’re the folks who spend the greatest amount of time with the customer, thus having the greatest influence on any consumer’s experience with that business.
The same holds true for any trucking company, but it is even of greater importance for the small or micro motor carrier. Why? Small carriers have far fewer total shippers and so each one is worth their weight in gold to the success of the trucking company. Your top “brand ambassadors” are your truckers.
When looking at how customers perceive your company, one concern you should have is the consistency with which your drivers deliver the message and service. This is developed through branding your company. Just like in the Old West, you know which cattle belong to what ranch by the brand on the rear flank of a steer. Cattle buyers immediately know other information by identifying the brand, such as things like the quality of the meat that a particular steer would provide through the reputation and previous experience of dealing with the owner of that brand.
I’m not suggesting you take a hot branding iron to each one of your truckers’ rear flanks, but what are some ways to utilize your drivers as brand ambassadors for your operation? Here are three ideas to help your truckers become your company’s top ambassadors to your shippers, receivers and brokers.
- Consistency in dress. Establish a specific dress code for your drivers when they are driving, loading or unloading, and any time they’ll be in contact with customers or even potential customers. This uniform needs to be unique. The message it conveys should be that “this is the company we represent.” For example, one refrigerated freight hauler provided his truckers with straw cowboy hats in the summer (and black felt ones in the winter) and blue western shirts with the company’s logo embroidered over the left pocket. The drivers all wore denim jeans and black stockman boots. The outfit made it easy to identify the drivers and the company for which they drove.
- Have a distinctive, easy-to-recognize logo placed on each tractor and trailer. You’re required by regulations to display the company name, domiciled city, and DOT or MC number on each truck anyway, so incorporate your logo into that particular decal. Place your logos consistently in the same location on all tractors and trailers, including your lease operator’s tractors.
- Treat your drivers courteously. Treating your drivers the way you want them to treat your customers will go a long way toward reinforcing recognition of your brand. You’ll never have to be concerned with leaving a negative image of your company.
You’ve achieved brand recognition when current and potential customers think of your trucking company as synonymous with high-quality service. By involving your truckers directly in the branding process, they’ll have a personal investment in their success as well as the success of your carrier.