Will you look inside a book when the cover does not interest you ?


It has always been important for me to look at my business through my customer’s view point. Let’s face it we all have an opinion on the services we experience from other businesses on a daily basis.


Let’s say you go into a new restaurant which has just opened in your community. The service you experience is poor and the food isn’t really that good either. When the check comes, your bill seems a bit high in relation to the value you just received. How soon do you think it will be before you decide to return to that particular establishment? Also, are you going to want to refer your friends, family or neighbors to this restaurant based on your experience?


The example above is not any different from a service that you provide to a customer. Trucking is a people and service business and therefore, the first impression you make needs to be the right one. A great first impression will go a long way to securing your business with a customer. Follow through is big here. For example: have you ever picked up and read a book based on its cover just to begin reading the inside and realize the only worthwhile part of the book was its cover. The cover had you interested however, the material wasn’t good. The opposite can hold true where the inside story of the book is great, however the cover wasn’t inspiring enough for you to have any interest in opening the book. The best scenario is to offer a great cover and great story to match.


My goal is to have my customers view me as a partner in their business. I feel we both have a shared interest when we develop a mutually beneficial relationship with one another. When I leave my shipper/customer to transport their load, I am a representative of my customer. It’s important for me to represent my customer in a positive way to the consignee at all times. If you conduct yourself in a negative manner while at the shipper/customer…just think what must be going through their mind. They might be wondering just how you will represent them at their customer when you arrive to deliver the shipment.


For me, it’s important to display a professional attitude and appearance at all times while on the job no matter if I’m at the customer or consignee. Here are a couple stories from my own experience in dealing with one of my customers.


I have always done my best to deliver an efficient operation for my trucking company. A shipping manager and I were once discussing in his office how high fuel prices had become. He happened to look out his window and noticed a carrier (my direct competition) who had just arrived to pick up a shipment. The manager told me how he is so tired of this carrier constantly complaining to him about the high fuel prices. Also, they were nagging him for a rate increase to offset fuel prices. Their current fuel surcharge was not adequate in offsetting their costs. He pointed out to me to look out the window and observe how non efficient their equipment appeared to be. He also felt that their goal was to burn as much fuel as they possibly could. When I looked at this carrier’s equipment, I couldn’t help but agree with this shipping manager. To top it off, while at the same shipper, this carrier’s equipment was too heavy and didn’t offer adequate pay load capacity to handle the job at hand. The manager had me take note to a driver who was getting out of the truck of this same carrier. The manager’s words to me were “look at this driver…he is going next to deliver to my customer.” The driver looked like a “homeless person” on the street. He was filthy dirty, ragged clothes and offered a horrible appearance. This individual may have been a great person, however did not represent himself, his carrier or his carrier’s customer in a professional manner. I said to my customer “if all of this bothers you so much, then why are you using this carrier”? I already knew the answer but I wanted to hear it from him. He told me “freight capacity was tight and they needed as many carriers as they could get.” Sure enough… when freight capacity returned to normal, I never saw that carrier (my competition) ever again.


 

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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