Here is a story that I learned in my early years at a private carrier of the right way and the wrong way to conduct yourself at a customer’s facility.
A lifelong lesson unfolded:
I got back to the yard from what was supposed to be my last run of the week on a Friday around lunch. My employer was a private carrier, and my warehouse manager said to me that I had to take a delivery from our location up to Raleigh, NC. I wasn’t particularly happy about this as it was a Friday and I had plans which made the thought of dealing with the traffic along this route less than appealing. However, I said all right, we loaded the truck, and I proceeded on my way, albeit somewhat disgruntled as it had been a long week. Upon arriving at our customer, I was greeted by their receiving clerk who asked me why I was there on a Friday afternoon. I told him I was informed that they had to have this material this afternoon. He looked at me and replied, we didn’t need this material till sometime next week. He went on to explain that their ordering person was on vacation the following week and must have placed the order early to ensure we would have the material when we needed it. This little tidbit of news did not sit well with me as this delivery had delayed my weekend plans. However, I did not let the customer see this emotion. I simply said I am here now so let’s unload it, and I will be on my way.
What’s the message you want your customer to hear?
While we were unloading another vendor showed up to make a delivery. The driver for this other company came storming into the receiving area ranting “who ordered this material late on a Friday afternoon and had to have it today?” The receiving clerk acknowledged his rant and replied, “we did not need this material today, there obviously must have been a miscommunication as that is the same situation with the truck we are unloading now.” The receiving clerk then shared that the materials ordering person was on vacation and placed all of his orders early. At this point, the driver for the other vendor went off on a tirade of how stupid the company he worked for was for sending him out to make this delivery and how they, his employer, should have known better.
And your goal is…
I thought to myself as this situation unfolded, what is he trying to do? Is he trying to convince this customer that his employers were a bunch of incompetent idiots? If so, then would this customer continue to order products from his place of employment? I also wondered how often he communicated that he worked for a bunch of incompetent idiots to customers? Didn’t this driver realize that if he convinced too many of his customer’s that he worked for a bunch of idiots he may not be employed for much longer if his place of business no longer had any customers?
- Always remember who you are representing for each and every transaction.
- Think before you speak
- Keep your emotions in check
- Make it a goal to make a negative experience as positive as possible in your customer's eyes.
This is a lesson I remember every time an adverse situation comes my way when dealing with a customer.