Doing It Right
It is entirely too easy to point out the drivers who are “doing it wrong” when it comes to the trucking industry. It’s fun to be snarky and smart alecky and laugh about rude or clueless behavior. And there are plenty of funny, entertaining posts out there, telling us what not to do.
There are even plenty of stories and websites about big box companies that are doing it wrong. Facebook pages, YouTube videos, and driver profiles that tell us about the negatives in the industry. There is even a Twitter account dedicated to the hashtag #TruckThat.
It’s harder to find those posts on social media and blogs that tell us stories of small, day-to-day interactions between customers, companies, and drivers that highlight how good it feels when it’s right. Chris and I have both enjoyed positive encounters and we are happy to have a platform to share them.
The Shipper in Washington – Preferred Freezer Services
We’re always excited to hear we booked a load to the Pacific Northwest. Washington in particular. There is a cold storage facility in Richland that treats drivers right. From when you first check in at the guard shack, to the grass staging area that allows drivers to walk their pets, to the daily potluck for employees and drivers, to the clean bathroom for drivers, we enjoy the interactions at this facility. Not just for the tidy yard, but for the friendly treatment of drivers. It’s a welcome relief.
They even have a sign as you walk out the door, if you plan on staying the night, just checkin at the guard shack. How many times have you been told get out after you’ve been at a facility for 6+ hours waiting for them to get around unloading you. Then they yell at you to get out after they’ve disregarded your federally mandated hours of service. And you’re stuck with no where to go because you’ve run out of driving hours imposed by the federal government and cannot drive legally? Exactly. Which is why this cold storage is getting it right in our eyes. Did I mention, they have a scale onsite where drivers can balance their load before leaving. They offer this service because nearest scale is a few miles down the road. Again, most places want you immediately off the property.
There are lots of lessons in this story. First, congratulations to the folks at this cold storage for providing outstanding service to drivers and employees. That is the key to good business, right? Next, hooray! for allowing drivers to park on the property. With ELD’s in full effect, that’s a smart and safe way to treat drivers who deliver your customers freight.
The worst part about the whole story is that we just missed the BBQ the employees were making that day by a few minutes and ended up ordering pizza. Yes, the local Pizza Hut said they deliver to drivers at that location and happy to say it hit the spot.
The Yogurt Company – Noosa Yoghurt
I am not only a trucker, business owner, graphic designer, and content creator, I’m also a huge fan of yogurt. I know, weird, right? I am fascinated by the latest yogurt creations and incessantly scour the dairy isle for the latest offerings. After hearing about a new brand a few years ago, it became my absolute favorite. Shortly after, we got a load that picked up at a little town in Colorado outside Fort Collins. Sure enough, it was my favorite brand!
When we got there, Chris went inside to check in and came out to tell me they were giving me a tour. How exciting?! After my tour, I told them how much I loved their product, and they ended up giving us two cartons of samples. Best. Day. Ever. 😋
Located on the property is also a small coffee shop. They use their products and milk from their farm in all the recipes. Of course we had to explore and get coffee. We sat back and enjoyed and our drinks while the workers loaded our truck. This alone was a huge deal to us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told no, you cannot use the bathroom let alone go inside and enjoy a latte. I used to work in the marketing departments at several large scale businesses and to see how drivers are treated has been an eye opener for me. I’m also such a fan, I bought a T-shirt and still wear it a year later. As we were leaving, they also told us we could stay the night on their property. We only had 14,000 lbs on us and winds were blowing 60+ mph over Elk Mountain in Wyoming. Which was very thoughtful of them.
All of which makes me advocate how well they treat drivers who haul their freight. They treated us with respect and I’ll continue to be a customer and have even paid more when others are on sale because I know it’s a great product.
You Scream, I Scream for Ice Cream – Ben & Jerry’s
Two years ago, we picked a load out of St. Albans, Vermont and being a huge Ben & Jerry’s fan already, Chris told the shipping department what a huge fan he was. They asked, what’s your favorite flavor? At his surprise, they brought out 4 pints of his favorite, Peanut Buttercup. We also got a tour of the faculty. Which always cool to see how things are done behind the scenes. Also good to note, the faculty was super clean, and didn’t rush us out once we were loaded.
The worst part, the refrigerator in the truck took a dump that day. And there was my hubby, eating all 12,000+ calories in one sitting because he didn’t want the yummy goodness to go to waste. What a trooper!
The lessons to be garnered from these tales of treating drivers right shows success are many. One is that the smallest gesture can have a huge impact. Another is that if the person you impact has a blog, or social media they might tell people about your business. Also, freebies and discounts, even small ones, are a big deal. You don’t have to give away the farm, so to speak, but a sample, a tour, or even a small gesture of letting drivers park at your facility if you keep them past their hours of service, can help you earn hundreds of dollars down the road. Drivers are customers and people too. We have families. We have social media accounts and blogs. And like us, drivers love to tell tales.
Finally, besides enjoying the discounts and gifts, Chris and I were both impressed with the personal effort these businesses made. We didn’t feel like numbers; we felt like valued customers not just drivers. Isn’t that how customers ought to feel?