Think Sales, Not Truck Driver!

Jack watched the award recipients at the safety meeting walk up to the front one after the other. He had been here before, wondering in his mind why he didn’t ever win an award for safety or performance? Oh he was a safe driver and he had truck picturedecent time management skills but he just didn’t seem to get into the award category. He also noticed that it was the same five people every year that seemed to receive the award. He also noticed that they all seemed to hang around each other at work, they all had the best equipment, and they all had good attitudes about the industry. Jack felt there was something missing, why was he missing out? He decided after the safety meeting he would pull one of the award members aside and see if he could find out what the others were doing differently?

After the meeting Jack pulled aside John, he chose John because the two got along pretty good and he could trust John to give him the right information, after all he had been a trainer for the company over the years and was good at giving information. “John, what are the five of you doing differently on the road to win awards every year at the safety meetings, is there a secret to the way you operate?”, asked Jack. John smiled as he had been asked this before by a number of drivers, ”The trick is not really a trick Jack. On the road I run quite differently than other drivers. I turn my company into a mobile office and I am the General Manager of that office. I treat my customers as if they are directly paying me and I am bidding on my own freight.” Jack still didn’t understand completely and asked,”I understand the theory he said but how does that help you run better. We all understand customer service is important for our jobs.” John looked at him almost sadly and said, “It isn’t just customer service, it is customer ownership, it takes customer service to a whole new level. Here is how it works, when you think like the CEO you look at your job from a higher level, you see the big picture. On the road I make sure I trip plan very carefully so that I am on time all the time, I call the customer when I am an hour out and let them know my arrival time if I have a hot load. I make sure I am neat and clean both personally and my truck, and I follow all the directions on company property while being easy to get along with. I prepare the truck so the customer is not waiting on me to move things around and it looks good at all times. I make sure their freight is as safe and secure as their own children and when I leave I hand them my business card.” Jack was shocked as he asked,”You have business cards, where do you get those?” John smiled as he said,”I used to carry ones from the company but after a while I made up my own. They have been great at getting me awarded for customer service as you noticed.” Jack read the card that John handed him. On the front it had John’s name and the company logo and information, on the back it read, “If you would like to comment on the professionalism of this driver please call or email through the information below.” John went on to tell Jack that people call all the time. Jack later found out that the other five award winners were doing similar types of systems. Jack made it a point from that moment on to step up his customer service program, he would be the award winner next time.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a transportation consultant with over 30 years of experience and author of the books Running by the Mile, and Driven to Drive. More information can be found on his website at

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