Does your company have a fleet of delivery trucks or vans? Many do and they employ professional drivers to deliver products to customers and act as an ambassador for your brand and in many cases the face of your company.

But how well are your drivers trained for this job? I am not referring to their ability to drive a truck or safely negotiate a crowded freeway that is taught in driving school when they obtained their CDL. I’m asking about their ability to professionally and effectively interact, to present an outstanding image to your customers so they see you that run a high-quality delivery operation.

Your delivery drivers have a larger impact on your customers than most people realize. Consider the following:

  • Drivers typically spend more time at your customers than sales people.
  • Drivers are often viewed as “the face” of your company.
  • A professional interaction with a customer will leave an impression that often is passed up to the purchasing or executive group.
  • Drivers can influence sales at a customer.
  • A negative interaction with a driver can cause you to lose the next sale.
  • A properly trained driver can lessen the impact of an ordering or shipping error.

So how do you prepare your drivers to ensure a professional interaction that leaves a positive impression? Most companies, unfortunately, do not provide any type of customer service training for their drivers and assume they will act professionally. The common thought is “He’s just delivering product to the back dock, why does he need training?” People who think that clearly don’t understand the interaction that happens between a driver and customer. Progressive companies are now providing customer service training to their drivers that includes:

✓ Proper and professional greeting upon arrival.

✓ Brief but pleasant small talk to build relationships.

✓ Setting expectations with customers for unloading, checking and paperwork procedures.

✓ Safely unloading and making the delivery.

✓ How to deal with unexpected circumstances.

✓ How to deal with irritated, angry customers.

✓ How to professionally handle the impromptu request for additional services.

✓ Professional dress and personal hygiene.

A poorly trained driver who is dressed sloppily, doesn’t have his paperwork organized, does not greet the customer pleasantly, becomes defensive if confronted about a problem and doesn’t know how to handle an unusual request will leave a very bad impression. Receiving supervisors typically have a good working relationship with the buyers and they do share information about vendors and a driver is a representative of you, the vendor. A series of negative comments about a poorly trained driver can quickly impact a buying decision. Alternately, positive comments about professional and cooperative drivers who are attentive, efficient (quick deliveries = lower receiving labor) and helpful may push the next order your way.

Training your drivers to have great customer service skills is surprisingly easy and not only the customers but also the drivers will appreciate the training. Online training or e-learning is an easy and inexpensive way to ensure your drivers are trained with the skills you want them to exhibit to your customers. E-learning will train all drivers the same way and with online activities and quizzes you will be certain they understand the customer service aspect of their job.

So consider what many high-performing delivery organizations are doing and establish a formal customer service training program for your drivers. Your customers will notice it, your drivers will appreciate it and your earnings will grow because of it. To learn more about eLearning check out our case studies.

Ted Stoecker

Ted Stoecker

Ted is an executive level leader in distribution, logistics and warehousing with over 30 years managing multi-site operations with over 2000 team members in 32 locations. He has installed a WMS and LMS (labor management system) for a $5 billion manufacturer/distributor and has improved all KPI’s through the use of enhanced learning and training programs. Ted was an early adopter of an e-learning system that helped train his team members on all aspects of warehouse functions including safety, quality, productivity, private fleet operations and regulatory compliance. He has over 8 years of experience with an LMS (Learning Management System) and has achieved consistent, positive results with customized training designed specifically for his team and his organization.

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