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Leading Change Through Driver Feedback

Leading Change With Driver Feedback

Drivers are the heart and soul of the transportation industry. It's a fact, without drivers no product would go anywhere, ever. Despite this, we still hear a lot about drivers being overlooked throught the industry. But what happens when we begin to actively collect and act on feedback from our drivers?

At Nussbuam, we have been using driver feedback to help lead change within our organization for several years, but recently we wondered how we could extend that thinking beyond our own front door.

Each dock they bump, or location they deliver to, is an experience that impacts a driver's draw to the industry.
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Honesty, respect, service, nice equipment, and pay all play a huge role in providing a higher quality of life for drivers at work. But one aspect that is just as crucial to drivers is their experience at the shipper. Are the customers they deal with easy to work with? Do they help meet the needs of a driver miles away from home? The initiatives taken to become a shipper of choice can be anything from shorter wait times at the dock or as simple as a pleasant staff on site and bathrooms at the facility.

Each dock they bump, each location they deliver to, is an experience that could positively or a negatively affect their draw to the industry. Gathering driver feedback and following through with it will be the first step to help carriers and shippers understand what reasonable changes could be made.

One thing our organization has done to capture the pulse of the driver experience at each shipper is to collect the driver's feedback on every load that they run. After each load they deliver, a prompt pops up on their computer asking them to rate that load as “good” or “bad”. To help elaborate on the reasoning for their rating, we then give them the opportunity to add any comments in the next box.

This is where it gets fun.

As a carrier, you really give yourself a unique chance to break through the surface conversations and plunge deep into the meat of what they are truly experiencing onsite. With more than 300 drivers hauling a thousand loads per week, the next steps become clear. It’s one thing to collect this information, but what do you do with it?

One of the ways we have turned this information into actionable steps is by tracking the percentage of loads that are marked “good”.

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As a company, we have challenged ourselves to a goal of a 96% load satisfaction rating. Each week we pull up the data and look through the comments made for both the “good” loads and the “bad”. The reasoning may vary, but what you start to see is a trend at specific shipping locations.

We also pick a driver, give him/her a call, and simply listen. Using the positive feedback, we make calls to our customers to praise them and congratulate them for their success. Even citing specific examples that a driver had noted about one of their dock workers, guards or overall experience with that shipper.

Similarly, we take the locations that are trending “bad” and communicate it to our customers or our operations people if it is a reasonable and “fixable” issue. Our goal is not to be a difficult carrier to do business with. The opposite is true. Talking through a situation at one of your customer’s locations can be a very insightful conversation. It fulfills the definition of being a business partner and strengthens the relationships between shipper and carrier.

Diligently following through with the feedback received from the drivers in your fleet can lead to big improvements. With drivers, carriers, and shippers working together, we inch closer towards an industry that is more pleasant for all to work in. 

As Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people”.

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