As a professional truck driver, your workplace isn’t a back office cubicle or cavernous warehouse. Your workplace is the highways and the roads crisscrossing the nation.
Succeeding in the industry requires you to maintain a certain level of decorum and professionalism at all times. It goes beyond safety and technique. As such there are certain skills, techniques and understanding of regulatory requirements required to land, secure or build a job, career or company within the trucking industry.
Managing the Image
As with any company, advocacy group or industry, it doesn’t take much for the bad actions of a few players to tarnish the entire group’s public image. This holds especially true for the trucking industry.
When a truck driver or fleet operator is rude or aggressive, drives poorly or exhibit unbecoming a true professional, it leaves people with a bad impression of what it means to be a professional truck driver working in a positive industry.
There is no shortage of consequences for an industry when they are struggling with a poor public image. Being saddled with a poor public image often results in new or changes laws or regulations – changes which can be costly or unwarranted.
When working in our industry, it is important to remember the credo that when someone has a bad experience, they will often tell at least ten others if her or his experience. Don’t be that one operator that leaves a bad taste in ten people’s mouths.
Working with the Public
There’s no two bones about it, you are the face of your company. Everything you do, from the appearance of your vehicle to your personal conduct is a reflection of how you or your company is viewed by the public.
The first, and arguably most important, aspect of how truck drivers interact with the public lies in how they drive. Projecting a professional image requires you to always follow the rules of the road, state and local laws and regulations.
Always maintain good driving habits, from following the posted speed limits to maintaining safe distance between you and other vehicles. Think we are talking about only when you’re driving your rig? Nope. Being a professional means driving your passenger vehicle safely as well.
Your vehicle is a rolling advertisement for you or your operation. Some say the first impression is the only one that counts. Both how you drive your vehicle and how it looks are of vital importance.
Is your vehicle clean and well maintained? A poorly maintained or filthy vehicle sends a message about you or your company. Trust us, it isn’t a good one.
And while your vehicle’s appearance is important, so is yours. Are your clothes neat, clean and appropriate for the workplace? Is your hair neat and trimmed and are you exercising proper cleanliness?
Whether you work in the CEO’s suite of a Fortune 500 company or spend your time enjoying the joy of the open road as a truck driver, proper personal appearance is not only important, but necessary.
Managing Customer Relations
In today’s complex marketplace, the majority of the contact between you or your customer is done via phone or computer. In some cases, the truck driver is the only person representing the company in face-to-face interactions with the customer. This is why conduct is so important in how you or your company is viewed.
Make sure you are always on time. Sure, there are times when shippers or receivers aren’t ready, but we aren’t talking about them right now, we are talking about fleets and truck drivers.
Manage your customer relations with ease by being courteous, knowledgeable and respectful. In the end, we are all partners in keeping the trucking industry strong. Never forget that properly managing your image and customer relations goes beyond a fleeting idea or half-hearted initiative. Be the face of the company you want to project.