Nothing keeps customers happy like efficient, on-time deliveries. Follow these tips to make sure your fleet service remains uninterrupted for your clients.
Nothing leads to unsatisfied customers more than receiving late deliveries or goods arriving in a poor condition. Providing a level of service that keeps your customers happy is essential, so that they keep working with your organisation.
Delivering goods on time, in the desired state and ensuring trucks arrive on schedule means overcoming a number of external hurdles to create an uninterrupted fleet. When you’re in this position of responsibility, it’s vital you do everything you can to meet the expectations of your customers by running an operation that is as efficient, timely and trustworthy as possible.
The importance of a smooth service
A fully-operational fleet needs to deliver a regular, uninterrupted service to keep clients, drivers and stakeholders happy. However, your fleet can be disrupted by numerous internal and external factors, such as:
- Driver error
- Miscommunication between office and drivers
- Vehicle breakdowns
- Vehicle break-ins
- Maintenance downtime
- Vehicle unavailability
- Driver unavailability (scarcity, illness)
- Heavy traffic
- Interruptions by customs
- Compliance issues
- Bad weather
These factors not only make your life as a fleet manager difficult, they can also have a huge and lasting impact on customer satisfaction. Customers are the beating heart of any company, and late or damaged deliveries will reflect poorly on your company and may lose you a loyal customer.
On the other hand, a happy customer who receives excellent service will likely stick with you, possibly increasing their order and recommending you to other potential clients. Focusing on their satisfaction should be a central tenet of your fleet management. Do what you can to eliminate internal factors and take preventative action to reduce the impact of external ones to run as close to an uninterrupted fleet operation as possible that leaves customers feeling satisfied.
Top tips for an uninterrupted fleet
When it comes to providing an uninterrupted service for your client base – preparation, training, software and modern technology can all help you deliver.
Reduce vehicle downtime
One of the biggest issues that negatively affect service quality is vehicle downtime. Your vehicles are a key link in supply chains, ensuring deliveries are made on time and when expected. Having a truck off the road can be costly – averaging €900 per day..
As a fleet manager, there are several things you can do to increase the uptime in your fleet and ensure you keep customers happy:
- Perform regular vehicle maintenance. Schedule in health checks and service your vehicles frequently to ensure your trucks are in optimal condition and prevent unforeseen breakdowns.
- Install advanced driver assistance systems. Use ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) to protect your fleet and drivers, like OnGuardMAX™. This provides emergency braking, helping your drivers reduce the chance of collisions and unexpected vehicle downtime.
- Monitor with fleet management software. Receive data from your fleet with intelligent solutions – such as TX-DIAGNOSTIX – which monitors your trucks, flags errors and suggests solutions. You can take action in advance to address issues earlier, before they escalate and result in vehicles being off the road for longer.
It’s important to protect your cargo, as stolen or damaged items can affect your bottom line, delay future deliveries and negatively impact customer relationships. Research has shown that there is an average annual loss of €235,000 per fleet due to cargo crime, demonstrating the financial threat it poses to fleets.
Consider both mechanical and electronic security solutions, like OptiLock™ , to help protect against cargo crime. By retrofitting locks that can be fixed manually and controlled remotely, you can more effectively prevent break-ins. Training your team of drivers to follow best practices, like going through vehicle checks when they take breaks or leave the vehicle, can also ensure trucks and cargo in trailers are securely contained.
It’s also vital to keep communication channels open with customers if there is a theft. Inform them immediately to be transparent and make them aware of a delay, to help try to maintain that all-important trust.
Find optimum routes
Optimum driving routes not only save on fuel costs and reduce the environmental impact of your fleet, they can ensure a timely delivery of cargo – keeping customers happy. By identifying the roads that will get trucks from A to B quickest, you can avoid delays caused by traffic, accidents, road works and poor weather.
Adopting fleet management software like TX-CONNECT , which links with the on-board computer, can help you effectively communicate with your drivers while they are on-the-road and inform them of the correct routes to take in the event of any unforeseen delays.
Use the best drivers
Ensuring uninterrupted fleet performance isn’t just about the vehicles – it’s also about your drivers. Intelligent software such as TX-ECO can provide you with up-to-date statistics on economical and ecological aspects of your drivers’ driving styles, using telematics from the trucks.
This informs you of your most efficient and reliable drivers, who you can then assign to the most challenging deliveries and/or important customers. It can also show you which drivers need training, whether for driving in a fuel-efficient way or maximising security of the truck and trailer.
Drivers also directly interact with customers, so it is essential they act accordingly as they are representing your business. TopDriver training offers a ‘Service Providers and Image Carriers’ module that can get your drivers up to speed and help them deliver the best possible service.
Measure customer satisfaction
WABCO software can help when you’re assessing customer satisfaction levels. In addition, a powerful insight can come through direct feedback from your clients. Survey your customers to see what you’re doing right – and wrong.
Getting feedback is vital, as it will allow you to see where improvements need to be made to improve customer satisfaction. If there are complaints around late, damaged or missing deliveries then it will be a clear sign that you need to change things to offer a better, uninterrupted fleet service.