FRIENDLY DRIVERS, MORE BUSINESS
They say good manners cost nothing. In the fleet business, a friendly face and a good attitude can actually generate revenue. You treat your vehicles well, keeping them maintained and on top of their game. Do the same for your drivers, and the effect on your business could be another reason to smile!
Not just on the doorstep
Being a friendly driver is about more than just a smile with every package. Your drivers are at their most visible during their journeys, when they are driving often large and liveried vehicles over long distances.
Courteous road behaviour gets noticed. We’ve all seen the ‘How’s My Driving?’ sticker, and we’ve all waved our fists in impotent fury at the articulated lorry that pulls out suddenly on a dual carriageway. But when trucks flash us into a lane, or let us know when we’re safely past them and can pull back into their lane again? We notice that too.
It’s true that bad behaviour gets noticed more than good behaviour is rewarded, of course. And in an age in which any vehicle could be using a dash cam to record the behaviour of other motorists, it’s more important than ever for your drivers to refrain from doing anything on the road that could end up on someone’s social media feed.
Training drivers to drive responsibly, act with restraint, and be friendly and courteous to other road users is a vital step in mitigating bad feeling and a crucial component of encouraging a good reputation. To the road user, your fleet vehicle is your face: so it’s important that it is seen to be acting in a positive and friendly manner.
Long journeys, heavy traffic, hot weather—they all bring stress to the road user. The professional driver, who is exposed to the poor behaviour of others on a much more intense level than the leisure driver, is also more exposed to stress.
The working environment of the driver is dangerous, time-pressured, and physically unhealthy. Long periods of concentration create the perfect conditions for a person to become tired and irritable. Long stretches of time sitting down render the body more susceptible to aches, pains, long-term conditions like obesity, and increase the risk of illness. And one traffic jam can create a situation in which your driver is forced to balance the requirements of the job with the need to drive in a safe and considerate manner.
With all of these factors at play, stress management should be a major tool in your operational arsenal. Assess the risks of stress at work, and implement measures to diminish them: for example, by factoring in a suitable number of rest stops and educating drivers about the importance of physical and mental health.
A friendly face
Everyone likes to see a friendly face. And just as your fleet vehicles are the ‘face’ of your driver when they’re on the road, the clothes your driver is wearing are what clients notice on their doorstep.
It’s not always necessary or appropriate to wear a uniform. But a smartly liveried employee delivering a package on time and with a smile makes an impression. Over time, as the speed, reliability, and friendliness of the delivery is associated with the colour of the uniform and the logo on the shirt, customers will begin to associate great service with the appearance of your drivers. And that’s when a thriving business becomes a recognisable brand.