This year required trucking companies to focus less on key performance indicators, and more on the human factors that really drive the business. One of the themes that emerged during the questionnaire and interview process was not of what message is communicated, but how that message is communicated. Multiple companies acknowledged that the frequency of communications is not nearly as important as the sentiment of the message. Although most carriers recognized they went overboard on frequency during 2020, others decided that the quality of communications was more important.
Whether COVID-19 forced the hands of carriers, multiple companies reported providing formal communication training. One carrier even refined that further and made ‘elocution’ training mandatory for their operations team.
Taking it one step further, two carriers noted their attempts to measure the sentiment of their communications with drivers. One carrier added an application to their phone system to score each phone conversation based on relative positivity. Another carrier attempted to do the same thing with their mobile communications. Did it work? We’ll have to wait until next year. One telling sign will be if other carriers adopt these types of techniques. These efforts, despite their ‘big brother’ undertones, reinforce the fact that carriers acknowledge that drivers that are content don’t generally leave.
Finally, one Best Fleet detailed their efforts, in conjunction with their telematics provider, to record and recognize positive driving behaviors, instead of just tracking the negatives. Those efforts struck us as a highly positive enhancement and we’ll be expecting that others will start using implementing this practice in the future.