Josh Christie is the VP of Marketing & Recruiting at D&L Transport
In a world of high tech at your fingertips, it’s too easy to rely on technology, expecting it to address you and your customers’ need for up-to-date information about their shipping. That may work up to a point. However, high touch and high technology build customer relationships and, in turn, your business.
One critical element of high-touch service is customer check calls. This article provides a starting point to fine-tune your customer check calls.
What is a Customer Check Call?
A customer check call is calling the carrier dispatcher or the driver to check on the status of the load. It’s all about keeping in touch with your customer’s shipment. It’s critical to alert you to any challenges or delays so that you can proactively help make expediting decisions or at least promptly relay them to your customer.
The frequency of calls and the method can vary with the specific load or customer expectations. Some loads may require only a quick update once a day. Other loads may require GPS tracking and even photos for the duration of the journey.
Sometimes text messages and even emails can be used. But a phone call with a driver is very effective at keeping on top of things. The driver knows exactly what’s happening with the load. They may also welcome the opportunity for a conversation.
At a minimum, there must be a load call and an empty call. The load call verifies that the load has been picked up. The empty call confirms delivery. But the daily or more frequent call can keep you up-to-speed on load status and be used as a customer service touchpoint.
Check Calls Build Customer Relationships
Check calls will keep you on top of all your shipments. You’ll be ready to deal with any customer calls or concerns with the critical information at your fingertips. But it also provides the opportunity to call your customers regularly, if not daily, to advise them on the status of their shipment. As easy as it sounds, very few Agents take the time to reach out personally. However, the successful ones do. This simple exercise can set you apart immediately.
With those calls, you’ll demonstrate that you take their load seriously and can be relied upon. It’s also an opportunity to ask your customer for any other loads you can move for them. While they may not have anything at that moment, you’ve planted a seed that you’re interested in providing service when needed.
Over time they may feel confident enough to inform you about upcoming loads that aren’t quite ready for bidding. Get what details you can and place them on your load board. As trucking companies call you about that load, it gives you yet one more opportunity to check in with your customer, letting them know of the interest you’ve found. You’re demonstrating that you’re on their team.
Customer Check Call Best Practices
You can see how customer check calls can keep you on top of shipments and build your reputation for solid customer service, leading to more business from your happy customers. So, what are the best practices to use in your calls? Here’s our shortlist.
- Make check calls part of your daily routine. First thing in the morning can set the stage for your customer calls later in the day. It can also prepare you to respond to any incoming customer calls readily. Regardless of the time you choose, add it to your calendar and make it happen daily.
- Establish a standardized process with a detailed list of questions. Use a checklist to ensure you get the information needed to help respond to customer inquiries. You may also use different checklists for different types of shipments or the specific shipment stage, from load to empty calls.
- Document every call. It’s tough to keep everything top of mind. That’s where your documentation comes into play. Write it down using the checklist above as your guide. Also, make sure you document the follow-up calls for any unanswered calls. Note, too, that your documentation can help minimize or address any claims.
Use the Best Technology
Customer check calls can build your business through solid customer service. But don’t neglect any aspect of customer service in the process. Technology must be harnessed to serve you, your customers, and the shippers. That’s why ensuring you use the best systems to support your business is essential. That’s why we’ve invested time and money to offer the best technology to our Agents, including training and support.
At the big picture level, we’ve identified six key factors for any freight agency: support, technology, commission, strength, culture, and benefits. You can learn more in our article What to Look for in a Freight Agency Program.
We’re biased. We feel that our freight agency program is the best in the business. To see for yourself, look at our Agent Opportunities page. You can also hear directly from our successful Agents. Then, get in touch, and we can get started.
Call toll-free: 866.559.0203. Or complete the form at D&L Agent Requirements.
D&L Transport. Your Family in Freight.