In order for delivery drivers to convey the appropriate company message, they need to be aware of the overall mission and vision. Sounds obvious, but it’s often a point that is overlooked.

Craven suggests distributors share the company’s short and long term goals with the entire staff, including drivers. Putting posters up around break and locker rooms or distributing newsletters that promote the initiatives of the company is a couple of ways to get delivery drivers on board with the company’s vision.

“Really just communicate so that they know what the company is up to because they are on the street and not here in the office talking to people all day,” Craven says. “So you really have to take that extra step to have some kind of communication package for them.” 

Drivers armed with a strong knowledge base of the distributor’s goals and product line are able to be more confident, giving way to them approaching their deliveries proactively rather than reactively, says Pancero.

For drivers to take a proactive role “you have to communicate their importance and their importance throughout the company,” he says. “I think the worst customer service person you can put in front of a customer is somebody that feels that they are not important and nobody at their company really cares about them.”

Pancero suggests managers and senior executives regularly spend the day with drivers on their route to gain an understanding of what happens in the field and how to improve that critical point of contact with clients.

“See what their world is really like,” he says. It will remind managers “of the core business that they are in and what their roots are.” 

On the rare occasion that T. Frank McCall’s hires a new driver, he works with more experienced drivers for a good length of time before being allowed to drive the route alone. This allows the new driver to learn from the best in the company in dealing with the customer’s needs.

“We want to make sure they know that the customer is the most important part of their job,” Parker says. “The customer has to be treated with the utmost respect.”
In addition, T. Frank McCall’s drivers are equipped with cell phones so they can call in a problem with an order or a client concern.

Great customer service by a delivery driver can really set a distributor apart from the competition.

“Our drivers do more than just drop off the boxes, some of them will actually help the staff put the boxes away. If it’s in the storeroom or wherever the boxes need to go, the drivers will take that extra step,” says Craven. “Instead of dropping off a stack at the back door, they go that extra mile.”    

Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Wis. He is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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Use Product Deliveries As Sales Opportunities