Great trucking companies make it easy for small business owners to get their goods to customers by providing flexible service options. In our last article, Part 3: How Pallet Shipping Rates Can Help Close the Sale, we discussed the benefits of having predetermined freight rates from your trucking company so that you can provide a potential customer with a quick shipping quote. Now we'll look at how the right transportation partner can make it easy for you to meet your customer's unique requirements.
Trucking has not always been a customer service-focused industry. Deregulation occurred over 25 years ago and it's taken a long time for many trucking companies to adopt flexible service solutions, which leaves small businesses without freight experience no option but to accept their rigid rules.
We found the following common statements listed in the shipping policy sections on the websites of many companies who ship palletized freight to their customers. In most cases (except for the last point of course, which would be a miracle), these statements seem to say "if you have special requirements, you're out of luck".
Shipping Policy Statements that show it may be time to explore better transportation options:
- You should assume that your product will be delivered on a tractor/trailer rig that uses a 53-foot enclosed trailer. Not so! CSA will call ahead to confirm delivery and will be sure to ask about your customer's ability to accept 53' trailers. A 5-ton will be dispatched if a location cannot accept a full trailer.
- The driver is responsible to bring your freight to the back of the truck. You are responsible to remove freight from the back of the truck. This may be true of a dock-to-dock situation but with CSA you have the ability to choose a tailgate delivery option allowing for curbside drop-off. This gives you the capacity to ship freight to customers who don't have facilities like loading docks or forklifts.
- If you MUST have your product delivered on a certain day and at an exact time, we ask that you get in your truck and pick up your product from one of our handy service locations. How inconvenient! Set appointments can be requested from CSA at the time you book your order. We make daily deliveries to major retail chain distribution centres where appointments are the norm.
- Truckers have schedules and cannot spend one hour at every stop to accommodate customers who are not prepared to offload their product. It's true, if a driver had to wait for 1 hour at each stop they would not be able to complete their deliveries but CSA provides customers the option to add extra driver wait times to your order when needed.
- The truck driver is not a magician. They cannot levitate your freight to the ground. They cannot back their 53 foot trailer down your 300 foot, tree-lined driveway and into your barn. Please don't expect them to do this. Can't argue with this one, miracles are extremely tough to perform and freight transportation has its challenges. Factors including bad weather, looking out for driver safety, or trying to overcome a physical limitation of our universe affect all carriers equally.
Good trucking companies go far beyond the "this is the way it's always been done" standard by providing flexible and personalized options to help their customers close the sale. They go above standard client/carrier relationships and through feedback from drivers and customers work to continually improve and adapt new ways to make their customers look great.
Add on service options (in trucking lingo these are called accessorial charges like power tailgate, curbside delivery, trailer demurrage, driver assistance, shrink wrapping, and appointments for pickup or delivery give small businesses who ship to distant customers access to more options to meet their needs and close the sale. For more information on CSA's service options click here.
Still to come, Part 5: Easy Payment Options.
Have a look at the other postings in this series:
Part 3: "How Pallet Shipping Rates Can Help Close the Sale"