date27 August 2020

Making brand ambassadors of your drivers

For most delivery companies, there is no physical shopfront that acts as a first point of contact with customers. Rather, it’s the fleet and the drivers that give customers that all-important first impression of a delivery company’s brand – which is why it’s so important that drivers come across in a positive way.

That said, there’s more to consider now than whether a driver is polite and efficient. The unprecedented events of this year have made customers more reliant on delivery than ever, but also more aware of drivers’ approaches to customer service. Many delivery businesses have also hired extra drivers to meet the increased demand of recent months, temporary staff who may not always be aware of the brand values of the company they’re working for.    

Here’s why it’s more vital than ever to make brand ambassadors of your drivers, and how an EPOD solution can help.

A changing delivery landscape

We can’t talk about the impression a delivery driver makes without placing it in the context of the global pandemic. The need for social distancing has forced every company that delivers goods to adopt new zero contact POD methods, meaning that now EPOD-enabled PDA units and mobile devices aren’t just an industry standard, but an essential safety measure.

Drivers have made increasing use of photographic POD at the delivery point to prove receipt with the customer, and written signatures, even electronic ones, are not in use at all currently.  So much of what customers need and expect from delivery drivers is, right now, tied to maintaining a safe distance, so having reliable and simple-to-use EPOD hardware is a must. Our PODStar handheld devices instantly log POD at the moment of driver confirmation (through a photo or e-signature) and transmit this back to head office in real time for instant invoicing. While social distancing continues, a safe customer experience is crucial to achieving and maintaining positive brand perception.

Road use and driver behaviour is key

It’s not only when a driver arrives at a delivery destination that their conduct should reflect a brand, but when they’re on the road too. In a branded vehicle, poor driving habits such as speeding, undercutting, mobile phone use and smoking at the wheel can all leave pedestrians and other road users with a negative impression or worse still, a fear for their personal safety.

The rising use of dashcams in private and commercial vehicles also makes it more likely that bad driving will be captured on camera. It doesn’t take much for a negative comment or complaint on social media to attract widespread attention. There is more driver accountability than even before, and rightly so, but it means it’s even more important that fleet managers have a clear driver behaviour policy in place.

Mobile devices with EPOD functionality can help here too. With access to a live job manifest on their devices, drivers benefit from the central system’s automated job scheduling and route planning capability, which digitally maps out the most efficient journey to each delivery point. Thanks to the time planned in by the software, there’s less pressure on drivers to rush from job to job or feel too hurried to provide good customer service.

And, when combined with vehicle telematics, an EPOD system and connected hardware can also help manage driving style. Through on-board sensors and geo-location tracking via the mobile device, telematics enables visibility of bad driving habits, so that issues can be addressed and drivers retrained.

Bespoke job information at their fingertips

Many delivery jobs come with extra information or considerations for a driver, and it’s vital that they are aware of these beforehand. A failure to heed special instructions on how to handle fragile or high value goods, where a driver can park when loading or unloading, or particular named recipients for example, is very likely to result in an unhappy customer and a poor brand image, particularly when the info has been given to head office and not made it to the driver themselves.

The PODStar system allows for configurable check lists and bespoke instructions to be added to each job if required, so that a driver can look up any special requirements on their connected mobile device before heading in. They have the information they need to complete the job well and to their customer’s satisfaction without any surprises, and the customer receives the level of service they are expecting.

Interested in finding out more? For further information about PODStar and what it can do for your delivery company’s brand reputation, please get in touch with us today.