Originally appeared in Fleet Owner
To be agile means to be able to move quickly and easily. In today’s highly competitive trucking industry, agility is an important attribute for long-term success.
However, agility doesn’t just happen. Here are some steps you can take to get the process started:
- Share your vision: Make sure all employees understand your vision and mission statements as well as your definition of customer service. They can use this information when trying to resolve a customer issue. If the solution is aligned with your value and mission statements, your employees will be confident in their decision to assist the customer.
- Empower/train employees: In order to be agile, employees need to be able to respond when a problem arises. This means you are going to have to empower your employees to resolve these issues, and you are going to have to support their solutions. Try role-playing examples of issues that have arisen in the past to see how employees handle problems. Debrief after the exercise to tell them what they did right and what could have been improved.
- Eliminate siloes: Keeping information in departmental siloes inhibits agility. Your customer-facing employees need to understand the big picture and how the decisions they make regarding problem resolution fit into the overall organization. You don’t want them to make a decision that might be good for one department but have negative ramifications in another. Unless they are able to access information across the organization, they are in danger of making those types of decisions.
- Establish guidelines: Make sure employees are clear about which situations they can handle, and which require involving a manager or executive. You can set monetary limits on their decisions, use customer size as a criterion, or use any other criterion that makes sense for your organization. Make sure there is a clear plan for addressing problems that are outside of your preset parameters. In this way, the employee will be able to inform the customer about the person who will be handling the complaint.
The trucking industry is likely to continue to be competitive. Having an agile team may give you an advantage that will keep customers coming back.