For brokers hoping to retain carriers and cut down on so-called “one-load wonders,” creating an engaging carrier experience is vital. Competitive rates will convince a carrier to pick up a load, but the right combination of relationship and convenience will keep them coming back to the same broker over and over.
Creating an environment that makes carriers want to stick around involves top-notch communication, ethical decision-making and making the process as easy as possible, according to Tom Curee, Kingsgate Logistics senior vice president of strategy and innovation. That means making calls meaningful, offering fair rates and keeping carriers in the loop.
When new technological tools hit the market, they are often lauded for their ability to eliminate check calls. This is an undeniable positive, saving brokers and drivers alike the hassle of picking up the phone at inopportune or even dangerous moments.
“The tracking is awesome,” Johnson said. “One of my biggest pet peeves has always been getting check calls when I am trying to sleep. With Trucker Tools’ tracking capabilities, brokers know where I am without having to call.”
Brokers should be careful, however, to ensure that eliminating check calls does not lead to eliminating all calls. Technology has made it possible to move a load without picking up the phone, but that does not mean this form of communication should be avoided entirely. Phone calls have always been a tool to build strong relationships for brokers and carriers.
“Brokers need to make sure they are making phone calls for relations, not just phone calls for information,” Curee said.
Beyond simply keeping in touch, there are other ways for brokers to communicate their respect and appreciation for their core carriers. One simple and effective way is by offering those reliable carriers good loads before posting them on public load boards.
“Brokers should make loads available to their top carriers before sending them to the masses. There is a lot of perceived and real value in exclusivity,” Curee said. “You should be providing that to your core carriers. Too many people are living off load boards and discrediting their current carrier base.”
Overall, carriers are willing and ready to adopt new technological tools that effectively make their jobs easier. They appreciate fewer check calls, faster reloads and premium load access.
“Drivers as a whole are pretty resilient,” Johnson said. “Forward movement is not a problem. If a tool makes a job easier, we should be open to using it.”
The oft-painted picture of the reluctant driver may have little to do with drivers’ distaste for technology and more to do with their hesitance to adopt redundant software or tools that simply do not perform as promised.
“I get five emails a week about some new carrier capacity tool, and I think it is so important to identify a product that aligns with your goals,” Curee said. “Once you identify it, you have to go all in. Too many brokerages are trying to be jacks of all trades. You won’t get comfortable enough with any single product. Your operations team won’t know enough about all the tools to help drivers when they call with questions.” Adopting one multiuse tool – like the Trucker Tools suite – will encourage better driver compliance, stronger in-house familiarity and an overall more pleasant experience than adopting multiple single-use tools.