America: Never Bite the Hand that Feeds You!

It’s 3 AM EST and while you are asleep in your comfortable bed, my husband and millions of other truck drivers are moving freight. Ensuring the comfort and the productivity of America! I had to write this article due to the occurrence of events hours earlier. Let me take you back!

Jimmy and I along with maybe a hundred other truck drivers were at Flying J (#634) truck stop in Temple, Georgia. Well, for those of you who don’t know the process, you scan your Pilot card at a kiosk to utilize a shower credit if you have any or you pay $12. We fuel with them so much that we have credits to use, so we did. That particular truck stop has 10- 12 showers at that time there were no showers available for use. So we grabbed a seat in the drivers lounge to wait patiently. During our 45 minute wait we watched drivers exit the shower area but no attendant in sight. Jimmy checked to see if the attendant was held up in a shower room cleaning, no one was available. Meanwhile, another truck driver stormed off in frustration stating… “this is ridiculous”. Jimmy came from the shower area and went to the fuel desk to complain as well. He had to pass the disgruntled truck driver on his way because he returned worse off than he was when he left and threw down his bag and himself into a chair. I knew then this was not going to end well. A couple of minutes later here comes my mild-mannered husband who is not easily angered looking just as pissed as the other driver. We wait for another 10 minutes and we all are antsy. Totally aggravated, I hurry out to the truck to get the cellphone in attempt to call Flying J corporate. I thought! I kindly asked the two lazy managers at the fuel desk for a comment card or their corporate number and they immediately give me a little soft shoe. They are all out of comment cards and they don’t know the corporate number but they can handle all complaints in store. Yeah right!!!

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How dare you inconvenience me!!!

I’m the kind of person gives people the chance to right their wrong. The teacher in me, felt the need make them aware of the six drivers waiting for showers. As if in a Broadway musical they continued their song and dance with a look of inconvenience. Karen(manager), gave me a look that read “how dare you and the other drivers want or even ask us for a shower!” Remaining calm, cool and collected, I walked off. Ten minutes later our shower number was called. The attendant was the same guy we noticed in a golf cart hauling trash off the fuel line. He was very apologetic and stated he is working alone. His duties include emptying all outside trash cans. Cleaning the men and women’s bathrooms and all showers with no assistance. Yet, at the front counter stands two managers and a cashier. This man is definitely being overworked, my vow to him, Jimmy and another veteran truck driver was that I would complain.

Your complaint will fall on death ears. Nobody cares!

Heart broken and drawn to tears almost inconsolable. The veteran driver had many more years in the business than Jimmy. He said the disrespect and maltreatment of drivers has been going on for years. It’s not going to change! How dare American citizens bite the hands that keep their families clothed and fed? supermarket-665049_640

Not only is it insanity but it is downright “Un American”. These men and women are constantly rolling. There is not a moment of the day that a truck is not hauling freight. Transporting the goods that you as citizens need and want to survive. Look around you! There is nothing that you can set eyes on that is not available due to the efforts of a driver. Whether it be the cars you drive and the fuel it holds, the materials that built your home and all of its amenities, the clothes on the backs of you and your loved ones. The place in which you work every day stands due to a truck driver bringing the supplies to build that establishment. The nerve to look down your nose at these men and women is sickening. They chose to leave behind families to serve their country and for some this is continued service after exiting the military. We put our keys into the doors of our homes 2 maybe four days a month. Child’s first steps are missed, birthdays, anniversaries, proms and graduations. We don’t sit at Starbucks and chew the fat with friends. Drivers are too busy making sure your local Starbucks has cups, coffee and all the other supplies they need to serve you.

Count Your Blessings. Thank a truck driver!!!

While you go throughout your day running errands. Take a minute to think about if the shelves of your local Wal-Mart or Target were bare. How would you feel if you went to the pharmacy and there was no medicine for you or your child? The hospital had no supplies to treat patients. That would mean drivers are no longer hauling freight and its’ partly due to the disrespect and lack of appreciation shown by American citizens. What do you do then? No matter what you do a truck driver cannot and will not be replaced. They are the heartbeat of America and the master-key to your survival.

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Get Social to Enhance Customer Satisfaction.

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I recently wrote an article entitled “Transitioning Your Business in The Growing Virtual Industry”. My article highlighted the change from traditional business practice to the virtual world. It points out how we have moved deeper into the virtual way of running businesses. This change not only affects how we do business but who patronizes our business.

Customers are an important part of every business. Customer satisfaction determines business growth; customers can help a company excel or go belly up. The Genesys Global Satisfaction survey shows that 86% of Americans are satisfied customers. The survey was conducted in 2012 but I feel it still has some merit. My opinion is the percentage has dropped over the past three years, I was unable to find statistical data to support my claims. I’m speaking from a customer’s point of view!

As a customer, I have had some outstanding and horrible service. There are some companies that I will remain loyal to because of their product or the service. While I refuse to patronize a couple due to the poor service I received. I know that I’m not the only customer who feels that way! During my many years of customer service I have worked for a couple of companies that lost customers not because of their products but due to the service. Even before I became an entrepreneur I hated to see them go.

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Is it not disheartening to patronize a company for years then one day call the company to have an issue resolved only to talk to an ineffective IVR system? It’s even more frustrating to sit on hold for thirty minutes before you speak to a representative if you get that far. Thirty minutes to some is not that long but when you are busy with work, in a hurry or have children to look after thirty minutes is an eternity. Some companies have online chat representatives that are waiting to assist their customers. That is not always convenient, especially when there is not an agent available. Online chat agents are limited as to what they can do so they often times refer you back to the customer support line or give you a link to their frequently asked questions. Frequently asked questions is not a solution for all customer’s issues. In the minds of most customers this level of support is unacceptable thus pushing them to sever all ties with the company.

There are many ways businesses can improve customer support thus increasing customer satisfaction and retention. Customers do not want options that are ineffective or not readily available. They want service and a solution to their problem. Scripted representatives with empathetic opening lines is not effective customer service. I agree with empathizing with the customer but it’s impossible to always understand what the customer is feeling. They want empathy but most importantly they want their issue resolved, quickly and efficiently.

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The companies that choose to utilize social media as means to service their clients will dominate in customer satisfaction. These companies are making themselves more accessible to existing and future customers. Recognizing that increased response time for their customers’ issues is key to survival in this industry. A happy customer is a forever customer!  Most companies use social media strictly for marketing their product and service. Why not use social media to acknowledge and engage with our customers. Outwardly showing the world that we do empathize with our customer. We will efficiently handle your issue! It does not make sense to keep issues and opinions about a product or service hidden. Customers are aware no matter how much we sweep them under the rug. The transparency of handling customer disputes over social media is a bold concept. However, allowing us to acknowledge it and offer a resolution in a reasonable amount of time. Customer service using social media can bring more customers while keeping current customers happy. In my opinion, more companies should consider how social media can enhance customer satisfaction thus improving customer retention.