Effective customer communication is the secret sauce when building and maintaining a successful transportation business. In fact, our site data reveals that transporters utilizing our site who develop an engaging customer communication process are about 56 times more likely to win a shipment.
We’ve asked our most successful transporters for their insight on what is important when developing a purposeful communication process. While it’s essential that your personality and professionalism shine through in your own unique way, consider the following best practices as a good place to start:
Give Your Profile the Time it Deserves
Your transporter profile provides customers with their first impression of you. Make sure it’s a good one that makes an impact. This is how you can set yourself apart from other transporters from the get-go. Here are simple ways to make your profile stand out:
Use a professional profile photo – you want customers to take you seriously. Remember not to include any personally identifying details such as a phone number or other contact information.
Create a compelling profile description that emphasizes your strengths.
- How many successful transports have you made?
- How many years transporting, whether on CitizenShipper or elsewhere
- The customer experience you provide includes photos, GPS tracking, and other valuable tools
- An unusual or interesting fact relevant to your transport service
Take advantage of CitizenShipper programs that enhance your credibility.
- Earn certification badges that appear on your profile such as USDA Registered, Background Checked, and Red Cross Certified Pet CPR
Develop and Implement a Consistent Customer Communication Plan
It’s not as daunting as it sounds. It just means, deciding what you want to say to customers – when and how often. Now apply it to each and every customer. This will help you stay on top of every transport and deliver a consistently satisfying customer experience. Over time, it will also help you identify where your transport communication process needs tweaking to remain effective.
Below are some additional ideas for when, why, and how to connect with customers during various stages of the transport process:
When submitting a bid
Speed is your friend!
- CitizenShipper customers tell us that transporters who respond to a listing quickly are more likely to win the shipment
- Follow-up if you don’t get a response to your bid, especially if your introduction message was seen by the customer!
- Shippers often need a little nudge, and a quick but polite message may give the push they need while demonstrating your professionalism
Once the shipper shows interest in your bid
- Respond promptly and address any questions or concerns thoroughly
- If the shipper proposes a bid amount that is not profitable for you, offer a counter amount or politely decline if the amounts are too far apart
- There’s always a next time and another shipment – keep the conversation light and friendly and end on a positive note
- Use this helpful information to ensure you bid competitively.
After the shipper accepts your bid and books the shipment
- Confirm details and tie up any loose ends with the shipper to ensure a smooth, safe, and seamless transport.
- Determine how and how often you will check in with the shipper during the transport.
- Settle on payment terms prior to pick-up.
Upon completing a successful delivery
- Ask the shipper to rate your service on CitizenShipper
- Reviews are featured in your profile and are another great way to attract future customers and elevate your overall customer service message
Create authentic content that represents you
Regardless of how and when you communicate with customers, keep in mind that your words count. While short replies and one-word answers may suffice for other conversations, you want the content you send to customers to be personable, natural, and engaging. It should reflect your personality and drive toward building a relationship, not just a contact stream.
For example, if you sent a request for a bid to ship a pet, which of these two messages would you be more likely to respond to?
I'll be in the area next week. I could do this for $500.
Hey there! My name is Candace and I'm an experienced transportation provider with a perfect safety record, clean license, and full coverage insurance. I've been transporting dogs for three years now and LOVE animals. We stay in pet-friendly motels for the trip, and we secure your pet safe during the transport in a carrier. I'll make regular rest stops and I'll also send you regular pictures so you can see that your baby is happy and safe. Before I place a quote may I ask if you have a budget in mind?
The overwhelming majority of the shippers who use our site choose Message #2. Why? Here are a few techniques that were included that you can consider when creating your message content:
- Make the content about THEM and THEIR shipment vs making it about YOURSELF.
- Be concise and organized in your responses. Break one long sentence into 2-3 shorter ones.
- Be truthful and set realistic expectations; they're looking for a HUMAN and not a ROBOT.
- Seek to put the shipper at ease, they are entrusting something of value to you – let them understand you know that.
- Always maintain a professional demeanor and be yourself. Let what is special about your transport service speak for itself.
For additional help developing your customer communication process, consider attending one of our driver webinars. You can find more information or sign up for the next no-cost, online session here. We’re here to help you succeed!
What to read next
For more advice on getting building your transportation business, check out our articles on upfront payments (3-min read) and writing intros that sell (5-min read).
For advice on managing your CitizenShipper profile, see Setting up your account.
For advice on winning shipments, see Bidding and payments.
I'm new to Citizen Shipper.....how do you send a message to a customer before placing a bid ?
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