by: Karen Bradley
One key activity that can be challenging but is often neglected by small business is reputation management. A bad review on Google, a disgruntled customer who shares their dissatisfaction with friends, or someone your driver ticked off by their behavior on the road can hurt your business a great deal.
The problem is the technology to spread that dissatisfaction is within reach for nearly any driver. Phones with cameras allow them to catch the truck that cut them off or made an illegal turn, and many drivers have dashcams of their own, allowing footage of poor driver behavior to go viral in a matter of minutes.
Your vehicles represent your company on the road, like a rolling billboard. Accidents and tickets not only look bad to anyone who happens to be driving by, but they also may put your company on the news for all the wrong reasons. In this case, not all publicity is good publicity.
Fleet tracking and vehicle tracking technology can help you stop damaging driver behavior before it gets out of hand. Here are some of the ways it works.
Driver scorecards include things like harsh braking, fast acceleration and cornering, and even sudden lane changes. Not only do these behaviors set your employees up for accidents or tickets, but they can leave a bad impression on the driver who witnesses them. That driver can spread the word of that poor experience far and wide.
This scorecard can be used to coach and train drivers, allowing you to set up a fleet safety program with best practices. Repeat offenders can be written up, sent to driving school, or even fired for repeat offenses.
Set up a system that works for your company and follow the same process every time.
Keep in mind that some offenses may call for more direct and immediate action. Causing or being a part of an accident, endangering other drivers or property, and even more serious behavior may mean skipping one or more of the steps above, including immediate termination.
Be very transparent about this process and let anyone who complains about your driver’s behavior on the road know that action will be taken, and the problem will be addressed. A bad mark on your company’s reputation due to driver behavior can be just as costly as an actual accident.
As a part of fleet tracking, more companies are using cameras focused on the driver. Some have a “live view” that allows fleet managers to see what drivers are doing in real-time. Others have artificial intelligence features that can alert owners and managers if a driver is on the phone, texting, distracted, and even whether they are using their seat belt or not.
This information can be used to educate drivers and coach them on proper behavior. Letting them know the camera is on them can encourage them to behave more appropriately in the first place. It also helps provide additional data for your driver scorecards and justify any action you may need to take.
Other drivers might be upset by your driver’s behavior despite their best intentions. If you have data to back up what your driver or another driver on the road has told you, that information can help you make the right decision, take appropriate action, or exonerate your drivers.
Probably the most vital part of reputation management is driver education. Remind drivers that your vehicle is a billboard for your company.
The more your drivers know, the more they can work to be part of the solution to reputation management.
Another part of reputation management is to have clear company contact information on each vehicle.
Your company vehicle is like a billboard, a rolling advertisement for your business, good or bad. Reputation management on the road is an important part of fleet management, and vehicle tracking can help you prevent complaints, confirm data if they do happen, and take the proper corrective action when needed.
You can’t prevent every complaint, accident, and ticket. But through driver education, the use of cameras and AI, and GPS tracking for fleet management, you can actively protect your company reputation.
Questions? Contact us at EcoTrack Fleet Management. We’re here to help.