5 Communication Skills Every Truck Driver Should Master
When you think of the relationship between effective communication and truck driving, you might picture a driver holding the microphone attached to a CB radio, identifying him/herself by a handle (nickname) like “Rubber Duck” and using colorful expressions such as, “Breaker One Nine. Better stay in the granny lane cuz there’s a bear in the air.” Regardless of what you’ve seen on the Internet or in the movies, communication skills prove to be vital in the trucking industry. Drivers, dispatchers, clients, and warehouse managers all need to maintain a high standard of professionalism when speaking with one another. Plus, for the sake of efficiency and even safety, all parties involved must have a clear understanding of the location and status of the shipment to make necessary route changes or to accommodate for delays. So in this blog, we’ll explore the communication skills that every driver has to apply to his/her daily duties on and off the road.
Clear Radio Communication
While the cell phone and Bluetooth seem to be any driver’s devices of choice, the CB radio still proves to be relevant in today’s trucking industry. After all, cell towers still don’t provide seamless coverage in remote areas. Thus, the CB radio comes in handy when you, the driver, need to inform the receivers of a delay due to weather, traffic, and/or road conditions. By accessing Channel 19 for highway reports and Channel 9 for assistance in an emergency, you always have a means of giving and receiving vital information.
Likewise, drivers may ask each other about these conditions in various locations. For instance, if you’re approaching the Denver area during the winter time, you can contact other drivers on the same channel who are miles ahead to ask about road closures and icy conditions. After gaining this information miles ahead of time, you can then make changes to the route or notify the receiving warehouse and dispatcher of possible delays.
Professional Customer Interaction
Furthermore, drivers also serve as a representative of the company that they work for and even their own business if the driver is an owner/operator. For this reason, tactful and clear communication is important even when dealing with a difficult situation. In other words, if you run into a delay due to road closures, snow storms, and a lack of alternative routes, and the client doesn’t quite comprehend the severity of the situation, you still need to maintain your calm and professionalism while explaining the reason for the delay. After all, you still want to leave a good impression of your company in the hopes of maintaining a solid business relationship.
Emergency Communication Preparedness
In the event of a catastrophe, your ability to relay your location and the status of other drivers and passengers in the immediate area can be a matter of life and death. Whether you’re lucky enough to have cell service, or you have to rely on your CB radio, you’ll need to remain vigilant on the road and be able to tell which mile marker is closest to your location as well as describe other significant landmarks. All these details will quickly lead first responders to your location and result in a positive outcome. In the meantime, you have to stay calm and keep your composure–two factors that play a major role in communication during an emergency.
Customer Service Excellence
And of course, nothing can replace stellar customer service that includes congenial (yet brief) conversation. From friendly greetings to consistent updates while you’re en route, communication leads to repeat business with clients. Plus, effective and attentive listening lets your clients know that you value their input and place any of their questions and concerns in high regard. Being the face of the company that you represent or your business, if you’re owner/operator, involves conveying and receiving information as professionally and respectfully as possible.
Active Listening Skills
As mentioned, listening is every bit as important as spoken and written communication since you’re receiving instructions and valuable information that will make for a successful shipment. Specifically, active listening involves your full attention to what the client, dispatcher, and warehouse manager are saying. Plus, active listening includes asking meaningful questions to clarify instructions and repeating the main points to ensure mutual understanding. When you show your co-workers, managers, and clients that you genuinely care about their input, you’re guaranteeing success in all aspects of your job.
Communication and close listening are key to a successful career in truck driving. When you exercise strong communication skills, you have a better chance of retaining client relationships while meeting expectations and goals for your routes and upholding safety standards. Moreover, you’ll be actively participating in your industry’s community as you banter with your fellow drivers while on the road.
In the fast-paced world of trucking, effective communication is the key to a successful and safe journey. We’ve explored five essential communication skills that every truck driver should master. As we wrap up this discussion, it’s crucial to understand that these skills are not just tools; they are the building blocks of a successful trucking career. Zenith Institute of Logistics provide a comprehensive training program that keeps you a step ahead of the rest as you start your career as a truck driver.