Mobile communication in trucking isn’t just for large commercial operations. Even a single owner-operator needs mobile communication.
Misunderstandings can lead to unhappy customers, lost jobs and a poor reputation overall. Building your brand depends on clear driver communication to reduce miscommunications and inefficiency.
Did you know that even building good company culture often rests on communication? Learn all about the best steps to improve trucker communication today.
What Is Mobile Communication in Trucking?
Mobile communication in trucking used to be complicated. Now, it’s much easier with the help of a cell phone, dash cams, battery operated dash cams or GPS dashcams combo. However, for most semi truck drivers, a cell phone or a cell phone with an app is the primary means of trucker communication.
Trucking mobile communication also includes tracking tools, messaging devices and full computing systems. Some of the more sophisticated tracking devices are capable of running several applications and interfacing with other data collection devices on the truck as well.
How To Improve Communication With Truck Drivers
Whether you’re communicating with a single driver or hundreds of truckers, building the systems for clear trucker communication is essential.
Get To Know Your Drivers
Getting to know drivers in person can help you avoid a significant aspect of miscommunication. These days, it is easy to post a job and hire a driver without ever meeting them in person.
While that has advantages in terms of efficiency, a personal connection with drivers can facilitate much better communication. Companies that foster driver communication are often known for having good company cultures and greater long-term success of drivers.
A sense of connection, being part of a community and pride in the workplace can improve overall company culture. In turn, trucker communication will improve as well.
Get Used To Sending SMS Texts
Voice chats are convenient, but they aren’t a viable option at loud truck stops or loading docks. Unclear messages can be like a game of telephone. In these cases, a message can be worse than no driver communication at all.
With SMS texts, Whatsapp or your driver’s preferred communication app, you can make it easy to stay in touch with your truckers while they are on the road. When you need to make sure a message is clearly understood, a text is the better option. It saves time and leaves less room for misinterpretation.
Utilize CB Radios
CB radios aren’t in use the way they used to be, but they can still be an essential tool for truckers’ communication with other drivers while on the road. Truckers often have to pass through areas with spotty cell phone service.
But with a CB radio, truckers can still contact the local police, reach out to the fire department or call an ambulance in the event of an emergency. CB radios also make it easy to stay in touch with other drivers on the road.
It’s important to clearly state your needs using simple terms. Don’t use jargon or slang, as it can be misinterpreted. Instead, clearly communicate exactly what you need or want from your truckers.
Asking your truckers for confirmation that they understand what you are requesting can help you ensure that the truckers are on the same page as you. Driver communication and confirmation can reduce the risk of confusion or various delays that are related to miscommunication.
It’s important to remember that drivers are already operating in stressful situations as they are generally trying to focus on driving safely and delivering goods on time. As such, being professional means remaining calm and speaking directly to drivers over the phone.
Resist the urge to send angry, frustrated or stressful texts and voicemails when dealing with a conflict between you and your drivers. Instead, clearly state what the situation is and what needs to happen while offering to collaborate if that would help them.
Here’s a simple test. Before sending any texts, read it to yourself out loud. If it isn’t a text that you’d want to share with the entire company or post online for anybody to read, either rewrite the text or wait until you have settled down before reaching out.
Use Digital Dispatching and Scheduling To Your Advantage
Scheduling apps or programs that are designed to meet the needs of construction, transportation and logistics industries can be huge timesavers. They can help you schedule and dispatch drivers more efficiently.
Digital truck dispatching tools automatically calculate routes, manage logistics and help with the handling of fleets. Also, digital dispatchers can make it possible for you to set up customized automatic actions as well, like a customized hire list.
This feature makes use of availability and assignment statuses to collaborate between multiple drivers and dispatchers. This software is becoming an increasingly valuable must for medium and large fleets or companies. Some companies also consider using a digital freight brokerage.
Use Video Chat Apps
Video chat apps, like Google Meet and Zoom, can help you improve professional communication with your drivers as well. Video enhances trucker communication, even with drivers you’ve never met.
For drivers, a video chat can make them feel connected and supported when they’re alone on the road. While video chat apps cannot fully replace in-person communication, they can go a long way when it comes to building rapport and reducing miscommunication.
Be Attentive To Drivers
In nearly every service-based industry, listening is key, and trucking is no different. Companies and dispatchers need to be willing to listen to drivers and understand their needs.
Sometimes, that might mean taking a call from a driver who had a difficult delivery or listening to a driver who’s had a stressful day. After all, truck driving can be stressful.
But a good company will be attentive to drivers and actually listen to them. Prioritize their needs and make them feel heard.
By doing so, your drivers will know that they have a team backing them, which can make all the difference for drivers. It won’t only boost morale but it can also build a more productive, healthy workplace.
Mobile Communication Summary
Truckers are constantly on the move, which means mobile communication is essential. Learning the best ways to communicate with your fleet can result in a strong company culture.
Truckers appreciate dispatchers who listen to them and help them solve problems. Get to know your truck drivers and really listen to their needs.
You’ll be rewarded with more satisfied employees and a growing, healthy company.
Truck drivers often communicate by cell phone or CB radio for practical mobile communication.
Truck drivers use a variety of technologies. Some, like ELDs, have become essential. Others are optional. Trucker-related tech includes automated trucks, GPS tracking, SaaS, intelligent speed adaptation, automatic freight matching, trucking apps, electric trucks and dash cams.
Yes, truck drivers can talk to each other via CB radio. Truck drivers can communicate essential information to other truckers in this way. It’s also common for truck drivers to communicate via chat, online forums and in-person conversations where they pass along information at truck stops.
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