How Fleets Benefit from Improving the Driver Experience

June 08, 2020

Drivers are the crucial force behind the success of fleets: they are the ones who carry out most of the day-to-day operations that power your business. Ensuring that your drivers have the tools they need to be successful not only makes your business more efficient, but it keeps your drivers happy, which is important for retention. 

Read on to learn why investing in your drivers' experience benefits your fleet and how to create effective driver experiences.

Why the driver experience matters

At its core, a great driver experience is all about keeping your drivers safe and making their day-to-day tasks as easy as possible. When you adopt tools and build workflows that make drivers’ jobs easier—from routing to logging hours to collecting documents—is that you show your drivers that you value their happiness and well-being. Furthermore, drivers who feel appreciated and supported are more likely to stick with your company, which can help reduce driver turnover. 

Here are three additional ways why it pays to invest in the experience of your drivers:

  1. Enhance fleet safety: Trucking is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. That’s why investing in tools that protect drivers is so important. One of the best ways to invest in your driver experience is to adopt tools like dash cams to keep drivers safe. Fleets have seen a 60% decrease in collision frequency when dash cams are used. Dash cams improve the driver experience by protecting their safety and exonerating them from not-at-fault accidents. Dash cam footage can be used to coach drivers on better driving behavior, which can reduce accident frequency, and can be used to protect you from payouts of false claims. By investing in driver safety, you can not only protect your employees but reduce accident frequency, lower insurance premiums, and reduce payout costs. 

  2. Boost operational efficiency: On average, back office employees spend about 20% of their time searching for information—like bills of lading, proofs of delivery, and receipts. Streamlining how drivers collect and pass information to your back office saves time and increases convenience, vastly improving their day-to-day experience. Improved operational efficiency also ensures you quickly get access documents you need to bill customers faster, process receipts, and more.  

  3. Improve customer service: The hallmark of good customer service, particularly in the era of the Amazon effect, is ensuring customers have full visibility into their deliveries and improving the rate of on-time deliveries. In fact, on-time delivery is so important to customers that 13% of consumers state they would not continue business with a company that delivered a late order. To improve on-time performance and boost efficiency, you need real-time visibility into your fleet’s routes and locations to ensure drivers are always on track. By investing in tools such as real-time GPS tracking, you make it easier for drivers to complete the right routes and deliver at the right time. This not only makes their experience easier, but also improves the rate of on-time deliveries to customers. 

Three steps to designing impactful driver experiences 

Now that you know the benefits of investing in tools and workflows to improve your drivers’ experience, how can you get started? Here are three key steps to take to create a better experience for your drivers. 

1. Create driver-centric workflows

Making your drivers’ daily tasks as easy as possible is a win-win when you use the right tools. Not only do you improve your drivers’ daily workflow, but you improve yours as well. The best tool to invest in is one that can transform every part of your drivers’ experience: it can make routing easier, keep them safer on the road, protect them from false claims, and simplify HOS logging. 

Samsara makes it easy to build out workflows to streamline every part of your drivers’ jobs. 

For example, our all-in-one fleet management platform lets you customize DVIRs for your drivers, making it easier for them to accurately complete pre- and post-trip inspections. You can also create custom forms for any documents your drivers collect en route, like scale tickets and bills of lading. Drivers can access information with the free Samsara Driver App, available on iOS and Android devices. The app is designed to be easy to use, and even has guided workflows to help drivers complete forms quickly, while minimizing errors.

For managers, the Samsara Fleet App lets you stay on top of your fleets operations, wherever you are. You can quickly access real-time information about your vehicles, assets, and workers. 

Plus, with two-way messaging in the app, there’s no need for your back office staff to have to manually call drivers to notify them of route changes. All communication and documentation can be centralized in a single, unified platform. 

2. Get driver buy-in 

When rolling out technology to drivers, always keep them informed and aware. The earlier on you include drivers the better—you may even consider including them in early discussions, before you even purchase any new tools, so you can test the technology and get their feedback. Also ensure you’re communicating the value of the new tools or workflows you’ll be rolling out. Focus on explaining to drivers how these tools will benefit them and the company overall. 

Over 60% of drivers don’t think that management communicates with them enough. Clearly communicating with drivers early on is an effective change management technique. Drivers are more likely to be excited about the new tools and workflows coming their way if they get a clear picture of how this change will improve their work. Not only will this increase adoption, but drivers will have time to get acquainted with the tools, which minimizes disruption. Plus, drivers are more likely to feel appreciated and valued. In the words of Samsara customer Jim Hoss, VP of Operations at Cash-Wa Distributing: “Better communication improves driver retention.”

When rolling out dash cams, it’s particularly important to secure driver buy-in early on. Make sure you communicate their benefit to drivers, namely that they help reduce the frequency of accidents and exonerate drivers from false claims. 

For example, Samsara AI dash cams automatically detect safety-related events, like harsh braking, speeding, and accelerating, and calculates a “safety score” for each of your drivers. You can quickly identify unsafe drivers with a low safety score and proactively coach them with footage from recent safety events, to improve their driving performance. By building out coaching programs, you not only show your drivers you’re invested in keeping them safe but you can also reduce your at-fault accident frequency and costs. With Samsara, Simco Logistics decreased their accidents by 50% and their accident-related costs by 60%. 

Dash cams can also protect your drivers in not-at-fault accidents. With Samsara, you can immediately request and view footage after an accident occurs, making it easy to exonerate drivers even at the site of the accident. This also helps your fleet avoid unnecessary payouts and insurance premiums, and your drivers can rest easy knowing that you have their back.  

3. Engage with drivers to encourage usage 

One of the best ways to ensure that drivers are adopting the new workflows and tools you’re rolling out to them is by offering incentives. This not only ensures that drivers are using the new tools and workflows you’re providing to them, but lets you get the desired outcomes you’re looking for. For example, if you’re rolling out dash cams, you might incentivize drivers by rewarding those with the top safety scores. Or if you’re rolling out the Driver App for routing, you might reward a driver with the highest number of on-time arrivals. 

Our customers have found success by rewarding their safest drivers or most on-time drivers with “better” routes, cash bonuses, paid vacation days, or award plaques. Less-than-truckload carrier Dohrn Transfer Company has built out incentive programs with Samsara, which has reduced their driver turnover by 10%. By linking a reward to the usage of new tools you can gain faster adoption, which helps drivers quickly see the value in the new workflows you’re providing them and how they’ll improve their jobs. 

If you’re looking for new workflows and tools to improve your driver experience, efficiency, and safety, reach out for a free trial or demo today.

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