As we round the corner into November and the Holiday season, it is time to tell your customers and FedEx Ground route drivers thanks for everything they do to make your business successful. Even if you are just getting started with FedEx Route ownership or if you are looking to expand your current business, you’ll want to keep these appreciation tips in mind. Although any time of the year is a great time for showing appreciation for your FedEx Ground route drivers and customers, the holidays offer a unique opportunity. Here are a few simple ideas for you.
Offer FedEx Ground Route Drivers Bonuses
First, your FedEx Ground route drivers work hard for you and your customers, and the holidays and peak season can be one of the most challenging times of the year. It’s also when your profit margins are the highest, and having the best drivers who are also happy with what they do is a key element to your success.
While money is not the only factor in job satisfaction for your employees or contractors, during the busy and often stressful peak environment, a bonus often builds a lot of goodwill with your drivers and their families. When they spend extra hours out on the route, that is time they are not home with their families, children, or significant others.
A check cannot hide the stress this job can have on a relationship, but it can often make the long days seem like they are paying off. Offer bonuses based on performance and production, and you’ll get even more effort from your team.
Offer Public Recognition for Your Drivers
Drivers often do not get the public recognition they deserve. While handing out a bonus is one thing, acknowledging effort in front of others is also important. This may involve calling a driver meeting if you have enough routes, or putting up a plaque or poster in the station, or even offering your driver a trophy or another type of award.
Most importantly, they and their peers see and acknowledge the gesture. It’s also important that the gesture means something. We talked about driver bonuses first because often public recognition works alongside those. But don’t offer a meaningless award or plaque without adding “teeth” to it. That can include a financial bonus, a gift card, or even a significant gift that shows your drivers you care.
Just be sure that others see the gift and your appreciation as well. This also goes a long way to allowing you to hire more drivers as needed, as other employees will see that you are an excellent person to work for and genuinely care about your team.
Run Some Routes As You Are Able, Or Hire Extra Help
You know a great way of showing appreciation to FedEx Ground Route drivers? Time off. And while this can be hard to grant during the holidays, it is important to offer when you are able. If you can run routes for a day and rotate through your team, the effort you put in can go a long way.
However, that may not be possible, depending on your business structure. But you can reduce stress and hours by hiring help or even running a temp driver or two who can take routes as needed and handle difficult stops or take overflow from your drivers.
Not only that, but adding more help can mean you get more stops done, earn higher bonuses yourself, and keep your drivers both safe and happy. There are several benefits, and showing appreciation to your FedEx route drivers is just one of them.
Talk About Annual Compensation and Wages
When things are going well, it is often the best time to talk about wages and compensation. You should have an annual time to talk about money and continued employment. Just before peak gets into final swing can be a good time to do that. You can look back at your cash flow from the previous year and make projections for the next.
This also incentivizes drivers to stay when they need them the most. Many drivers want to quit before, during, and right after the busiest season of the year because of the stress it can cause. Giving them a reason not to is important, and an annual review and raise can help accomplish just that.
Be careful, though. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Keep your budget in mind, and be realistic with your drivers about how much money they can make and how they can help increase revenue to make those raises possible. Showing appreciation for FedEx Ground route drivers must be done in a way that still works for your business.
Ask Customers About Service Needs During the Holidays
Your drivers are a big part of your success, but the customers on your route are equally important. Regular commercial and even residential customers make a big difference to your business. These customers often have special needs during the holidays.
- Deliveries: often, holiday and peak deliveries are time-sensitive for companies, especially if they are shippers as well. So you’ll want to know what those needs are and do your best to respond to them.
- Pickups: shippers need to get packages on the way to their customers as quickly as possible, but that often means that late evening pickups are better for them, so packages do not have to sit in shipping for another day. If you can alter your schedule to accommodate them, even temporarily, it goes a long way to them choosing to ship with FedEx over another company. And that means higher profits and better customer relationships for everyone.
- Residential: We’ll talk about this in detail in another section, but there are special needs you can potentially address with a few simple changes in your route.
Determine Long Term Commercial Customer Needs
While you are looking at short-term commercial needs to create more customer satisfaction during the peak season to keep customers long-term, it is helpful to understand their business needs. Early in peak is a great time to ask how you and your team can meet and exceed expectations.
This is about more than just delivery and pickup times, but ways to make that process more seamless and easier on the customer. Of course, your team’s efficiency matters as well, and you may only be able to accommodate some, but the better service you and your driver team can provide, the better it will be for your business overall.
It can also make your routes more efficient. Avoid busy dock times when your driver has to wait for openings or when finding the right receiver for signatures is difficult. Additionally, you can make pickups easier by arriving after orders are complete and ready to be scanned to reduce wait times.
Often, what is good for your customers is also good for you and your business, so just asking questions can improve your service and your customer’s experience.
Exceed Residential Service Expectations
One of the most significant issues during peak season and other times is porch pirates. These thieves wait for drivers to drop off packages and then steal them before the owner can get them.
There is also the issue of inclement weather in many areas, including snow and rain. Packages can get damaged, which can result in claims. There are ways you can prevent these things and exceed residential customer expectations:
- Watch for suspicious activity and report anything you see right away.
- Place packages in secure, out-of-sight locations whenever possible. If a customer has a package drop box, use it.
- Use weather bags even if a location appears to be dry. You never know when the weather or wind will change or how long it will be before a customer can retrieve their package.
- Leave door tags for signature items and leave the customer a note with a choice of potential delivery times. Make it easy for them to communicate with you.
- Talk to customers when you can. Determine the best method for secure delivery, especially if they have had issues in the past.
Customers have a lot of choices when it comes to who they have items shipped to their home through and how they are delivered. Show exceptional customer service, so they choose FedEx whenever possible.
Show Support for Station Support Personnel
Finally, your drivers and customers are not the only members of your team that make your business a success. A big part of that is the support personnel at the FedEx station who assist in loading your truck and moving packages through the system.
Thank them as well with thank you cards and notes, and by simply letting them know you appreciate what they do for you every day. Your business would not be the same without them.
In any business, it is essential to acknowledge the members of your team and your customers. Whether that is showing appreciation to FedEx Ground route drivers or the residential customers in your area, there are many things you can do to show how much they mean to you.
At Route Advisors, we feel the same way. We want you to know that we appreciate you and what you do every day. We’re here for you as well, whether you are looking to purchase a FedEx Ground route, expand your current business, or are ready to sell and move on to another venture. Contact us today or whenever you are ready. We’d love to be with you every step of the way.