Improving the trucking industry with driver feedback
“WorkHound is an effective way to fix issues and every company has a responsibility making trucking better, not just their company.”
American Central Transport (ACT) has tasked every employee to take responsibility for the satisfaction of the company’s professional drivers. Regardless of primary job responsibilities, “taking stress off the driver” is built-in to the job description.
That’s why company drivers feel welcome in the ACT offices. But for drivers that are over 1000 miles away and more naturally shy, WorkHound presents a simple communication solution.
“We know that an open door policy doesn’t matter,” said Brian Matthews, VP of Operations. “In the social media age, WorkHound is easy because it just takes a quick text for a driver to get their concerns off their chest. And because it’s documented, we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
ACT began as a small flatbed trucking company in 1926 and converted to become a 100% dry van truckload service in 1994. As a family-run company, a friendly and business-casual culture is an indicator of pride in their approach to business operations.
Even with an intentional focus on an inclusive and welcoming environment, honest feedback is a challenge in a dispersed workforce. ACT discovered that their prior strategy including annual feedback wasn’t frequent enough and didn’t provide actionable insights.
“Our previous survey strategy was just affirming what we already thought about ourselves,” said Matthews. “It didn’t feel like we were taking away any action items to make our company better. Weekly anonymous feedback directly to the frontline users made WorkHound the easy choice.”
Across the industry, driver turnover is roughly 95-120% on average. While ACT shared better than average retention, the 60,000-driver-shortage presents drivers at any company the opportunity to make quick career moves in the heat of the moment.
“Feedback isn’t always easy to ask for, but the drivers are the heart of our company’s success,” said Matthews. “We have to understand that their feelings and thoughts are valid even if it isn’t always easy to hear. It’s important we do something with their concerns because the little things can become big things if they aren’t taken care of.”
As part of ACT’s retention strategy, WorkHound was implemented to provide instant, anonymous feedback. While they attempted annual surveys in the past, they found that annual surveys were providing reflective insights which weren’t always actionable, and with routine turnover, they were missing out on communicating with new drivers during the critical first 90 days.
ACT has taken driver feedback to heart and is continuously evaluating ways to make changes. Most notably, they adjusted fleet-wide speed from 62 MPH on cruise control and 65 MPH on-the-gas to being 65 MPH for all drivers. As shared in driver feedback, this was a necessary change to achieve miles within their hours-of-service.
Drivers also left feedback about the sub-par status of the shop gate, which was in need of repairs. Because this feedback was a documented trend, it helped
expedite the process of searching for a vendor to complete gate repairs.
Upon concerns shared by drivers about breakdown disrupting driver pay, ACT instituted a breakdown pay policy to compensate for times that equipment doesn’t allow drivers to achieve mileage.
ACT drivers also use WorkHound to share positive and constructive feedback about office personnel. This has helped ACT leadership recognize employees for great work and course-correct if needed.
While ACT only has three team members monitoring the feedback of the 319 drivers on the dashboard, they are keeping an eye on feedback on a minute-by-minute schedule to stay on top of driver concerns as they are presented.
“Our vision is long-term trust and WorkHound is helping us build that,” said Matthews.
Via the dashboard, feedback is presented anonymously and unfiltered in real-time. Company users are then able to request 1-on-1 conversations with anonymous drivers by clicking a button to send a request message to the driver to reveal their identity. Drivers then have the ability to choose “yes, I would like to reveal my identity” or “no, not right now.” Once a driver reveals, the company immediately receives their contact information to discuss their issue.
Across all WorkHound customers, the average user reveal rate is 35%. For ACT, 37% of these requests for drivers are approved to allow for a deeper discussion on their concerns.
To measure success, ACT uses WorkHound to track how many drivers they retain after these conversations. Of 217 revealed conversations, 212 ACT drivers stayed at least an additional 30 days – a 97% success rate.
“When customers commit to evaluating feedback and using it, they see results,” said Max Farrell, WorkHound CEO. “WorkHound works with more than 30,000 drivers and frontline workers across North America and we continue to see success from carriers, like ACT, who are dedicated to listening to driver feedback, taking action, and emerging with measurable results.”
Matthews credits this above-average success to quick response time and open-mindedness for actionable opportunities. ACT’s cross-functional committee also takes the time to craft a response to each driver, even if the driver declines to reveal their identity.
“We know that one bad experience could be the difference for a driver to move on. It’s just how things are in the industry right now,” said Matthews. “WorkHound is an effective way to fix issues and every company has a responsibility making trucking better, not just their company.”
For ACT, retention has improved 30% in the last year because of a multi-pronged effort involving WorkHound.
“As much as I would like to hire other companies’ drivers, I think that if other companies would use WorkHound, it would make the entire industry better,” said Matthews. “It’s an effective way to fix issues and each company is responsible for making trucking better, not just our company.”