A new tool from trucking industry marketing professional Mark Felker offers a new way for companies to reach out and attract driving candidates. Idle Chat is an online tool that uses “agents” to monitor carrier websites and social media recruitment pages to communicate live with driver visitors.
According to Idle Chat, there are over 6 million Google keyword searches for truck driving jobs every month, making the search process for both drivers and carriers exhaustive at times.
“Real-time chat with a live person goes a long way to turning web browsing drivers into new hires,” said Felker, Idle Chat’s founder and president. “The digital chat concept has been proven to be successful.”
Among Idle Chat’s initial, proof-of-concept customers are US Xpress, the third largest truckload carrier in North America, and Melton Truck Lines, an international flatbed carrier.
“Advertising dollars push drivers to carrier web sites and social media pages,” Felker said. “We add to that experience with live chat. We win if we stop the driver from job shopping and collect their name, email, and cell phone number, than forward that driver lead to recruiting for follow up.”
Additional driver data is collected so follow up can evolve beyond a recruiter’s call.
“We save online chats which are the first step for customer fleets to build a database of all drivers who come to their site, what path they use to get there, and what their chat questions are. The resulting database provides a valuable resource for analysis, follow up and perhaps more remarketing,” Felker explained. “For example, with an individual driver’s contact information, we can target a campaign to that driver’s smartphone using SMS or MMS (multimedia message service).”
Idle Chat’s software enables a chat agent to see every driver on a company site and what page they’re on at any given time. Idle Chat can also work on social media pages, landing pages and online ads.
The driver can take the initiative to click on a chat button or the chat agent can launch a proactive pop-up invitation to engage the driver. The agent might ask if the driver has any questions, for example.
Customer fleets provide the recruitment information, but agents are trained to answer only basic questions.
“We do not answer any number based-questions or discuss company policies unless we are given that info,” Felker explained. “That’s for the recruiters to deal with. We’re here to engage the driver, to acquire information, push applications, and build a customer’s database.”
Felker noted that Idle Chat agents will engage approximately one in every ten prospects visiting a recruiting home page. Of that number, 25% to 35% will engage in further inquiry, such as application submission or personal contact with internal recruiters employed by the fleet.