189536552 | Welcomia | Dreamstime.com
Fleets like U.S. Xpress are using apps to boost customer retention and driver satisfaction.

Keep your top customers: How to boost service in 2024 with custom driver apps

March 1, 2024
Fleets like U.S. Xpress are using apps to boost customer retention and driver satisfaction.

How many new customers did you acquire last year? Considering the turbulent freight market, let’s start with a more relevant question: Did you retain your best ones?

The pandemic allowed truckload fleets to find new customers and grow revenue. Capacity was extremely tight as pent-up freight demand moved through snarled supply chains. Savvy fleet operators used windfall profits from the pandemic to pay down debt and fortify their balance sheets to prepare for the future, which became one with persistent cost pressures and a freight market flush with capacity.

No matter how prepared you are, losing a top customer in today’s market will be painful and expensive. Like many businesses, truckload fleets get about 80% of their revenues from 20% of their largest customers, making every touchpoint count.

See also: Silver linings—but no more—about the freight recession

Many fleets retained their top customers by shifting capacity from one-way/over-the-road segments to dedicated operations. In a recent report, C.H. Robinson noted that last year, most large fleets increased their share of dedicated accounts to obtain higher rate structures over a multiyear period rather than competing for annual freight contracts and shorter-term mini bids.

Fortunately, conditions are improving. Industry economists say the market has hit bottom and will rebound slowly into 2025. Besides shifting capacity to dedicated contracts, fleets investing wisely in technology will retain more business as they improve the service they provide to their customers.

Fleets such as U.S. Xpress use a custom mobile app platform to provide concierge-level service to boost customer retention and driver satisfaction.

Consistency is key

For every customer and load, unique requirements must be communicated to drivers to ensure safe, on-time, error-free deliveries. Sharing information with drivers manually via text messages and phone calls takes significant time and effort. It’s also risky since it may leave gaps in the information they need for trip planning and deliveries.

With a custom mobile app platform, fleets can create dynamic workflows that give drivers an easy, consistent way of managing customer load details. The workflows can be easily deployed through the app using pre-built integrations with ELDs and back-office systems, streamlining operations and increasing real-time visibility.

Communicating information to drivers through a mobile app workflow ensures they have everything they need at the right place and time to meet customer expectations by:

  • Getting detailed information about pickup and delivery locations to plan the best routes to the final mile, including facility ingress and egress.
  • Adding documents and training to an on-demand media library, such as oversized or hazmat permits or instructional videos to help drivers operate specific equipment like reefer units.
  • Arriving at customer locations, drivers confirm their arrival, complete a customer-specific delivery form, and capture an electronic signature or a signed proof-of-delivery receipt.
  • Prompting drivers to scan barcodes with the app to validate the correct delivery of SKUs and quantities.
  • And much more. With a customer mobile driver app, the possibilities are endless.

See also: Knight-Swift leaders: We’re ahead of schedule integrating U.S. Xpress

Taking a page from U.S. Xpress

U.S. Xpress, one of the largest truckload carriers, uses its custom app to meet customer-specific load requirements. The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based truckload fleet quickly creates and deploys new features and workflows using the platform’s dynamic App Editor.

Some of the fleet’s top customers have unique data capture requirements for pickup and delivery events. U.S. Xpress has built custom workflows to accommodate their needs and dynamically render on the app based on the driver’s current location and load under dispatch.

Their custom app automatically prompts drivers to complete custom arrival forms at the customer locations. The forms have a few customer or location-based questions for drivers to answer before tapping the “Submit” button, explains Buddy James, engineering manager for U.S. Xpress’ Driver Experience team. This gives U.S. Xpress greater flexibility and adaptability to meet customer needs and ensure essential information is captured with each load.

In addition, U.S. Xpress created a library of site maps for customer locations, giving drivers an aerial view of facilities with instructions for ingress and egress. The app allows Spanish-speaking drivers to toggle a switch to change the language on the dashboard and everything U.S. Xpress controls in the app to their native tongue, helping prevent miscommunications and giving U.S. Xpress a hiring advantage over the competition.

Industry leaders like U.S. Xpress that leverage custom mobile app platforms are streamlining communications and meeting customer-specific requirements. Fleets can easily create, edit, and adapt custom workflows to automate communications for any customer or business need, underscoring technology’s crucial role in elevating customer value and loyalty in a challenging freight market.

Jim Field is the president of Eleos Technologies in Greenville, South Carolina. Eleos helps trucking fleets create custom driver apps. Before joining Eleos, Field was VP of mobile communications for Knight-Swift Transportation.

About the Author

Jim Field

Jim Field is the president of Eleos Technologies in Greenville, South Carolina. Eleos helps trucking fleets create custom driver apps. Before joining Eleos, Field was VP of mobile communications for Knight-Swift Transportation.

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!