It happens all the time: Some drivers lie, others cheat, others yell and scream. Sometimes they even pick up a load and demand more money. They even go as far as holding loads hostage. It’s only human nature for a freight agent to want to get even. But when we step back and think about it, safely delivering the load for your shipper is more important than anything else. I struggle with it, because it is unfair. “Why should I let a driver treat me that way?” I say to myself. We also have agents who want to report the bad carriers “on the Internet”, but we say (or really my business partner/husband Louis says), “No, just resolve the issue quickly so you can get the load delivered. We’ll just never use them again.” Why does he say that? How has he convinced me that taking the high road is best for our company?
Here are five reasons why taking the high road is more important than getting even:
- Your shipper is counting on you to deliver the load: In the end, your primary concern is helping your shipper get the freight where it needs to be. Your shippers have customers they are serving. Every minute waited in a pissing contest with an irrational driver is a minute lost for your shipper’s customer who needs the freight. It is important for freight agents to take the high road and figure out how to resolve the issue as quickly as possible with the minimum cost.
- You have to be the rational adult in the room: Drivers who are dishonest are not acting rationally but like spoiled children. Don’t let them drag you down to their level. You are the adult who has a job to do. By calmly assessing the situation offline, deciding on what your options are, you can then address the spoiled child from a position of rationality. Keeping your shipper informed and getting a better understanding on the urgency of the load can help you in your negotiation with the driver. Knowing if your shipper is willing to wait or if a crane is waiting for the material can make all the difference here.
- The bad carrier can tarnish your reputation: Whether or not something is true, the spoiled child above can lie and rant “on the Internet”, and it just becomes a “he said/she said” that doesn’t make anyone look good and in the end hurts only you, your brokerage, and your fellow agents. If your brokerage gets a reputation of treating carriers unfairly, even if it is false and undeserved, the result is still the same. One really mean boss of mine once told me, “Perception is reality,” very harsh, very unfair, but very true. By trying to get even, in the end you may only damage your brokerage’s reputation and your business. This gives way too much power to the spoiled child.
- Your energy is better spent doing more loads: Conflict and fighting take a lot of time and energy. Your body goes into fight or flight mode, and all your energy is sapped by the end of the fight. By resolving the situation as quickly as possible and putting it behind you, you can then use your energy more productively by booking a few extra loads and making more money for yourself. Don’t let the spoiled child sap your energy or your revenue.
- Karma will get them in the end: In life, we sow what we reap. Drivers who put all that negativity out there, lie, cheat, and steal will attract bad things into their lives. They may think they are pulling something over on you. They may think they have won. But by taking the high road, you are ultimately the winner because you didn’t let them drag you down to their level. They’ll get what’s coming to them in the end, and you don’t have to be the one to give it to them.
Number five is my own, because I am the spiritual person in our partnership. I also comfort myself by telling myself that it must be terrible to be that driver. His or her life must really be bad to have created such an awful human being. Then, I know it is a stretch sometimes, but I think about how thankful I am for my life: my family, how great it is to be an entrepreneur, my ability to use my talents at work, all the fun I have when I am not working, and how I feel when I get to go skiing! (Wow, just now that made me feel really good!) It sounds corny, but try it, it does work. Then that driver who messed with you will have no more power over you, and you can go on about your productive day.
You can’t go wrong when you take the high road. It strengthens your reputation, which will ultimately lead to more business and prosperity for you. In my next blog, I will share another framework on how to improve freight agent performance.
– By Cheryl Biron, President
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