You’ve spent a lot of time and money branding your company’s image. Your signage, website, and fleet vehicles all reflect a unified brand. You’ve worked hard at delivering a great product and outstanding customer service. Your marketing team does an excellent job with blogging, social media, and public relations. You believe it’s your responsibility to give back to your community by supporting local charities. All in all, your business has a darn good reputation, until one driver ruins it. Don’t let one bad driver destroy your image.
Where is it parked? (Face palm)
Years ago, while working in operations at a previous company, I received a call from an upset customer. This client had spent thousands of dollars with us and planned to spend more, but not if we were the type of people who frequented adult bookstores. It seems one of our installation box trucks, which had our name and logo emblazoned on the sides as big as a billboard, was parked in front of an adult store. I reassured the customer we did not support this behavior and sent the installation manager to the location to move the truck.
What did the driver do? (Face palm number two)
In my previous position as VP of Operations, I received calls from irate drivers who had bad experiences with our fleet vehicles. Our drivers had given the finger, shook fists, shouted, cursed, followed too closely, and threatened other drivers. It wasn’t the message we hoped we were paying for when we spent the money on wrapping the fleet.
How fast was he going, officer? (Here we go again)
How could any driver of a company vehicle think it would be a good thing to go 92 MPH in a 55 MPH zone? It happened, and it’s only one of many infractions I had to deal with during my time as operations manager. We were ticketed for running stop signs, speeding, and reckless driving. And during every one of these infractions thousands of other drivers saw our brand pulled over on the side of the road while police lights flashed on and off our branded logo.
You say he left the bar and drove off in our truck!? (Need I even say it?)
Common sense would inform any driver of a company branded vehicle not to park said vehicle in front of a bar, walk inside wearing a company uniform, consume alcoholic beverages, and then walk out, jump in the branded company vehicle, and drive off. You would think, wouldn’t you, but that’s not the case.
So, Don’t let One Bad Driver Destroy Your Image
What can you do?
Clearly state the expectations for driving a company vehicle and how those privileges can be lost. Present it verbally and in a signed written document. Have all drivers sign and date the form. Here’s an example.
- Traffic laws will be obeyed at all times
- Never react in anger toward other drivers with words, gestures, or aggressive driving
- Only park company vehicles in appropriate as well as safe locations.
- Never drive a company vehicle while under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol
*Violations of these policies can and will mean loss of driving privileges and possible termination.
One bad apple can spoil the bunch
All it takes is one undisciplined driver to spoil your hard earned reputation. Before that happens set expectations with your drivers. Train and educate road safety as well as proper road etiquette. Explain how bad driving decisions reflect poorly on the organization, and negatively impact marketing, profit, and growth. Here’s another tool you may find helpful—Basic driver expectation checklist. If you’d like to discuss this further let us know, we’ll keep both hands on the wheel.