Improving Driver Communication During a Breakdown

Driver Communication

Why direct communication matters during breakdowns

One of the most challenging times for commercial fleet maintenance leaders to gain control of their operations is during an unscheduled repair. Encouraging clear, direct communication at the start of a breakdown event can often make a difference in minimizing downtime. During the initial call, the service center specialist gathers the important details necessary to dispatch the right maintenance provider with the right parts to the right location.

When a breakdown occurs, it’s common for fleet managers, operations managers and dispatchers to serve as a mediator between the driver and the fleet maintenance service. While the intent is good (to help ensure customized instructions are followed), through years of experience we’ve learned that it’s actually more efficient for the driver to speak directly to the service center specialist. This significantly decreases the likelihood of miscommunication — speeding up recovery, maximizing productivity, and saving time and money. Making sure drivers know what details to provide helps ensure you get back up and running as quickly as possible. 

Driver and fleet maintenance call center interaction

Good communication between the driver and maintenance service center is imperative. When it’s done well, and all of the right information is provided, your company can avoid extended downtime, financial disruptions and service provider inaccuracies — which can affect delivery, pickup and driver hours of service. The first thing a driver should do during a breakdown is find a safe place to pull over, and then call their maintenance provider. When a driver calls in, they’ll need to:

Give as many details as possible

A service center specialist will begin by asking a series of questions to determine the right maintenance provider for the issue at hand. The driver should provide the following information:

  • The tractor and trailer number
  • The city and state where they’re located
  • Their exact location (highway and mile marker number)
  • A valid call-back number for the driver

Fully explain the breakdown event

While talking with roadside assistance, it’s crucial that the driver communicates the full extent of the event. Without accurate details and information, the maintenance service center may dispatch a provider that doesn’t have the right equipment to get the job done. For example, let’s say a truck slides 20 feet off the road, causing multiple flat tires. If the driver only reports the tire issue, the service provider won’t know to bring a wrecker. As a result, the driver will have to wait even longer before a wrecker can get there, which means wasting more time and money on the side of the road. Drivers can avoid instances like this by explaining every detail, even if it doesn’t seem important.

How FleetNet America® simplifies communication

To solve miscommunication issues, FleetNet’s service center specialists are trained to ask for all necessary information to handle any breakdown quickly and efficiently. By talking directly with the driver, we get the immediate responses we need to send out the right service provider as soon as possible. Here’s how the process works:

  • Driver reports breakdown. When the truck driver calls in, they’re instantly connected with a service center specialist who asks questions to help dispatch the proper service provider.
  • Coordinator diagnoses and dispatches. Once we have all of the critical information, a FleetNet coordinator diagnoses the issue and dispatches a qualified service provider as quickly as possible. If we need more information or approval from the driver’s management team, we’ll call the appropriate contact.
  • Service center specialist follows up. We follow up with the service provider regularly and update the driver and fleet manager via text messages, in-cab communication systems, emails and our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, Caroline. Our goal is to keep everyone on the same page. By keeping in contact with both parties, we know what’s happening at all times.

FleetNet can help when breakdowns occur

FleetNet’s service center specialists are trained to ask the right questions and dedicated to getting your truck up and running faster than anyone else in America. Contact us at 877-559-9640 to set up a program that minimizes the impact of breakdowns. 

Learn more about truck repair with FleetNet America.