Beyond safety training
While enhancing driver’s safety helps ensure a strong return on investment to fleets, other aspects of driver behavior, too, influence their profitability and the quality of services they provide. For example, eco-driving is a trend that has been gaining traction in recent years for several reasons.
First, driving green generates significant savings in fuel consumption, of up to 15-30%, according to some studies. This is an invaluable asset, especially in light of the recent jumps in gas prices. Greater environmental responsibility also translates into less tear & wear, enhanced vehicle longevity, and easier maintenance, all of which reflect positively on the bottom line.
Another aspect that is possibly less obvious but directly determines the fleet’s current and future success is the brand’s sustainability perception. The increasing awareness of climate change leads many consumers away from companies with poor environmental credentials. Fleet managers must be responsive to this trend, and upgrade their eco profile, otherwise, they will lose relevance to their clients. However, even though zero-emission technology is on the roadmap, it is a long-term investment that many fleets, especially the smaller ones, aren’t yet prepared to make. Instead, they can reduce carbon footprint using the available analytical resources to improve drivers’ eco-driving skills.
Driving excitement for coaching
In the 21st century, professional training no longer has to be all bore and chore. Having modern, digital tools at your disposal, you can create a coaching experience that is both efficient and fulfilling for your fleet drivers. Mobility analytics provides invaluable insights into individual drivers’ strengths and weaknesses to make the coaching relevant and specific. But for a driving coaching program to have a measurable and long-lasting impact on performance—and profitability, it also needs to be engaging.
Some ideas for instilling fun and play into professional driver coaching programs include gamification and competition. For example, using the right set of data at hand, you may develop a mobile app that will assess drivers’ performance and provide personalized tips to enhance it. The app can also include micro games and challenges (like ‘no speeding for a week’ or ‘consistent eco-driving performance for a month’) that keep your drivers motivated and make it easier for them to retain the skills they have developed via the training.
Performance-based rewards and bonus pay always provide a great incentive. And for many drivers, competition works as a strong motivating factor. To tap into that group, think about creating a leaderboard in the app, where drivers ranking the highest in each category will be displayed.
Why improving your drivers’ style is important
As mentioned above, the benefits of effective driver coaching are not only in compliance with traffic rules, but also in improving the bottom line. Specifically, they may include:
Reduced risk of accidents and injuries
Risks are mitigated in several ways when drivers are adequately trained, saving fleets up to $21,000 each time an accident doesn’t occur. Aside from the fact that accidents result in high repair costs, they also increase medical expenses, legal fees, and health insurance claims. Driver safety programs invest in the safety of your drivers, fleets, and others who share the road with your drivers.
Lower insurance claims costs
Fleet owners can reduce claims costs by discouraging unsafe driving behavior. Making sure drivers do not engage in risky behavior decreases the likelihood of being found at fault in an accident. Some insurance companies give discounts to fleets that use driver safety training and vehicle monitoring systems. Whether you have a small or large fleet, you will save money over time.
Increased productivity and customer satisfaction
Fleet productivity and customer satisfaction are directly related to improved driving and, by extension, impact the success and profitability of your business. While the driver coaching program reduces collisions and saves fleet owners’ money on repairs, replacement, and insurance claims, your fleet will be up and running faster and better able to satisfy customers.
Improved company reputation
Since your vehicles on the road showcase your brand, your drivers must be good at their jobs because they represent your company and deal with customers daily. On the contrary, unsafe driving behavior that results in accidents, fatalities, property damage, and lost productivity results in adverse publicity, a bad reputation, and lost business opportunities.
Better driver retention
Last but not least, innovative coaching methods contribute to improved retention rates. The truck driver shortage in the US stands at 240,000 drivers and in the European Union—at 400,000, making it an invaluable asset.
Drivers tend to stick with companies providing professional growth opportunities for several reasons. First, becoming better at driving reduces strain and stress, while enhancing safety. Secondly, more efficient driving means drivers can get home faster. Finally, effective training helps ambitious drivers join the league of top performers, which is fulfilling and opens up an opportunity to get higher pay, showing the drivers their efforts are valued.