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Three Ways to Network with Your Truckstop Customer to Build Relationships and Better Understand Their Needs

Posted in: Truckstop Business, The NATSO Show, Marketing & Retail

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For two and a half days, the industry gathers to find knowledge, solutions and connections at The NATSO Show. Just like The NATSO Show, The NATSO Show Magazine is your source for improving your travel plaza business operations. Unlike The NATSO Show it is year-round. 

Three Ways to Network with Your Truckstop Customer to Build Relationships and Better Understand Their Needs

A loyal customer base is built on relationships, and every successful relationship takes work. During The NATSO Show, networking expert Thom Singer shared his insights and shared three ways truckstop and travel plaza operators can connect with their customers to build a stronger, more loyal customer base.

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Hire Friendly Employees: Finding friendly employees is one of the most important things for operators, Singer said. “You can teach people how to stock your shelves or how to clean, but you can’t teach friendly,” he said, adding that owners need to think about ways to make customers feel welcome.

A simple hello can be incredibly powerful. “Saying hello and letting [people] know you recognize them amazes [them],” Singer said.

Singer suggests owners have a secret shopper visit their store to learn what employees are treating customers when they aren’t there. Singer asked, “Are people taking an interest in human beings?”

Employees at Trader Joe’s, for example, seem as though they want to be there, Singer explained. He said, “I challenge each of you every time you go into a retail establishment, ask yourself did they make me feel better and how did they do it?”

Get Them Talking. Singer suggests that truckstop and travel plaza employees strike up conversations with customers. “You get other people engaged by asking them questions. When you get people talking, they like you more,” Singer said. “Ask people questions about what they want and what they like. Your loyal customers will tell you and they like being asked. If we can engage people and get them thinking, we win.“

Create Calm: Professional drivers as well as the traveling public and locals are typically pressed for time and in a frenzied rush. Helping them meet their needs quickly but in a calm manner can help. “We need to be modeling with our staff how to be the calming influence for people who are hectic and frazzled,” Singer said.

Singer suggested employees and owners take a genuine interest in their customers, otherwise it could come off as insincere. “You can’t fake caring,” Singer said. “That is what networking comes down to. It is creating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.”

/// The NATSO Show 2017 will be held January 21 - 24 in Savannah, Georgia. Learn more about the NATSO Show here

Photo Credit: Chuck Fazio/NATSO

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About the Author

Mindy Long

Mindy Long

Mindy Long has been writing professionally for over 15 years and freelancing full time for the last four. In 2010 Long formed Mindy Long Freelance LLC. As a journalist, she has written about everything from video games to diesel fuel additives. 

Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. In addition, she has completed writing courses at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md., and through the OpEd Project, Writer’s Digest and mediabistro.com. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Northwestern Alumni Admissions Council.

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