A Day In the Life of our Operations Manager - The Man Who Ensures Your Auto Transport Service Runs Smoothly
Continuing on our recent theme we thought we’d turn to our Operations Manager for the next interview - Jeff Dowson. He’s the guy who makes your auto transport service run without a hitch. We posed a few in-depth questions, and here are the answers he gave.
Q: What brought you to the auto transport field?
A: Hmm, that’s a really interesting question… Looking back to my childhood it was probably my love of sport cars and big trucks that got me started. Like any boy on the planet I loved fast cars, but my dream car was a black Lamborghini. A good buddy of mine asked me to join his company around 10 years ago and I discovered I had a passion for taking care of peoples’ cars and helping to solve their relocation problems.
- Q: How many years experience do you have in the transport industry?
A: Whoa…let me think about that question for a moment. It’s kind of like asking why do men like cars? from an early age it seemed right to be around cars, and my life has revolved around them forever. It feels like I’ve been doing it for my whole life, but I’ve got roughly 10 years of experience in providing car shipping services and customer service management.
Q: How did you partner with SGT Auto Transport?
A: I found myself having a brief discussion with Stefano, the owner of the company, back in the days when his company was new. Surprisingly enough, his vision and mine were kind of on the same lines, and you all know what it’s like when it comes to guys and cars. We both love auto transport, cars and dealing with challenging situations, so we decided to join forces on a journey. Now here I am working behind the scenes and every day brings new challenges. You’d think arranging auto transport services would be easy, but there’s a lot goes on behind the scenes to ensure the customer enjoys a positive experience.
Q: What is your motivation?
- A: My motivation is a job well done. I always try to inspire the people around me and help them realize that ultimate satisfaction comes from a job well done. It’s not the money in this digital age, it’s the end game that matters. Personally, I didn’t give a damn about revenue and profit. There have been instances when we’ve been out of pocket. What was more important was to arrange the shipment and keep our word as a company.
- My motivation is my team, providing a healthy working environment and seeing SGT have an impact on auto transport. One other motivation I have to mention is my family. My heart swells with pride when I get asked “Dad, did you ship any Ferrari’s today? Let me see the pictures”.
Q: Do you have any advice for those seeking transport for work or military PCS moves?
- A: We’ve written a couple of blogs about auto transport services for our military and veterans. It’s an honor for us to be able to help the people that serve our country. Take a look at what we’ve written if you want to PCS my vehicle. You’ll also find the answer to the question, does the military ship your car for free?
Q: What are the goals for SGT in 2020?
A: A favorite quote of mine is that there are two ways to fail: you can fail to plan or fail to execute.
- The goal I’m bringing to SGT for next year is to make sure we plan and execute everything on time. 2020 is going to be a year of changes for our company. We’ve recently hired a QA manager to be in charge of compliance, complaints and building our online reputation. The goal is to always deliver a 5 star experience.
- We’re also looking into introducing an online tracking system, so customers can be made aware of their vehicle’s location at all times during the auto transport service.
- Further developments for 2020 include:
- - International shipping
- - Shipping to Canada
- - 24/7 customer support
- - A portal for dealerships and our B2B partners
- Finally, I’d like for us to be able to say we’re the #1 transporter on uShip.com.
Q: How do you develop a better car shipping service?
- A: That’s an easy question to answer - all you have to do is listen to what your customers are saying. They’re able to tell you if you’re doing it right, and they never hold back when your doing it wrong. Here at SGT Auto Transport we always listen to both sides. We keep the lines of communication open as much as possible, whether it’s by email, phone, or chat. A car shipping service is also developed by keeping in touch with customers and carriers throughout the auto transport service. Solving issues and always being available for the customer, are other ways in which our company shines.
Q: What was the most difficult situation you’ve had to deal with?
A: I’ve dealt with a lot of difficult situations over the years. Most of them are the result of unrealistic expectations or just a limited time frame. Sometimes the customer is not sure what they want. One story that comes to mind features a lady who was struggling with shipping her car. It made such an impact on me that we actually wrote a blog about the experience. I won’t bore you with it now, but you can read it here. It’s also the situation that prompted us to adopt our company motto.
Difficult situations come about when the customer needs a guaranteed pick-up, expedited service, last-minute transport, or when there has been damage to their vehicle. I don’t let any of these phase me, in fact, I eat them for breakfast!
Q: How does SGT select its carriers?
- A: We have internal rating system and feedback survey after any completed shipment. We get feedback from the customer about how the carrier performed during the shipment. Customers are asked, for example, about their communication with the carrier, whether they met the desired time frame, how courteous the driver was and whether there was any damage to the vehicle. We keep records on over 100, 000 carriers and have a dedicated carrier relation department which is in charge of carrier compliance. Before we send someone to pick-up a car we carefully review their profile, history, rating and insurance. We assure all our customers that the carriers we work with are trusted, bonded, insured and reliable.
- There are cases when a brand new carrier calls to offer their services. On such occasions, our dispatch manager reviews the request, undertakes the necessary research, and makes the final decision.
Q: Describe a day in the life of an operations manager/director of operations at SGT Auto Transport?
- A: I live and breathe logistics........for me it’s a calling. (Or is it just a case of asking why do guys like cars?) Usually, I arrive at the office around 5am, 2-3 hours before everyone else. I choose to do this because it’s when the office is at its quietest and I get to concentrate without any interruptions. I check up on what happened the night before, what calls were taken, emails received, and any requests made. Then I check my Google Calendar to see what kind of meetings I’ve got that day and to prioritize my tasks. Then I head off to grab a dispatcher’s coffee (we have a company joke - if you’re drinking from our coffee machine you can dispatch more cars).
By the time the rest of the team arrives, tasks are already delegated and work assigned to different members of the team.
The biggest part of the rest of the day is spent in short meetings. We might be discussing projects, reporting, analyzing and thinking about how the customer experience and auto transport process can be made better than yesterday.
- To be honest, here at SGT we’re not competing with anyone else. Our mission is just to be better than yesterday. Yesterday is history. Just a nice memory. We strive to always look forward to a better tomorrow.
- My day is pretty busy. Sometimes it gets very hectic and it feels like I never get a moment to myself. But that’s not a problem because I love it. I enjoy the buzz and the adrenaline of a busy office working environment.
Around 6 PM it’s time for me to leave the office and head for home. However, my day doesn’t stop then because I’m always available to talk to should any of the team or customers need help or advice.
- The end of my day is often spent relaxing with a nice book. Clearing my mind for a good night’s sleep and preparing for the next day.
Q: How does SGT stand out from the competition and other auto transport brokers?
- A: As I said, we don’t compete with other companies and I really don’t care about any arbitrary metrics that they use. When someone says, we’re a better company than you, I say better in what?
- If they say revenues, I reply, really? You’re charging your customers more when you have all the software in the world to enable you to charge them less!
If they say a bigger business share I congratulate them. We, on the other hand, prefer having a business share that means we’re not sacrificing our service.
- We’re here to stay and want to be able to provide a service longer than any other shippers.
So, going back to the question. We stand out from our competitors by creating a healthy working environment. Our team is happy and inspired and when this is the case they’re better able to provide stellar service to our customers. You’ve only got to read our reviews, to see what I mean.
- You can replicate a website, you can use the latest software, but there is one thing you can’t match as a company and that’s customer service and happiness inside the organization. You can practically see the smiles on our faces when speaking to us over the phone. For me, that means our business is a success.
Q: What kind of customers do you service?
- A: Our customers come from all walks of life, whether it’s a family, single person or business. There are no limits or boundaries to the type of customers we can help. It might an elderly couple who need their favorite classic motor shipped south for the winter or an entrepreneur who needs their latest acquisition shipped with the utmost care. Family sedans, mobility vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, SUVs..........if it has wheels we can ship it, even if those wheels don’t move.
Q: What kind of services do you offer?
- A: We consider ourselves to be a one-stop-shop for all things auto transport related. Our services include:
- - Open and enclosed transport
- - Express car shipping
- - Guaranteed pick-up service
- - Snowbirds auto transport
- - Students vehicle shipping
- - Military personnel shipping
- - and much more.
- If you want to know more about our services, spend some time perusing our website where all the information is available for your convenience.