Interview Series – Hayden Harper, Account Manager
What’s your favorite part of your job today?
My absolute favorite part of my role here at Candor Expedite is the relationship building that happens with our customers. Very often, a business relationship starts out of necessity – they have a product they need to be moved, and we have the capabilities to do it. As we work together more, trust and friendship are developed, and I get to understand my clients on a more personal level. The best business relationships I’ve had are always the ones where my clients and I talk about their children, sports, our dogs, or plans for the weekend (after we’ve done our job), of course.
How are shippers and carriers getting back to their new normal and what does that look like?
I feel like there is always a “new normal” in transportation. Since freight was carried by horse and wagon, it has always been point A to point B at the foundation, but the industry is always changing. Just in recent memory, we’ve had E-log regulations, the arrival of electric vehicles and self-driving trucks, the pandemic, and even a ship blocking the Suez canal. It is about analyzing these challenges, taking inventory of what matters and making an informed decision on what makes the most sense for your individual company. No single change is going to be universally damaging or positive for each client we have, but you don’t want to be the only carrier still driving a horse and wagon when everyone else is using the combustible engine.
What advice do you give your shippers and carriers today?
Do what’s best for you. None of my customers do everything the exact same way – and I am completely ok with that. My job at Candor is to service my client to the best of my ability and sure, give them some advice if I feel it can benefit them. At the end of the day, my customers know what is best for their transportation process far better than I ever will. Nicole and I presented some unique solutions to a few of our clients in the Fall of last year that they are still exploring – not to improve our stature with them, but because we sincerely believe it will help their company.
What’s your biggest customer challenge and how are you dealing with it?
As an Account Manager, I want to understand my customer, take care of their needs, and grow the relationship if it makes sense for both parties. We saw here at Candor that the one-piece missing there was actually getting my hands dirty on the Operations side. While I will still be the main point of contact for my customers and my goals remain the same, we are tweaking my role just a bit so that I get a better understanding of the Operations on our side that go into servicing the customer. This is going to allow me to see areas they can save, understand the markets their freight comes in and out of, and hopefully become more of an extension of their transportation team.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve gotten over the years? (Get out in front of the problem; the faster you put out the fire, the better)
My grandfather owned his own business and gave me all the advice I could handle over the years. Never hiring someone without polished shoes and a watch doesn’t necessarily hold up in 2022, but most of it did. The one-piece that stands out to me the most is being proactive when issues arise. Far too often in our industry, people run into a problem and either hopes it goes away, or wait far too long to do something about it. Honesty and an attitude that you are going to fix a problem will go a long way. Tell your customer the issue, then tell them what you’re going to do about it. In a previous role, my first shipment with a new customer had immediate issues. I picked up the phone thinking this would be my first and last work with them, told them the issue and my solution, and months later they were my number one customer.
What’s your favorite part about working at Candor Expedite?
This is the easiest question of the day. I see myself moving the needle here at Candor – I think everyone else here would say the same. I have worked with huge companies and done well, but was left thinking that if I disappeared today, business would go on as usual tomorrow. We all see ourselves making an impact on the goals we’ve set as a company here at Candor, and are all needed to make this thing work. We’re spread out across the country, but rarely does it seem like that – which I think is a huge reason why everyone is committed to seeing Candor grow.