Good customer service is vital to any business. And for businesses that rely on vehicles to deliver goods and services, a slick fleet operation can make the difference between happy and unhappy customers. And while happy customers might buy again and recommend your business to others, unhappy ones won’t, and, they’ll tell others they’re unhappy. It’s as simple as that.
What customers want is also quite simple. On the face of it, they want you to:
• Be there when you said you would be
• Let them know if anything is going to change
• Arrive with the right goods and skills or tools to do the job
• Respond quickly if anything changes.
A reasonable set of expectations, most would agree. Customers want their appointment to happen on the day and at the time they were told it would. They want their deliveries to arrive on time. Should the UK weather, as it does, bring a tree down in the road, meaning your driver won’t meet the appointment time, they want you to tell them. Not leave them waiting for someone that isn’t going to turn up. When you do arrive, the customer wants your technician to have the right skills and the tools they need to do the job first time. And should the customer’s circumstances change they want you to be able to rearrange things quickly.
Not meeting these service level criteria will result in customer dissatisfaction, potentially lost customers, and possibly even a damaged reputation for your business.
Yet, even though the expectations may seem simple, meeting, let alone exceeding, them throws up challenges for managers of fleet vehicles. Success hinges on access to good, reliable data. Fleet managers need to know where each of their vehicles are at any given time, how long it will take them to reach their destinations, who is on board each vehicle and how flexible the timetable of their jobs is. With this information management can take decisions that will keep their business operating at peak efficiency and most importantly, keep customers happy.
This is where technology – in the form of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) – comes very much to the aid of the business with vehicles out-on the road. It was first introduced around forty years ago as a navigation tool and is still very useful in giving drivers turn-by-turn directions to get from A to B. Where, indeed, would many of us be without it? The power of new technologies such as ever cheaper mobile communication and cloud, partnered with GPS has meant the creation of fleet management systems that can be used to gain a comprehensive view of vehicle whereabouts and fleet performance. These fleet management systems are a valuable business tool that can help with routing, scheduling, navigation and planning.
If an appointment needs changing, it’s not only quicker for customers if you can send the nearest vehicle, it’s also better for your business’ bottom line to avoid re-routing one from far away. It also helps if you don’t have to spend time getting drivers on the phone to make it all happen.
Improving customer service will always be a high priority for the field-service industry. And so GPS enabled fleet management systems are increasingly being adopted by companies aiming for a high-performing, efficient service. And, of course, satisfied customers.
Derek Bryan is Sales director, as well as a founding member of Fleetmatics. His previously held positions include, field sales manager, director of inside sales and enterprise and public sector sales director. Fleetmatics is one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the world with over 22,000 business customers and offices worldwide. Fleetmatics is quoted on the Nasdaq as FLTX.