Fleet tracking means cost savings to you, but it means more to customers
Fleet tracking has been a reliable cost-cutting effort for companies of all sizes for years. From the long-haul trucking company to the local cab service, GPS systems have been used to reduce fuel costs, extend vehicle life spans, and improve efficiency among drivers. One of the less talked about benefits of fleet tracking, however, is an implicit improvement in customer service, satisfaction and retention.
The Value of Well-Informed Representatives
In the days before live tracking, dispatchers relied on the word of their drivers. The transmission of location data was slow or nonexistent, and there was no way to know for sure where a driver was, where they'd been, or where they were going. More importantly, since this vital information was difficult for dispatchers to discern, customer service representatives were unable to relay it to customers, which often led to dissatisfaction and complaints. With the establishment of a GPS system, countless fleet managers are now able to better coordinate their drivers as well as share vehicle information to the public through well-informed representatives and shareable online maps and data.
For example, the cities of Chicago and New York have to deal with a lot of snow over the course of any given winter, and every storm carries with it a flood of phone calls inquiring about when a street is going to be plowed. These calls from citizens take up valuable time, and the agencies that operate the snow plow fleets have learned that there’s a faster and better way to provide answers. By using fleet trackers, both cities have given the people who take those calls a way to provide a more honest answer about the city’s response during a snow emergency. They can now log on to a computer system and pull up the position of every snow plow operating in the neighborhood. Thanks to GPS fleet tracking technology, they can now tell the person on the other end of the phone when a plow is reasonably expected to come through the area.
Reduced Delivery Times Means an Increase in Customer Satisfaction
Cutting delivery times is the goal of any fleet manager tasked with moving mass quantities of units. By implementing a GPS fleet management system dispatchers and managers alike are able to monitor routes and plan the most efficient paths for drivers. By knowing exactly where every package is and when it's arriving, a company can guarantee deliveries and with it, satisfied customers. As with knowing where service vehicles are, having informed customer service representatives is paramount in dealing with important packages. Being able to say, "Your package is scheduled to arrive today at 11 a.m." and meaning it instills customer trust in your company.
Data Gathering Helps Identify Patterns to Create Better Service
One of the more understated benefits of GPS fleet tracking is the implicit gathering of data that comes with monitoring vehicles. For example, in the days and weeks following Hurricane Sandy, the city of New York found that flooding had left its entire transportation system in disarray. As train systems had been knocked out by flooding into tunnels, a much larger burden was placed on its fleet of taxis. Thanks to the fresh input the city gained from its fleet trackers, the city was able to identify a number of macro-scale patterns. The city was also able to route taxis and buses around the delays that occurred by using older data from snow emergencies and previous disasters. This data gathering, though borne of tragedy, gave researchers fresh insight into traffic patterns that was used to provide better customer service across the board in the months that followed the storm.
Providing Customer Assurance of Valuable Cargo
Fleet tracking allows for managers to not only know where vehicles are, but also how they are. Through advanced diagnostic screening and emissions monitoring, as well as tracking scheduled maintenance, managers can reduce accidents caused by faulty vehicles. When parents put their children's lives in the hands of school bus drivers, for example, they expect a certain level of assurance that all vehicles are up to code and safe to use. In addition, the technology allows them to improve the overall quality of their service by reducing waste from inefficient and slow routes. When there is a breakdown or a delay, they can also refer to the tracker in order to allow parents and the school district to know that the bus might be running behind schedule. GPS fleet tracking can reduce safety concerns and stress, ultimately leading to a better experience for everyone who relies upon the bus company.
There’s an App for That
Tracking systems can also be tied to phone apps in order to reduce the number of citizen or customer complaints. A citizen of a city can check the snow plow app to see how close the plows are to their neighborhood. Similarly, a transportation operator, such as a limousine company, can use apps, text messages and push notifications to let people know when a vehicle is on its way and when it is expected to arrive. This level of customer service takes a great deal of burden off of dispatchers and operators, allowing them to focus on other tasks that are also critical to doing the job well.
Knowing where every vehicle in a fleet is at any given moment is becoming an increasingly critical part of operations. Businesses should, however, look beyond the cost benefits implicit in improving efficiency and realize the benefits to the customer. Whether it’s through a smartphone app that shows where the nearest vehicle is or the ability to give a customer a straight answer about a delay, GPS fleet tracking delivers a range of benefits that even the customer can enjoy. By offering the customer a clearer picture of what’s happening with your fleet, you’ll provide better service and foster a greater sense of your own operation’s competency.