A company is only as strong as its reputation. Good, punctual, customer service is consequently one of the most essential ingredients to business success. For a company with a mobile workforce, fleet management technology will enable it to effectively plan its operations and road journeys to optimise customer communications and service delivery.
Service delivery shortcomings
Independent research by global consultancy TNS has highlighted the deficiencies in current service standards provided by service and delivery companies.
TomTom revealed they are failing to meet customer expectations and identified a clear gap between customer expectations and actual service delivery. The findings showed that:
- In a majority of cases, customer appointment time slots are considered too broad – three-quarters (75%) of consumers believe four-hour morning or afternoon timeslots are unacceptable.
- 87% of customers regularly experience the inconvenience of businesses arriving late for appointments.
- 79% of customers are frequently kept in the dark about delays.
The net effects of these service shortcomings on businesses are three-fold:
- As a company you never get a second chance to make a good first impression and customers (74%) that experience frustrations over service standards are unlikely to use the same business twice.
- Time-pressured mobile workers suffer undue stress on the road and onsite in their efforts to complete work to schedule.
- Businesses tied to service level agreements (SLAs) that fail to meet their targets could be hit by reduced revenues with clients terminating relationships or receiving financial credits.
Reaching the customer service gold standard
Whether businesses have a mobile workforce of three or 3,000, advanced fleet management technology enables companies to be informed when tradesmen or deliveries are due to arrive in more precise and accurate timeslots. Moreover, companies can be made fully aware of any delays and customers can be informed of these at the earliest possible opportunity.
A fundamental element of fleet management and the scheduling and dispatching of the field workforce is ‘travel time’. The use of reliable and very accurate travel time is vital in reaching the service gold standard. With real-time and historical travel time at their disposal companies can bridge the service delivery gap in the following key ways.
More precise planning and scheduling
- Good service delivery requires effective planning to calculate how many jobs mobile workers are able to attend in a day, managers need to know how long jobs are likely to take and how much time they are likely to spend on the road, journeying between customer sites.
- Job times can be estimated based on past experience; journey times can be accurately determined with fleet management technology, which calculate them based on historic traffic information for different times of the day and different days of the week.
- With a time-accurate planning tool at a company’s disposal, workers are less likely to face unrealistic job timetables, to be frustrated by traffic delays and to disappoint customers.
Smart routing for timely arrivals
- Fleet management technology improves vehicle routing, helping drivers to avoid congestion with live traffic information being relayed automatically to their navigation devices en-route. Coupled with smart routing, factoring in not only traffic flows, but also traffic lights, roundabouts and other obstacles, this can mean journey time savings of up to 15%.
Effective job dispatch
- Managers are able to allocate jobs to the most appropriate workers – based upon quickest arrival times – not simply to those who are closest to customers. Having this capability means businesses are able to respond more rapidly to customers as new job requests are made.
- Fleet management technology enables companies to provide accurate estimated times of arrival (ETA) – eradicating a reliance on broad time slots that prove so unpopular with customers.
- With real-time information available at managers’ finger tips, customers can also be immediately updated should changes to work schedules occur. By being given revised ETAs, and not being left in the dark about delays, customers can rest assured you’re putting their interest first.
Action stations: the move to optimising fleet and service performance
The introduction of fleet management systems with travel time planning tools has been proven to improve operational performance and enable companies to deliver higher service standards for customers – the key ingredients to business success.
With these tools at their disposal, employees arrive at customers on time and in stress-free circumstances. As a consequence, they are able to devote more time to them, deliver a superior standard of service and, if applicable, are better placed to meet business-critical SLA targets.