You spend a lot of money on marketing, advertising and other ways to promote your brand, but could you be destroying it all by keeping your customers waiting?

Customer wait times can do more damage to a company’s reputation than they realize. It’s an aspect of bad service that is not just frustrating, but in many ways costly to the customer. Time is money, and every minute you keep a customer waiting rapidly erodes goodwill. All that effort and expense on advertising, marketing, competitions and giveaways could be going down the drain just because you’re burning up time the customer could put to better use — and they know it.

How hard is it to be on time?

But you might argue that being on time is not always that simple. There are things going on that are beyond your control, factors you can do nothing about. Trying to keep your drivers on schedule is a challenging assignment, and you face several hurdles to do it successfully:

  • Drivers might have urgent ad hoc jobs that can’t be avoided
  • A driver might suddenly fall ill and be unable to fill their shift
  • Traffic congestion, accidents or detours may cause a route that normally takes 20 minutes to expand to an hour
  • One of your vehicles may unexpectedly breakdown
  • Poor scheduling may not allow sufficient travel time
  • Manual, inaccurate or lazy routing may mean drivers take longer than necessary

There can be a lot of reasons why a driver doesn’t arrive on time. Whether it’s a plumber, pest control technician, linesman, waste collection truck or parcel delivery driver, it doesn’t matter to the customer. All they know is you’ve kept them waiting and to them it’s a poor show, no matter how legitimate your reason may be.

How can you make sure you minimize late arrivals and, if a late arrival is unavoidable, manage your customers effectively to make sure any damage to your reputation is kept to an absolute minimum?

On-time deliveries don’t happen by accident

Anyone who manages a fleet knows that on-time deliveries don’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning, resource management and good communication to keep a service fleet running smoothly, and customer expectations kept in check. What tools can you use to help you achieve this?

  • Planning — While managing a fleet can often be focused on day-to-day activities, to achieve long term success a fleet needs to employ planning and be proactive rather than just reacting to daily needs. Using the Telogis Route Planning Suite, fleet managers and dispatch staff can distribute repeat clients efficiently, minimizing travel distances for mobile workers, and reducing the chance of traffic being a factor in missing an appointment. The cost of acquiring a new client can also be quickly determined, helping you make a smarter decision about your availability or pricing. Dynamic time windows make it easy to cater to clients that have specific time requirements.
  • Resource management — Using GPS tracking you’ll know what resources you’ve got, and where they are throughout the day, making it easier to manage your mobile team. For example, you can dispatch the closest capable worker to a new job, or, if a vehicle breaks down or gets trapped in traffic, you can re-route a nearby driver to make sure you deliver on time.
  • Communication — With Telogis Fleet™ you’ll have real-time visibility of your fleet. Using the 2-way messaging in Telogis Mobile™ you can communicate easily with all drivers, polling for who is available for a new job, and then dispatch the closest vehicle. And when you’re alerted to a vehicle that won’t arrive on time, for any of the reasons we’ve already mentioned, you can then take the proactive step of contacting the customer and managing their expectations, perhaps rescheduling for another time or providing updated ETAs.

Not always on time, but always delivering great service

Even the greatest companies in the world fail to deliver on time. But an on-time failure can be managed successfully to make sure it doesn’t become a service failure and damage your hard-earned reputation. Using Telogis® telematics you can make sure it’s unlikely to happen, and if it does, to handle it well, to keep the client happy, and make sure you get years of repeat business.