Ever since the tow truck was invented in 1916, the industry has grown significantly, servicing more and more breakdowns every year. With thousands of tow truck companies and drivers around the country, it’s not hard to see there’s a need to have a good fleet management system in place.

But how does fleet management software help tow companies improve the customer experience and organize their fleets?

A better tow company is all about service

An industry’s reputation can easily be damaged by poor quality service providers working for short term gains, or by lone operators who ignore industry guidelines or standards of behavior. The tow industry has earned, deservedly or otherwise, a less than stellar reputation, with many having a low opinion of tow truck drivers and the service they provide.

Of course, this is not helped by the negative experience, be it an accident, a breakdown or a parking violation, that generally goes with a tow truck call-out.

But reputable tow companies are looking to technology to improve the customer experience and undo the negative perception that some have of the tow truck industry.

Telogis fleet management systems are assisting fleets to improve their service standards by responding faster and more efficiently to call-outs.

For stranded drivers, these improvements offer huge benefits in several areas:

  • Less waiting — When you’re waiting for roadside assistance, minutes can feel like hours. Stuck en route to your destination is not only frustrating, but also can be dangerous, particularly when you’re alone or in a strange or remote location. Faster call-outs are always appreciated by the customer. Faster dispatch of the closest available tow truck driver and optimized, traffic-based routing gets trucks to customers a lot faster.
  • Improved communication — No one enjoys waiting, but the experience can be made worse when there’s no idea of how far away help is. Telematics allows service-focused dispatch operators to keep customers updated with accurate ETAs that are communicated via SMS or voice calls. The customer can also be informed if there are any delays or a different driver has been dispatched.
  • Confirmed identification — Stranded motorists can easily feel vulnerable. Improved communication not only improves the waiting period, but accurate ETA and vehicle information means that customers can also avoid falling prey to wandering operators scouting for cash jobs, or criminals posing as tow truck drivers.
  • Nearby services — If your customers require information on services or supplies nearby, Telogis software can feed relevant POI information direct to the driver’s PND, including custom GIS data unique to your business. For example, your loyalty program may offer discounts for member purchases. If the customer needs a new battery, your driver’s PND can show the location of the nearest participating auto parts store.
  • Less paperwork — With all the customer job details already sent directly to the tow operator’s mobile device, the driver has all the relevant information before arriving at the job, speeding up the recovery process and requiring less paperwork to be completed on-site.

While some of these benefits may appear small, even minor improvements to the customer experience can be all that are needed to turn an ordinary service encounter into a memorable one that they will tell others about.

Not just better service: better profitability too

Telogis solutions are well known for improving fleet profitability and productivity, offering significant financial returns to operators. In fact, most fleets that implement Telogis experience a positive ROI within around 120 days. There are good reasons why this isn’t a big surprise.

  • Better asset utilization — It’s hard to keep track of hundreds, if not thousands, of tow trucks operating across the country, and make sure that they’re all being used effectively and profitably. Telogis Fleet provides an easy tool to make sure all your vehicles are being used effectively, and if they’re not you can either reallocate work or sell trucks for quick capital gain.
  • Less down-timeGPS devices can track your entire fleet 24/7, providing you with accurate information on unnecessary side-trips and drivers taking longer than expected to reach their destination. Optimized work ordering and time-on-site details help you to see where assistance may be needed to help your drivers get through more jobs and reduce overtime costs.
  • Refute liability claimsGPS tracking makes refuting false damage claims or lawsuits much faster and easier. A simple ‘what happened here’ feature can show where your trucks were at the time, and replay their trip history throughout the day.
  • More profitable jobs — Telogis features smart dispatch tools that can send the most economical driver for the job in order to save costs. If there’s no need for a boom truck, then using Telogis Fleet tags and attributes makes it easy for dispatchers to send a more economical truck. Optimized routing, that can avoid traffic congestion, also reduces unnecessary miles per job.
  • Better driver communication — Dispatch have the option of sending canned messages to all drivers to gauge current status or availability for an ad-hoc job, without the need for radios or cell phones. Optimized work orders and turn-by-turn navigation can be sent instantly to a driver’s PND for faster response times and fewer communication breakdowns.

As the number of vehicles on our roads continues to increase, tow truck operators will be in demand. Fortunately GPS-based telematics is helping tow operators to provide a faster, more complete service for stranded motorists, and allowing them to work more productively.

Whether your tow company offers just light duty towing services, or a full range of towing capability from light to heavy duty and everything in between, then you’ll find there are significant benefits for both your business and your customers by investing in GPS fleet management software.