Five ways a route planner can help improve your profitability
A route planner can help cut costs, increase productivity and improve the bottom line.
Are you constantly juggling with same day scheduling? Do you want field employees to complete delivery forms and take customers’ signatures onsite? Are you trying to cut costs while increasing productivity? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone.
If so many businesses are facing these challenges, then why aren’t they looking for ways to overcome them? The truth is, they are! The answer to many of these problems can be solved with the use of a route planner.
Having a route planner can benefit your business, but finding the right one that fits your unique business needs is an important task. Some features are must-haves, while others are just add-ons to make the entire package look attractive. How do you know which features to look for? Read on to find out.
Features that positively impact your bottom line
To help you check all the right boxes, we have identified some must-have features in a route planner. These features will have a direct and positive impact on your profitability. Armed with this advice, you can choose a route planner that meets your needs and sets you up for success.
1. Automated route planning
Manual route planning takes time and is prone to errors. The most significant advantage a route planner app offers is that it can provide an optimized and accurate route in less than 30 seconds. Can any amount of manual route planning beat this? All you have to do is upload a list of customer addresses or locations, and the software will do the hard work for you. The planned route will have factored in constraints such as traffic, weather and preferred delivery windows.
2. Real-time tracking
What if your field employees are running personal errands during duty hours? What if they are driving too fast? Using GPS tracking, you can monitor your field employees in real-time through a map included in the software. You will be able to communicate with the driver in the mobile app and instruct them to practice safe driving habits.
You can also set alerts to instantly know when a driver speeds or isn’t driving carefully. Harsh driving not only increases the chances of accidents but also negatively impacts fuel consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, rash driving can reduce gas mileage by almost 33% on highways.
3. Re-optimizing planned routes
What if a customer calls 30 minutes after your field employees leave for the day, asking you to change their delivery time or address — will this press panic buttons in your office?
Many times, changing one address or delivery time affects the entire route. You have to start from scratch and create another route, which, if done manually, could mean a couple of hours lost to re-planning. However, this won’t happen if you’re using a route planner or any advanced route optimization software.
With a route planner application, this situation will only mean an additional 30 seconds to create a new route, and a couple of more minutes to send the new optimized route to your field employees on their mobile app. No unnecessary phone calls. No delays. No frustration. Within a couple of minutes, you will be back to what you were doing before that customer called.
4. Collecting proof of service/delivery
When looking for a route planner, look for one with an eSignature feature. This feature will help you settle disputes by allowing your customers to sign for delivery or service confirmation on your employee’s mobile device. When the proof cannot be misplaced, you will always know whether or not your employees visited a customer.
5. Keeping customers informed
Punctuality is one of the top factors on which customers rate field service businesses. With a route planner that includes a GPS tracking feature, you can ensure that the ETAs given to your customers are accurate and reliable.
However, many factors play a role in ensuring that your employees reach customer locations on time, and not all of those factors are under your control. The silver lining in the cloud is that the majority of customers are quick to forget and forgive but only if your communication is spot on. Timely and efficient communication directly impacts the customer experience. Your customers value their time, and you should too — especially if you want their business again.
If there is a possibility of a delay, the sooner you inform the customer, the better your chances of gaining their trust and business in the future will be. Using the customer portal in your route planner application, you can get in touch with your customers and keep them updated. This way, when your employee is a short distance away from their destination, the customer will get a text message giving them the heads-up that the driver or technician is nearby.
A route planner can provide unparalleled benefits to your field service business — improved productivity, enhanced customer experience as well as stretching your company’s bottom line. With the demands of customers evolving and the needs of field service businesses becoming more complex, a route planner has become an essential ingredient for success.
This guest post is brought to you by Route4Me, a Marketplace Partner Solution.
Extremely user-friendly, Route4Me Route Planner allows users to create, share, manage, and drive optimized routing plans in a matter of seconds using the company’s web-browser software and smartphone apps, ideal for field sales, field marketing, field merchandising, territory management and optimization. Route4Me provides the world’s most used route sequencing and optimization software for small businesses and enterprises.
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Geotab's blog posts are intended to provide information and encourage discussion on topics of interest to the telematics community at large. Geotab is not providing technical, professional or legal advice through these blog posts. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this blog post is timely and accurate, errors and omissions may occur, and the information presented here may become out-of-date with the passage of time.
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