There’s a public transportation app I like that tells me exactly when my next bus is coming. I tend to run out as late as I possibly can and it’s usually coming down the block. It works perfectly.
Getting home at 9 p.m., however, is another matter. I rely on the app and about half the time, I end up waiting, wondering if the bus has left or it hasn’t arrived yet. Usually, I’ll give up after five minutes and hail a ride.
Whether or not it’s a glitch in the app or an actual scheduling problem with the transit agency, it doesn’t matter. It all comes down to disappointing the customer.
Customer Service is More Important Than Ever
I’m sure fleet managers have encountered this problem themselves — they promise something to customers and are unable to deliver because the technology didn’t work correctly or it didn’t accurately reflect reality. For example, perhaps an online reservation system says a vehicle is available when it isn’t, or maybe a system sends out an e-mail about preventive maintenance because of an incorrect odometer reading. We just have to acknowledge that glitches happen and try to fix them.
This also highlights that customer service or interactions aren’t entirely in the fleet manager’s control. Some customers are interacting with computer systems more often than they are with actual fleet employees. That means when they are interacting with employees, customer service is more important than ever before.
If you’re having an issue online, being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone who will help you solve your problem, and nicely, does wonders. In contrast, not being able to find the contact information, or being ignored, or having to wait too long for a response can sour a customer’s opinion of the department or service. I have, more than once, been placated by good customer service.
Most Fleets Are Already There
Most fleets are mindful of the importance of customer service. They’re using customer agreements, meeting with user departments before making major decisions, sending out customer satisfaction surveys, and even polling them electronically. They’re using the information they collect to make positive changes for customers.
And even though technology can put a barrier between a fleet department and its customers, it can also exponentially improve customer service by improving efficiencies and automating previously manual processes. And it’s often also what customers demand — these days, you can hail a ride with an app, so why should you need to jump through so many hoops to get a motor pool vehicle?
Keep User Departments Happy
When you’re a fleet manager with dozens of people to manage, millions of dollars in funding to spend, and a major project or two that are time-consuming, it’s hard to remember to be customer-centric. But remember that, in some cases, unsatisfied user departments can start looking elsewhere for their fleet maintenance work.
Have you encountered technological challenges that have frustrated your customers, and how do you resolve them? Or have you changed your customer service policies or the way you interact with customers recently?