The Insight Source Blog
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Author: Lance Holt
Content Marketing Specialist
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Questions to Ask Telematics Providers
During the Buying Process: Part One
Telematics Systems: Pick Low Hanging
Fruit to Gain Fast ROI
The Value of a Great Customer Experience with Telematics
Questions to Ask Telematics Providers During the Buying Process
In part one of this series, the questions of what to ask telematics providers during the buying process focused on software functionality. In part two, you will learn about the questions you need to ask about the telematics provider as a company.
How long have you been in the telematics business?
Don’t you want a telematics provider to have experience? One that has a proven track record of delivering an exceptional customer experience? It’s important to find the sweet spot – not too old, not too new. A telematics provider that is too new may be a fly-by-night type of company and one day vanishes without a trace, leaving you out to dry. If they are an older company, then their equipment and/or software could be outdated, spending little to no time updating their systems based on customer needs. You may also be reduced to a number and not receive the quality service you expect.
Are you financially stable with high growth and profitability?
The provider’s financial stability should be key in your decision. There have been several companies that have come and gone in this industry, leaving their customers to their own devices (pun intended). This is not a cheap or short-term investment you’re making. Find a telematics provider that will be there for you in the long run.
What makes your approach unique?
Some common answers you might get to this question are “our software!” or “our features!” While features and functionality are important, you should dig beyond that response to find out if the provider will not only be the best software vendor, but the best business partner. Why do companies choose to do business with you? What sets you apart from other companies in your space? These are aspects to think about when researching telematics providers to see if your company values match up with theirs.
What is your customer retention rate?
You will want to select a telematics company that has high customer satisfaction. A high churn rate is not a good sign of the company’s technology or customer service or both! The industry average is around 10-12% per year. Check out review sites like Capterra to see what current customers are saying about their telematics provider.
What training and support services do you offer?
Training and support are important services to ask potential vendors about when making an investment into telematics software. It’s crucial that your employees who will be operating the system know how to use it. Find out if the provider has customer service offerings like free, unlimited training by your dedicated account manager. Long into being a customer, you will continue to have questions as you learn more about the software, develop new fleet strategies, and hire new employees. It’s also important to find out if the telematics provider offers 24/7/365 technical support for your service department. Your team needs the ability to call in with issues any time of day whether you run a 24/7 business or prefer to call after normal business hours so it doesn’t take them away from regular duties.
What are your purchasing options and terms?
With most telematics providers, there are two options for obtaining devices.
- Purchase: Paying for the devices up front in addition to a monthly service fee.
- Rental/subscription: The cost of the devices is bundled in with the monthly service fee.
The upfront cost is eliminated when choosing the rental contract, but some fleets prefer to own the devices. It’s important to make sure the telematics provider you choose offers whichever option works best for your business.
You should also inquire about their contract length and if they automatically renew contracts. Most telematics providers offer a two to a three-year contract. Some providers do automatically renew your contract, so it’s important to ask this question up front.
Do you offer a warranty for hardware?
The length of the warranty, as well as what it covers, varies from provider to provider. When you invest in telematics hardware, some providers offer a warranty for a few months, a year, or even longer. Some contracts act as the warranty for the entirety of your agreement. Make sure that you are covered in case any of the devices ever stop working and need to be replaced.
What is your process for deploying a solution smoothly and successfully?
There is always a process to ensure a successful roll-out. Here is an example of an implementation outline:
1) Establish key metrics for improvement
2) Get executive buy-in
3) Do a proof of concept/pilot
4) Conduct regular reviews throughout the pilot
5) Produce a finished business case
6) Establish a roll-out strategy and installation schedule
7) Schedule training based on roles and use cases for the system
The important takeaway from both of these blogs of questions to ask telematics providers is that a good solution goes beyond the software alone. It’s about finding the right support you expect, and a company that you want to do business with.