Author: Lance Holt
Content Marketing Specialist
Questions to Ask Potential Telematics Providers
How many times have you said, “Cut to the chase – what’s your best price?” when in the process of buying a new product?
Maybe you have already asked that question while investigating telematics providers. It makes sense – not everything we purchase needs in-depth research. However, there are products we buy that deserve a closer look and that we should not skimp on solely for cheaper pricing.
Finding a telematics provider requires more time and research to find the best fit. There’s nothing worse than locking your organization into a three-year commitment with a provider only to have buyer’s remorse soon after. To help ensure this doesn’t happen, let’s look at essential questions to ask potential telematics providers during the buying process that deal with the functionality of the product, as well as what separates them as a business.
How often do you update your software?
We live in the booming age of technology, and the telematics space is no exception. Features and capabilities are continually growing and evolving, which means that telematics providers should be focused on updating their hardware and software. Some telematics providers update elements of their product quarterly or annually with an official release of a new version. Some companies update more frequently to stay ahead of the curve, providing cutting-edge features and technology as it becomes available. Make sure the telematics provider you choose is a leader in innovation and takes feedback from their customers on feature recommendations.
Do you have an in-house development team?
This is great follow up to validate their dedication to software innovation and development. Nothing says, “We’re dedicated to improving our product,” more than having an in-house development team. When development is not in-house, it can slow turnaround times for bug fixes, feature requests, integrations, or any updates and enhancements. Telematics providers who care about their end product will have in-house development teams continually make improvements and enhancements.
Find out if the telematics provider works with another company in your industry and how they use the software. This is beneficial because you will see proof of a successful implementation and get more ideas as to how you can use telematics to help your business.
Do you have experience with my industry and fleet size?
Find out if the telematics provider works with another company in your industry and how they use the software. This is beneficial because you will see proof of a successful implementation and get more ideas as to how you can use telematics to help your business. This information is typically offered through customer success stories published on the telematics provider’s website. The telematics provider should be able to provide customer references you can call and talk to about their experience as well.
Does your software integrate with my other back-office and fleet management systems?
It feels good when you have a few different business solutions that work great on their own. Having a few different business solutions that work great together is fantastic. It’s a connected world now where all types of software need to communicate to help streamline operations for businesses, and vehicle telematics software is one of them.
Find out if the telematics providers you are researching can integrate with the other software you use in your daily workflow.
Can your telematics solution be utilized by any number of users with different user permissions?
There is a hierarchy within every company. Access to specific information will vary depending on where each person falls within the hierarchy. You have C-level executives, managers, supervisors, and dispatchers who are in charge of different groups, need different information and therefore require different permissions. Make sure that you also have control over the level of permissions for each user.
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 outdated, not too new. A telematics provider that is brand new may be a fly-by-night type of company and one day will vanish without a trace, leaving you high and dry. While companies that have been around a long time may seem more experienced, their equipment and 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.
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?
Choose a telematics company that has high customer satisfaction is a huge benefit for obvious reasons. A high churn rate is not a good sign of the company’s technology or customer service, and likely is a reflection of both. The industry average for churn is around 15% per year. Ensuring potential providers are not above this average can help weed out vendors that don’t offer the best products or experience. Also, reading review sites like Capterra to see what current customers are saying about their telematics provider is a valuable indicator.
What training and support services do you offer?
Training and support are important services to ask potential vendors about when making an investment in telematics software. Find out if the provider has customer service offerings, such as 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 what kind of technical support the provider offers. Is it in-house? Is it outsourced? Do you have to call during a short time window Monday-Friday, or do they have more flexible hours where you can call at your convenience? These are key factors that play a role in your experience as a customer.
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.
The critical takeaway from these questions to ask telematics providers is that a good solution goes beyond features and price. It’s about finding the ongoing support you expect, and a company that you want to do business with for years to come.
Author: Lance Holt
Content Marketing Specialist
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