Electronic logging device customer service is rarely given priority in a pilot or trial phase, yet it's one of the most vital aspects to successful ELD implementation. It's only after investing large amounts of time and money that some customers realize that their ELD provider's customer service and support are not up to par.
Customer service is an important criteria when evaluating ELD providers, not only because of the technology complexity of the devices, but also because of the complexity of the ELD rules.
The following are some top considerations for those who are looking to switch ELD providers because of poor customer service or upgrading an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) system before the grandfather clause ends on Dec. 16, 2019.
3 Keys to Good ELD Customer Service
Managing compliance, driver, and technical issues with ELDs requires a knowledgeable and dedicated support staff to resolve problems quickly. You lose more from your bottom line the longer your vehicles and drivers are unnecessarily off the road.
Three things to consider when looking at potential ELD providers are ongoing customer care, training resources, and technical support.
1. Ongoing Customer Care
What is your customer service experience like now? Do you have to send an email and wait 24-48 hours for a response? Do you have one number to call and receive a different person every time? Do you have to sit on hold for several minutes (or longer) before you even reach a person? When you finally do get to someone, is the technical support team in-house or outsourced?
Good customer service can help prevent violations and fines, poor CSA scores, downtime due to hours-of-service violations or a malfunctioning devices, or a potential audit.
It's crucial to find out from an ELD service provider how they handle ongoing customer care. Is their support team available 24 hours a day, every day of the year? Or are the only available on specific days during certain times? Do they provide separate, dedicated support staff to their ELD customers if they also provide GPS tracking as a service? Do they offer dedicated account managers who provide ongoing training for you and your team? If you care about these aspects of customer service, then keep these questions top of mind when speaking with ELD providers.
2. Training Resources
ELD experts and fleets that have already implemented electronic logging devices agree that training of drivers and back office staff is crucial. There's more to switching from AOBRDs to ELDs than just the devices.
One of the most useful training resources an ELD provider can offer is an online knowledge base. It's frustrating spending unnecessary amounts of time reaching out to technical support to ask a simple question. Look for access to an online knowledge base that provides easily searchable and understandable content.
For some businesses, it's also essential to have dedicated account management teams that can provide ongoing training. Implementing an ELD solution into any workflow often takes much more time than expected. During the initial ELD implementation in 2017, many fleets found that they did not adequately plan for training. Having a provider that can support drivers and back-office personnel with on-boarding and ongoing training is imperative to remain in compliance.
3. Technical Support
One of the most vital aspects of an ELD solution is the provider's technical support staff. What are their average wait times to get to a representative? How knowledgeable are they about not only their system, but about the ELD rule in general? How much do they know about any specific exemptions or different HOS rules applicable to your particular segment of the industry, such as oil field operations? How accessible is their support team? How often do they update their hardware and software and at what cost to their customers?
It's essential to determine how the provider handles equipment failures. Remember, fleets only have eight days to resolve an equipment failure. If there is no resolution at the end of those eight days, the vehicle, or even the entire fleet, will be out of compliance.
These are important questions to raise and understand when assessing providers whether you're switching to a new ELD provider or upgrading your AOBRD system. Customer support is crucial to remain in compliance and to stay productive.
The Time Is Now
Choosing an ELD solution that fits your customer care expectations will give your fleet a foundation on which to build compliance, safety, and productivity under the ELD mandate.
You can get free quotes from suppliers of ELD solutions at HDT sister publication businessfleet.com.