Fleet News

Van fleets: White van man is the new golden boy

By Mark Forrest, general manager, Field Service Management Division, Trimble

The white van man has long been branded as the rogue of the roads, but as businesses shift their view of their field-based workforce from one of operational necessity to strategic value, he has become the ultimate golden boy and brand ambassador on the frontline.

Nine in every 10 managers and directors operating large field-based workforces recently surveyed in Trimble’s ‘Road Ahead’ report agreed that mobile workers are the company face and important for the image of the business.

But staff out on the road are often tarnished by a negative ‘white van man’ reputation.

It is a real challenge to overcome this stereotype, but many businesses are fully committed to improving field operations: 49% agreed that the board is placing more strategic importance on field service excellence than a year ago.

Achieving service delivery excellence

Organisations are using a number of initiatives to turn frontline workers into brand ambassadors.

Nearly half of those surveyed hold regular customer service training sessions, and a further 31% meet frequently to discuss interaction with clients.

Simple things like sharing behavioural codes of conduct (33%) and providing a uniform/dress code (23%) are also important to presenting a consistent, respected image to customers.

In particular, 79% said driving skill is taken seriously. Three-quarters of businesses surveyed provide regular staff briefings on safer driving.

The role of technology in delivering service excellence

Eight out of 10 managers and directors believe technology can achieve continuous improvements in customer service.

The right technology can help with effective scheduling to get the right driver to the nearest location promptly, which keeps customers happy, boosts service productivity and ultimately drives business profits.

With customer service now a top priority, there is a strong case for investment in technologies and initiatives that help to ensure frontline staff are business ambassadors.

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