MyMobileWorkers | Why the highways sector needs to get real about client communications
You order a takeaway online. You immediately receive a delivery time estimate. You’re told the name of the driver, you’re able to track their progress through the streets in real-time. If there’s a problem, you can make instant contact.
This is the level of customer service that we’re used to in 2020. Real-time tracking and status updates have become the norm. It’s used for everything from flight tracker apps to cycle hire services.
So why do so few highways companies provide this same standard of customer service? How is it that a takeaway delivery can provide better client communications than a highways contractor?
The most obvious answer is that most highways operators can’t currently provide real-time information. The recent ‘Driving Change’ survey found that over a third (35%) of UK highway businesses are still reliant on paper-based management processes.
Importance of digital connectivity
For those who have gone ‘digital’, that often means the use of emails and Excel spreadsheets. While it’s an improvement on paper, it doesn’t provide the digital connectivity that’s required for real-time management.
The research found that only 21% of highways companies using digital processes could supply real-time updates – although, that’s more than double the number than those using paper-based management.
This means that if a client wants to know where a mobile team is or if they’re trying to get a status update on a particular job – receiving that information is going to take time.
Calls will have to be made; texts and emails exchanged. By the time information is shared, it’s already likely to be out-of-date. It’s the kind of poor communications that creates unnecessary stress and strains in client-contractor relations.
Demand for real-time road data
It also stifles the ability of road operators to provide the public with up-to-date and accurate information. The phasing in of the Department of Transport’s Street Manager system this year highlights the need for real-time communications.
Instead of playing catch up, highways companies should be leading the way with the use of real-time processes and exploring better ways to communicate and support clients.
The real challenge is not so much about the technology, it’s more about the general mindset. The highways sector needs to become more comfortable with the idea of being customer-centric.
This doesn’t mean taking any focus away from the delivery of services or exemplary safety standards. It simply means looking at the delivery of highway services from the perspective of the ‘customer’ – whether that’s a roads operator or a road user.
This doesn’t have to be an onerous task with the right technology partner.
Graham Whistance is the Managing Director of MyMobileWorkers and has been transforming the way mobile businesses work for over 15 years by switching from paperwork to an easy to use digital system.
For more information about MyMobileWorkers please visit www.mymobileworkers.com