driver communication network

Making Communication Breakdowns a Thing of the Past

Posted 10 August 2016 by Stacey Papp

What do pigeons, smoke and Morse code have in common?

If you were expecting a hilarious punch line, sorry to disappoint you – the answer is that they are all outdated forms of communication. 

It’s hard to believe people actually used carrier pigeons, smoke signals and a lot of tapping to get complex messages across, but it’s true – these were valid, valuable forms of communication for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years. 

These methods took a lot more effort than the forms of communication we have today – compare the two seconds it takes to send a reply text that simply says, “OK,” to acknowledge you have received a message, versus what would you have had to do to send a smoke signal that says the same thing. Kids younger than 12 don’t even believe that cell phones used to be the size of bricks and only made phone calls – tell them people actually used billows of smoke to send messages and they’ll look at you like you’re from another planet.

Even some more recent technologies have gone the way of the carrier pigeon. CB radios used to be standard in many fleet vehicles, no questions asked, as a way for the office to talk to the trucks and vice versa while the fleet was on the road, but now many businesses are scrapping the CBs and using digital tools to enable communications. (Smokey can take his ears off.)

Using digital tools such as mobile apps and software to communicate has advantages for both drivers and office employees.

For a driver in the field, receiving communications via a ping from a mobile app (which can be set to silent and only appear as a push notification) is a lot less distracting than the constant crackling of a CB or ringing of a cell phone – meaning he or she is driving more safely, with eyes and mind on the road. 

If a last-minute alert comes through, a field tech can get updated job information via text, email or notification right from his or her smartphone or tablet – no need to call the main office, which can save time. In turn, if the field worker needs to append something to a job order, he or she can send back an alert – or even a photo of a job site for company records, which can be helpful if the site does not accurately reflect the job order.

Having a mobile app or program also helps empower the field workers to manage their own customers and quotes. Field workers can digitally capture a customer’s signature on a job order and can send invoices as soon as the job is done.

For the people back in the office, using apps or software for job order communications means their phones get a lot less of a workout (although those typing fingers will be Olympic ready!). As soon as a field worker is done with a job, a supervisor or manager can review the scope of work and any additional notes about the job from the tech, and invoice immediately – meaning the business can get paid more quickly.

Supervisors can better manage their teams when all information is laid out in an easy-to-read digital dashboard – they’re able to track service techs and see who is where, who’s working on what, who’s finished a job and who’s available for a last-minute order. A major bonus is that customers also reap the benefits, through more efficient workers and faster results. 

Using one program or app for business communications means that all employees are on the same page, with everyone getting and giving near real-time information immediately. It’s no wonder smoke signals and carrier pigeons are obsolete – phone calls are going the same route. 

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