technology to resolve disputes

The Fix is In: Using Technology to Resolve Disputes

Posted by Stacey Papp

Have you heard about the latest craze to sweep the nation? It’s called Pokémon Go, and depending on your viewpoint, you’re either obsessed with it or think it’s the dumbest thing ever.

For those of you who haven’t seen the techno-zombies pounding the pavement with their phones held out, here’s a brief overview: Pokémon Go is an “augmented reality” video game, which means that it’s played partially in the real world and partially via virtual reality. As players walk around a park, a city street or even a cemetery, an animated Google Map of their location displays on their phones, with their avatar moving where they do. “Pocket monsters” appear on the animated map and the player captures them by tapping. Certain areas are considered “hotspots,” meaning they’re teeming with the little buggers. 

If it sounds relatively simple, it’s because it is: Anybody with a good pair of walking shoes and a mobile device can rack up quite the collection of creatures. 

There’s been some controversy around the game, too: Criminals are taking advantage of people with their faces buried in their phones and robbing or assaulting players, and some players are disrespecting places that should be considered off-limits (Arlington National Cemetery and Auschwitz, for example) through misdirected love of the game. 

The game has even caused people to fight each other: In Smithtown, N.Y., there was an altercation over a Pokémon Go hotspot outside a bank – turf warfare for gamers.

While sometimes technologies like video games can create issues, there is another side to the coin: Technology also can be used to solve problems. There’s no shortage of examples from the past few centuries of technology’s benefits, but let’s focus just on fleet businesses here.

One way technology can benefit a fleet business is in the case of a dispute – whether between departments or between a field tech/driver and a customer. For example, a dispatcher may be trying to send Driver Dave, who should have finished up his morning run already, to a last-minute job on the same side of town. Driver Dave responds, “Shucks, actually, I’m on the other side of town right now, helping out one of the other crews, so you’d better call Driver Don.”

If the dispatcher is working solely off the merit of Dave’s word, then she has to grit her teeth and call another guy (and maybe another, and another), hoping that someone is able to pick up the job – and meanwhile the customer is waiting for someone, anyone, to show up, and maybe getting a little PO’d. 

A dispatcher working for a company that uses fleet management software, on the other hand, can say to Dave, “Oh, really? I can see that you’re parked outside the donut shop, right down the street from this job, and I also see that the other crew hasn’t updated their digital job order to request any help – so get to it.” (If Dave was smart, of course, he would know that the dispatcher could see where he was via digital dashboard, and wouldn’t try to pull a fast one.) The dispatcher then can give the customer a near real-time estimate of when he or she can expect service.

Fleet management software doesn’t exist just to bag the drivers, of course – it can help them, too. If a customer calls with a complaint that the driver showed up late and left early, a service manager operating in the dark is relying on the driver’s word against the customer’s – putting the service manager in a sticky place.

With fleet management software, the service manager instead can politely let the customer know that the company has a digital record of the exact time when the driver arrived at the jobsite and when he drove away again for the day, which were both right on schedule, and maybe gently inquire what made the customer think he was being shorted. (Maybe he was busy catching Pokémon instead of monitoring driver arrival and departure.) 

While there are no promises that fleet management software can help you track down elusive pocket monsters (spoiler alert: it can’t), what it can do is provide the near real-time data that empowers business decisions and helps make everyone more productive – and that means what you’ll be catching are more customers. 

And while we aren’t Pokémon Go experts, we do know a thing or two about technology that will help you get smarter – GPS vehicle tracking technology to be exact!

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While we aren't Pokemon Go experts, we do know a thing or two about tech that will help you get smarter.