How LiveViewGPS Helps EcoWater Answer Customers Most Vexing Service Questions


The problem

“When will the service guy get here?”

If you operate four service vehicles in a mid-size town, the question usually isn’t all that hard to answer.

But when your four service vehicles cover thousands of square miles throughout central California, including large areas with no cell phone coverage, the answer becomes a lot more difficult.

That was the challenge facing the EcoWater dealer in Fresno, California. A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, 80-year-old EcoWater Worldwide is the world’s number one manufacturer of residential water refining systems, including products for residential water treatment systems, commercial solutions and drinking water systems.

“We have one of the largest dealership areas in the entire EcoWater network,” observes owner Ken Steitz. “Our four service vehicles travel from Sacramento to Bakersfield, from Pismo Beach to the Sierra Nevadas.

“In the past when people called and asked for one of our service technicians, we had no way of knowing exactly where they were. Were they on a call? On route? Changing a flat tire? Parked at the beach? We could telephone them of course, but often they were outside cell phone coverage or busy on a service call.

“So the big issue for me became accountability. I wanted to know how far away the nearest service vehicle was so I could give customers a block of time when they could expect our technician to arrive. And since our drivers are issued gas cards, I wanted to make sure they are filling our gas tanks, not their personal vehicles.”

While Steitz was considering a GPS solution, he happened to attend an industry meeting where an attorney talked about liability problems regarding service calls. He explained how a GPS system provided a paper trail that could nip potential lawsuits in the bud and actually lower liability insurance rates. Steitz didn’t hesitate.

“I wanted an inexpensive GPS solution with the best products that delivered the accountability I wanted. I looked at six or seven providers before selecting VLS-300 Vehicle Trackers from LiveViewGPS. I chose the company because they offered the best value for my dollar. The funny thing is, one of the most important benefits they offered was one I never considered: customer service.”

The LiveViewGPS solution

LiveViewGPS offers two GPS platforms: the advanced Live Trac and the economical VLS systems.

“I didn’t need bells and whistles, I didn’t need fancy technology,” Steitz explains. “I just wanted a good, reliable GPS solution that did exactly what I wanted. VLS-300 Vehicle Trackers do just that.”

The VLS Platform is the affordable Internet-based GPS tracking systems for small businesses that want powerful monitoring at a lower price. It includes a fully-featured, real-time, on-demand GPS tracking system in a budget-friendly package with no software and no contracts required.

Users log on via their web browser or web-enabled mobile device. Once connected, the intuitive, user friendly interface lets them track multiple vehicles via a high-resolution satellite map. The system automatically texts/emails alerts whenever it detects a vehicle speeding, entering restricted zones, deviating from routes and more. Automated detailed reports include starts/stops, excessive idling, mileage and speeding.

VLS-300 Vehicle Trackers, which are hardwired into each vehicle, send updates every 1, 2 or 5 minutes to the online platform. Whenever vehicles enter areas where GSM coverage isn’t available, the system automatically stores and forwards data for review later.

The benefits

“I wanted accountability and I got it,” Steitz continues. “I know where each vehicle is. I now know the average service call is 30 to 45 minutes. And I can determine the most efficient routes, so when a customer calls I can make a service decision on the spot. Since I can now tell them an approximate time of arrival, customers are happier because they don’t have to spend all day waiting.

“We also got some unexpected benefits from our LiveViewGPS system. Perhaps the biggest one was saving approximately $500 a month on fuel bills, which is huge for a company our size.”

Although LiveViewGPS systems provide several reports, the only one that interested Steitz was the location history report that details mileage, addresses visited and the amount of time spent on a service call for each van each day.

“The location history report saved us,” Steitz matter of factly explains. “A customer complained to the Better Business Bureau that our service technician only stayed five minutes and didn’t do the repair work he was supposed to. Fortunately we had the route history to prove when our driver was there and how long he stayed. The case was immediately dropped.”

Occasionally one of Steitz’s employees attends an after work hours activity such as a Home Show. He can check the man’s whereabouts online using his smartphone and later get a report detailing when the employee arrived at the Home Show and how long he stayed, so he’ll be able to verify the actual hours worked.

“However, the biggest surprise for me was LiveViewGPS’s customer service,” Steitz confesses. “Basically I’m a small business with an inexpensive GPS system installed, but you’d never know it by the way we’re treated. I get customer service calls asking if our system is working properly and if we’re having any problems. It shows they’re concerned about us and about their product working well. I didn’t realize they were that kind of company when we signed on. When you come right down to it, we’re both in the same business: customer service. LiveViewGPS does theirs very well, and I like to think we do too.

“I said at the beginning I wanted the least expensive GPS solution with the best products. After a year I haven’t had one problem with the system. The technology is simple to use. For a small business like mine, choosing LiveViewGPS is a no-brainer.”