What 2020 Taught Us About GPS Fleet Tracking Services… and Service in General
Finally, 2020 is in our rearview.
I’ll be candid. As a provider of GPS fleet tracking services, we at ClearPathGPS like to say we help create a “business without blind spots” for our clients. But none of us here were prepared for a year like 2020.
Who could have anticipated local and state governments ordering companies to close down? Who could have imagined fleet-dependent small businesses forced to vacate their offices and try to continue operating with a 100% remote workforce?
I didn’t realize that our company had blind spots of its own. This year definitely proved me wrong about that. But now that 2020 is thankfully behind us, I think it’s worth mining that chaotic year for the nuggets of wisdom it offers to improve our businesses for 2021 and beyond.
There Are Many More Essential Businesses Than Most People Realized
When the lockdowns first went into effect, we all watched in real-time as governments decided which businesses would be designated “essential service providers” and allowed to stay open… and which wouldn’t.
Police, healthcare professionals, employees in the agricultural industry—they were all deemed essential, and for good reason.
But when things got bad, and millions of us were locked in our homes, we realized there are a lot of other service providers who earn the “essential” title every day but rarely receive the gratitude they deserve. I’m talking about HVAC repair companies, plumbers, roofers, cleaning crews, waste management companies, pest control businesses.
I don’t think a lot of these businesses themselves realized just how essential their roles are until 2020. But they obviously are. And as the vehicle tracking services company that serves many of these businesses, I was thrilled to see them being celebrated by grateful customers.
With Lockdowns, Businesses Need Visibility into Their Fleets More Than Ever
A lot of our clients suddenly found themselves forced to operate as remote businesses, many the first time ever. With their field service techs now taking company vehicles home with them each night and driving straight to job sites each morning, these businesses relied more than ever on GPS fleet tracking to monitor their assets and drivers in the field.
A lot of these companies are used to sending their field techs back to the office at the end of every shift to punch out or record their hours. But with the COVID shutdowns preventing this, these businesses had to rely entirely on their vehicles’ GPS systems to track employee hours.
That’s just one small way we at ClearPathGPS were able to help these essential businesses keep their operations running smoothly—even when everything else seemed to be going haywire.
Putting Clients First Means Even More During Bad Economic Times
One thing that’s always separated ClearPathGPS from our competitors is that we don’t require our clients to sign on to multi-year contracts for our GPS tracking services if they don’t want to. In fact, if they choose, a business can even suspend their tracking service during a slow period or down-turn.
Throughout 2020, we heard over and over from clients how grateful they were for our no-contract-required service model. A lot of these companies were worried they’d have to scale back their operations during the lockdowns. Some actually did. But just knowing they had the option to suspend or stop their GPS tracking service anytime, if things got really bad and they needed to cut expenses right away, gave these small businesses a little peace of mind.
Putting your clients first is always smart business, under any conditions. But the lockdown year was a great reminder that when things get tough, and your clients see you as one of the vendors solving their problems rather than creating new ones, this philosophy will serve you even more.
Every Business Is in the Service Business
We used to play around with a question here at ClearPathGPS: “Are we a product company or a service company?” We make SaaS software that helps businesses monitor their fleets and fixed assets in the field. Plus, we sell the physical tracking units themselves. You could argue we’re a product company… or that the software solution we offer is an ongoing service.
But after the year of lockdowns, I realized there’s no point to that debate. It’s not even a close call. We’re a service company—because every company is in the service business.
Our service is helping the businesses we’re lucky enough to count as ClearPath’s clients. We empower them to gain more visibility into what’s happening with their fleets and help them serve their customers more effectively.
That, moving forward, is how I think we all need to think about our businesses—even if we sell physical products. Who do we serve, and how can we serve them even better?
We’re So Grateful for Our Clients
This crazy year was also a reminder of how grateful we are for our clients.
The ClearPathGPS team remains humbled and honored to serve these great businesses—the hardworking folks who, even during the quarantine period, raced to our homes and businesses to fix the busted pipe, to repair the air conditioning unit that quit just as summer started, and to spray the chemicals that kept us safe from pests.
We’re so committed to better serve these businesses that we sought out conversations with as many of them as we could in 2020—to ask what services and features we could add to make their businesses more effective under these strange new realities. Many of them responded, and we’ve made some major overhauls to the ClearPathGPS product roadmap based on those insights.
We also grew the ClearPathGPS team to help us continue delivering the best solutions and customer service experience in the industry. We know these fleet-driven businesses are counting on us—and their customers are depending on them—and we won’t fail them.
Can’t say we’re going to miss 2020, but I do appreciate it for the lessons learned. Here’s to a 2021 filled with prosperity, success, and business without blind spots.
Steve Wells, Founder and CRO, ClearPathGPS
Steve is no stranger to the world of technology and fleet software solutions, with a rich history of revenue focused roles for 20+ years. Relentless in driving ClearPathGPS growth through business data intelligence and strong customer relationships, Steve has also held executive roles with notable software companies including Software.com, Advent Software, and Citrix.