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Matt Brett

The Red Flags to Look for When Evaluating a Telematics Provider

There are many ways you could be misled during the telematics solution sales process – here’s how you can spot signs of potential trouble ahead 

The purchase of a telematics solution for your business is a major investment. Conversely, when a telematics provider is trying to entice a company to purchase its solution, it recognizes that every sale matters and will contribute to its bottom line.

At the intersection of a company’s need for a robust and powerful telematics system and a telematics provider’s need to make a sale lies some fuzzy and risky terrain. If you are looking to purchase a telematics solution and need to vet a provider, you potentially could have to navigate a minefield of sales pitches, implications, purposeful omissions, and, in some cases, downright dishonesty. 

That’s not to suggest that all telematics providers are dishonest. On the contrary, the vast majority are extremely trustworthy. But it can be dangerous to fail to heed the two little words that loom large over all business transactions – buyer beware.

How can you tell when a telematics provider might not be able to deliver on everything they promise during the sale process? Look for the following red flags.

A lack of experience with your industry. Not every telematics solution is a great fit with every industry. For instance, one solution might be designed for the transportation industry, but that same solution won’t necessarily be great for a construction company that operates a mixed fleet and requires a wide range of telematics hardware devices. If the provider can’t credibly address your unique needs – or point to the successful implementation of their solution with others in your industry – you should probably look elsewhere.

Failing to ask questions – or answer yours. There is probably no better indicator of how likely a telematics provider is to deliver the solution and service you require than the questions they ask about your business. Do they ask a lot of questions? And are those questions directly related to your data needs and what it will take to connect your vehicles and assets to a single platform? Curiosity about your business and how you will use the solution is an unmatched indicator that the provider wants to be a true partner.

Of course, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask the provider lots of questions, as well, about how the solution will serve your business, the data you’ll gain access to, and what it will take to successfully implement the system. If the provider asks too few questions or fails sufficiently to answer yours, it should be cause for concern.

“We’ll send you the hardware.” Installing the right telematics hardware and successfully connecting it into a single platform to provide a single pane of glass view of your fleet isn’t always a straightforward proposition. Different types of assets – and even different makes and models of similar vehicles – can pose challenges that prevent an easy plug-and-play installation. An experienced telematics provider understands this. And one that is interested in being a true partner will step up to the challenge to get your fleet connected as smoothly and efficiently as possible. 

If on the other hand, the provider insists that they can simply send you the telematics hardware that you can easily install yourself, there’s a good chance they are oversimplifying the implementation process – which will most likely result in pain for you.

A lack of specifics on how they’ll help you onboard and train your people. One of the wonders of telematics is how user friendly the technology can be. But there’s always a learning curve when installing a telematics solution, and with good reason – processes change, responsibilities change, how people do their jobs change, and so forth.  

A telematics provider shouldn’t leave you to go it alone to get your people onboarded and upskilled. They should provide resources, partner with you on training strategies, and be able to share lessons learned from other customers – ideally companies like yours – during the implementation of the platform. If they don’t talk about how they will partner with you on training, you should see it as a major red flag.

Not Just a Provider, But a Partner

The process of researching and selecting the right telematics solution for your business can require a lot of work and resources and should involve multiple stakeholders from across your company. But when you land on the right provider – one that delivers the solution you need, stands behind it with great customer service and support, and helps you get the solution implemented and deliver value as quickly and smoothly as possible – the time and hard work are worth it. 

When a provider is interested in being your true partner, they’ll make the process as easy as possible for you. 

And there won’t be a red flag in sight!