Sep 17, 2021
What Are ETAs and Why Their Accuracy Is Important?
ETA, or estimated time of arrival, is one of the key things your clients will ask before signing a contract with you. Of course, they’re wondering about the cost, tracking, and quality of service. However, ETAs are one of those things that could make or break your potential deal.
So, let’s see what ETAs are, why their accuracy is so important, and how you can use fleet maintenance software to improve them.
What Are ETAs?
Estimated time of arrival is a specific timeframe within which you should complete a delivery, route, or job. Besides the most commonly used name ETA, these can also be called delivery times, estimated arrival times, courier times, etc.
These can either be very specific, giving out the time and date (Monday, September 4th at approximately 3 PM) or a bit more general giving a potential delivery window within a couple of days (Your delivery will be completed between September 4-8).
The Importance of ETA Accuracy
Establishing accurate ETAs is one of the key challenges fleet maintenance software can solve, but it will take some time. It takes a lot of data and experience to be able to make the most accurate assessment, but it’s a skill you’ll have to learn in order to help your business thrive.
Let’s see why accuracy is important when it comes to ETAs
Improves Customer Relationships
Once they see the ETA, customers feel confident that your company will be able to deliver what it promised. If you’re running an e-commerce business, this is especially important. Considering that almost half of all buyers give up on the purchase if the delivery times are unclear or unsatisfactory, adding an accurate ETA will set you apart from the competition.
Additionally, if you do keep your promise and complete the delivery in time, you’ll build trust and make returning and loyal customers.
Cuts Avoidable Costs
One late delivery can create a chain reaction of late deliveries. Not only that this will upset the customers, but your drivers could also speed or try using shortcuts to try and make up for the lost time. Unfortunately, this could cause vehicle breakdowns and add to your repair, legal or medical costs.
Ensures Package Security
When customers have an accurate ETA they’ll try to arrange their errands so they can be there to secure the package or sign the delivery form.
If your drivers deliver a package outside of prearranged hours, they’ll need to leave it in front of the door, where it could potentially be damaged or stolen.
What Causes Inaccurate ETAs?
Inaccurate ETAs are caused by plenty of reasons, but here, we’re focusing on four most common causes.
Lack of Experience
As we mentioned earlier, accurate ETAs are a mix of data and experience. So, if you aren’t very familiar with ETAs on a specific job, it would be best to do some research or consult someone with more experience.
Poorly Estimated Capacity
Whether you haven’t done an accurate estimate of the number of deliveries, areas your drivers will be working in, your inventory, or even the condition of your fleet - you can easily provide an ETA that isn’t accurate.
To combat this, we recommend that you use fleet maintenance software like AUTOsist, which includes all the details and information you’ll need to make sure you’re estimating your capacity accurately.
Poor communication is a cause of a lot of issues in business management, so it can also easily affect your ETAs. First of all, your team and suppliers need to communicate among themselves completely transparently, notifying each other in a timely manner about any problems.
On the other hand, your company needs to be transparent with the customer, making sure you message them in case of unforeseen issues and potential delays in delivery.
If any of your employees or suppliers fails to communicate on time - the delivery will likely be late, and the customer won’t be satisfied. So try to foster a company culture which promotes honesty and transparency.
No matter how accurately you set up the estimated delivery time, some things are completely out of your control. These include the weather, car accidents, roadblocks, customs, holidays, and so on.
You can try and count some of these while you’re working on the estimate, but you need to be aware that accidents happen.
How Fleet Maintenance Software Helps Your Make Accurate ETAs
Fleet maintenance software has multiple features that help you make better ETAs. One of them is trip logging - where you can easily track routes, miles, and hours deliveries take.
These types of tools help you know your fleet better. You can access information about your vehicles in a few simple clicks, and find out which of your vehicles need servicing, or regularly scheduled maintenance. Knowing how many of your vehicles are fully equipped to take on the deliveries will help you divide your orders in a better way, making your ETAs more accurate.
With fleet maintenance software you can also easily track your inventory, and get alerts whenever you’re running low on something. This is also something that can help you create accurate estimates by counting in potential delays that could arise because of low stock.
Modern times require modern solutions. This means that you should try to utilize technology as much as possible since it will make your job easier while making your customers and employees happier.
Fleet maintenance software isn’t only a tool that will help you make more accurate ETAs, it can help with an array of challenges, from time spent on administrative tasks to data organization. Fortunately for you, AUTOsist is a tool that can help you with any challenge that comes along.