It’s hard to imagine but at one time, mobile service workers moved from one call to the next with only a map to guide them. These professionals were forced to quickly learn the layout of their assigned territories or risk being eventually fired.
Today’s workers have an advantage over previous generations. GPS navigation systems not only provide turn-by-turn directions to keep drivers on track, they include other features that can save time and increase daily productivity. But not all GPS tools are created equal. Before you begin shopping for your next navigation system, here are a few features that are must-haves for any worker whose job requires extensive driving.
Lifetime map updates
Street names change as new homes and businesses are added. Traditionally, GPS device owners have been required to purchase updates, which can sometimes cost almost as much as the system itself. In response to consumer demand, manufacturers are now including “lifetime map updates” on any new devices purchased. Ensure the system you choose allows you to update on a regular basis to cover any changes that happen within your territory.
An unexpected roadblock or traffic-stopping accident can ruin your entire day as a mobile service worker. Customers rely on you to reliably arrive when you say you will, traffic snags or not. If your GPS can caution you about these sudden obstacles, you can have that system navigate you a different way, saving valuable minutes and potentially preventing you from losing a customer.
Your daily duties don’t just require that you journey from Point A to Point B. You’re likely moving from Point A to B to C to D to E and beyond. Part of being productive throughout the day is making sure your movements are as efficient as possible. Multi-point routing lets you enter multiple destinations, with the navigation system arranging those destinations in an order that will minimize backtracking and keep you on track. Instead of driving all the way across town and passing three or four of your required stops, you’ll be able to stop at each of those points along the way to save time. Three route mapping software tools that you can use to optimize daily travel include Badger Maps, Route4Me, and Microsoft MapPoint.
GPS navigation systems have made mobile service workers’ jobs easier than ever. These small features can be essential to a professional’s long-time use of a system, helping them improve their ability to serve their customers without losing money on wasted trips and extra fuel costs.
RAMON RAY | Columnist
Editor and technology evangelist at Smallbiztechnology.com, which covers technology trends for small business. His latest book is the Amazon.com best-seller Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing.