Get your head in the Cloud
Embrace and expand the use of technology for your benefit, writes Nigel Tooth
Operators in this day and age are becoming more and more reliant on technology. Some think this to be a bad thing, but I naturally look at it as a positive. Technology is here to help you, so embracing and expanding the use of the technology that you have either invested in, or is available to you, is imperative if your business is to justify that resource expense.
Too many times I have seen or heard of operators investing in technology only to let it sit by the wayside. We must make use of the technology at our ngertips, rather than put it in the ‘too hard basket’. Let me give you three basic examples of what I am referring to:
Yes, they are really nice to type on and send emails with, and you can set up reports with them too. But let’s delve a little deeper and scratch the surface. How about setting up a Google Drive? That way you can store and access all of your important les, information, reports, documents and so forth, and then you can access them from any computer in the world.
Cloud storage is massive now. Don’t be scared to store your les in the Cloud. It’s better to do that then leave everything on a computer hard drive that you might forget to back up. You can link and share documents with other staff in your organisation, and make changes to the same document at the same time from different computers in different locations. You can quickly and easily send calendar requests to ensure all key staff are aware of meetings or important dates.
A Google Drive (or something similar) is simple to set up, will save you time, will ensure communication is effective, and does not limit you to being in the ofce to complete your work.
I’m not referring to the ones you put in your mouth. Tablets (such as iPads) can be a huge technological benet to a bus company. They are relatively inexpensive but allow for mobility within an organisation.
Your workplace can quickly become a mobile ofce – and even more so if you adopt the above and set-up a Google Drive that can all be accessed on your tablet.
Give your workshop staff a tablet to use. I did this in my previous life as a bus operator. Our mechanics embraced it and loved the empowerment. Instead of having to ll out paperwork (and we all know this can be a real bane for some mechanics), they would enter their service information onto templates stored on Google Drive in the tablet. Simple! They would take photos of warranty issues and email them on the go to key personnel. A time saver! A $500 investment can save time and problems in the future.
Now I know these two words can send shudders down the spines of many bus operators. However, social media can be a powerful tool if used wisely and correctly.
Firstly, we must remember our target market in this regard. Who are they? Not the ofce manager, not the mechanic, and not the bus driver. It is your customers.
Your customers may be the local footy club. They may be 50 schools your company services, comprising 2500 students and 2000 parents. They may be the tourists or locals who use your services throughout the year.
Whoever they may be, you need to connect with them in some way. Connection means a relationship. If you can connect with your customers, the long-term benets can be far reaching. And one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways of connecting is through social media.
Again, we did this in our own company and reached out to our customers. We wanted to provide information on our services to give them a little bit of empowerment. We keep them connected to us and they loved it.
Ninety-nine per cent of the comments were positive. There will always be the 1 per cent that rocks the boat but we know that is the case in every facet of life.
However, keeping your customers informed and updated through the use of technology is a sure way to build a relationship with them.
Imagine Company A and Company B both operate in the same town and have the same-size operation. Company A runs the buses, gives out quotes for charters, picks up the school children, keeps it all simple and doesn’t bother with social media.
Company B does exactly the same, but has a Facebook page. One day it sends out a message to tell the parents: “Hi everyone – one of our services has been delayed due to a car accident. All children are safe and well, they will be home in 20 minutes.”
The next week it sends out a message: “School Holidays are coming up – have a great time and please drive safely on our roads.”
Simple messages such as these to 2000 connected families can give peace of mind and a thought that, “Hey, these guys go the extra mile and really care”.
This may lead the local council social club chartering a bus because the organiser is a parent connected to that Facebook page.
It really can be as simple as that.
TECHNOLOGY AS A COMPANION
Technology is like a good friend. You invest in it, spend time with it, embrace it, don’t ignore it, don’t forget about it, and denitely don’t put it in the ‘too hard basket’.
Let me know if you are ready to embrace some technology and we can get you saving time and money rather than wasting it.