Gurtam meetup recap. How telematics businesses are adapting during the pandemic in the USA and Canada

5 June, 2020
Alena Kashkevich

During COVID-19 times, online communication has become an unseen bridge between Gurtam and its partners from all over the world. We continue reaching out to telematics experts from other countries through our meetups, and this time, the mic goes to our American and Canadian partners.

At this meetup, our panelists discuss the ways of keeping clients during the crisis and other useful ideas on how telematics businesses can adapt to the changing market situation.


Эксперты митапа Gurtam

 Gurtam meetup moderator

Moderator: Anna Demina, VP of Business Development, North America, Gurtam

The initial reaction to the spread of COVID-19

Our experts talk about the initial steps they made to adapt themselves and their companies to the changing business environment

Going online

Our experts, like many entrepreneurs from all over the world, faced the necessity to arrange remote work. For some of them, it wasn’t complicated. For example, David says that it took just a couple of days to adjust to the situation, mostly because they have all the data together with the business system in the cloud.

Communicating with customers

“We thought about the issues that consumers and resellers might have and came up with an emergency subscription aid to let them know that we are here to support them and, if there are any issues, we will work together through this,” David Seijo states.

All the experts unanimously admit the importance of close communication with customers, especially during the hard times like these. After arranging the remote work, they started calling their clients to find out about their issues and work out solutions to ensure clients’ business continuity plans.

Communicating with customers

“Communication is the most important thing right now. Talk to your customers, ask them questions, and ask them how their friends and family are doing. Let them tell you about their problems, learn about their pain points, and just try to have a conversation with them. Think about how you can ease those pains,” Mike Lawless recommends.

Sylvain Pelchat agrees with other panelists and believes that everybody should be very proactive and ask customers whether they need something. He is sure that clients will appreciate the care and will value it.

“We are not considered by our government as an essential service, but we are still open because we are essential to you, and you are essential to us,” this is what Sylvain and his colleagues say to their clients.

Daily reports

“As the situation is changing very quickly, we need to look at it daily. So every morning we look at cancellations, new activations, and sales. It helps us see some trends that we need to take advantage of,” Todd Morris comes up with an idea.

He and his colleagues put a reporting project in place. They analyze whether they have more cancelations and fewer sales than the previous day and use the data to improve their sales strategies.

David says they pay a lot of attention to shipment information from drivers. This way they can define the tendencies, e.g., now more medical equipment, food, household supplies are transported.

Mitigating the risks

Our American and Canadian partners discuss the measures that can mitigate the immediate risks for telematics businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurturing clients’ loyalty

Mike understands that customers’ attitude to his company depends a lot on how he and his colleagues behave now, during the pandemic. To show care for its clients, DCS offers them a “freezing of units” option for 1-3 months.

Todd is also sure that the “freezing of units” is a good way of reducing cancellations.

Gurtam meetup screenshot

“When customers call us to talk about canceling the service, we suggest talking about it in a month. We are giving them a month free of charge. We understand this is a rough month for everyone,” Todd explains what he and his company do to keep the clients and raise their loyalty.

Gurtam has also come up with an anti-crisis relief plan that includes more possibilities with the temporary deactivation of the units. Now Wialon users can disconnect their vehicles until the end of the pandemic. 

Making projections about the future

Mike is very optimistic about the future and believes that temporary hardship will end soon, and when the lockdown is over, everybody will start moving like never before. All the services will be very active. So it would be wise for the telematics businesses to be ready for such a change.

“Everything we are doing now is going to pay off a lot. I think neither of us had a chance before to put so much thought into thinking about customers, industry, trends, metrics, etc. I’m pretty sure that in the end, we are going to be a lot stronger,” David supports Mike’s optimism.

Making a business continuity plan

David encourages all telematics companies to have one. Taking into account all the uncertainty about the future, we should be able to adapt to the situation. It’s important to have different metrics at hand and make projections of different possible outcomes.

Being flexible

According to Sylvain, a flexible company can adapt to the situation to support customers. Laxson GPS decided to switch all clients to a seasonal mode. Sylvain believes that this will help improve customers’ attitude towards the company and allow them to see more value in its services.

“Our clients shouldn’t regard us as just another telematics services seller,” Sylvain explains.

New projects and opportunities

Delivery services

The experts agreed that the delivery industry is doing well now. Every restaurant needs food deliveries, so do people who stay at home and can’t go to supermarkets because of the lockdown.

Security and assets monitoring

Todd claims that a lot of industries are leaving expensive assets in place because workers are not showing up to work. Many clients from construction companies come to BrickHouse Security and say they need more GPS devices and cameras because the construction sites with all the equipment are left alone and require extra security.

Security and asset monitoring

Sylvain adds that equipment is left not only on construction sites but also in the fields and on the sides of the roads. He also brings in a wise thought on how to attract security agencies to telematics services.

“If security agencies don’t use telematics services, it’s because they don’t see it as a value. But once they try a solution, they like it very much. WiaTag can also do this job as it’s very easy to deploy. Offer them to try it for free for three months and they will keep it,” Sylvain shares a bright idea.

Trying out new solutions

Mike also recalls the collaborative project when Gurtam integrated Wialon with a Speedgague speed-tracking solution which is now free of charge for 30 days. Mike believes that it’s a good time to try this product and check your driver’s scores when the traffic on the roads is not so heavy.

A bonus from the flespi team

The flespi team has created a video that shows the growing effect of COVID-19 on telematics. As the mileage lows down, the colors turn to red. We can see how the activity of fleets all over the world is going down.

Long-term impacts

Our experts provide us with predictions about the telematics industry and share ideas on how we can adapt to the upcoming changes.

Personal tracking

Sylvain believes that internal processes and the way people look at one another inside a company will change. It will cause interest in personal tracking, and mobile apps like WiaTag will be in great demand. He also thinks that solutions improving security, control, and visibility will be trending for many years.

The value of people around

Having a strong team becomes even more important during these hard times.

Value of people working in the team

“No one is going to come out of this unchanged. Everyone is going to have their own perception of what is valuable but we should be grateful for what we have – our employees. We count on these people every day, they keep our business moving,” Mike thinks.

Remote communication will go on

According to Todd, some companies may find out that they can go on working from home and stop paying rent for their offices. People’s work habits change, they find out that they can work from different places now. This is also one of the reasons why personal tracking becomes more important.

More solutions for healthcare

Medics are in the first line of defense now. As a result, there will be more tracking and monitoring systems for facilitating their work in the future.

The takeaways

How can we reduce the risks?

  • Use a unit deactivation option to support and keep your customers. Check out more details about this anti-crisis measure in the Gurtam relief plan.
  • Create daily reports and draw up a business continuity plan.
  • Be flexible to adapt to the changing situation.

What is likely to happen to the telematics services in the future?

  • the rise of delivery services, personal tracking, and assets monitoring;
  • the growing demand for telematics solutions for healthcare and security;
  • remote communication instead of meetings in person.

We are thankful to our partners for taking part in the discussion and sharing excellent ideas with the community.

In this article, we tried to gather the most valuable information from the meetup. The full video of the discussion is below:

If you find this kind of online events interesting and useful, follow our meetup page to keep up with the upcoming panel discussions.

Alena Kashkevich
Alena Kashkevich
Alena is a Senior Copywriter at Gurtam. Her posts are always packed with data and real-life examples that Wialon partners can put straight into action.


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