Will-Call Customers, Friends or Foes?
It is that time of year again – how do we combat our challenges with Will-Call customers?, a tale as old as time. In a perfect world, they call when their tank is at 20%, you have 72 hours to fit them in a delivery route, bulk trucks are not down, and drivers are healthy.
However, as history has shown us, we do not live in a perfect world, and we can be sure to face the routine logistical headaches that will-call customers can create for managers:
- Customers will forget to watch tank.
- Most are out of gas or close to it so there is no 72-hour window option.
- Charging fees to the customer which needs to be collected.
- Paying overtime to drivers most of the time to service the customer.
- Drivers and equipment are subject to accidents depending on the weather.
- If the customer runs out of gas, a leak test must be performed prior to being put back into service.
- Federal regulations and insurance constraints now require:
- That the system be completely evaluated for leaks
- The pilots must be lit by authorized personnel.
- A “pressure check” must be done on the gas line.
- The customer or responsible party must be present at time of service.
Going forward, there are two solutions to this problem:
- Convert customer to “Automatic Delivery.” Even if you can talk a customer into Auto Delivery, you still need to contend with increased gas usage by the customer, accurate degree day entry, routes getting behind due to weather constraints
- Use tank monitoring systems to see exactly what your customer needs.
How can Tank Monitors solve my Will-Call customer problems?
Each year we see the increasing trend of customers wanting to control their delivery schedules. Tank monitoring is an essential tool to remind your customers to get refills when they are running low. Even if a customer doesn’t wish to be converted to automatic delivery, you can still encourage them in the right direction to remove some of the pain-points of empty tanks.
- You’ll have an accurate account of the gas levels of all these customers.
- Your online portal will have a listing of all “will-call” customers in different delivery zones.
- You can set level alarms (20%) to alert you when these customer’s tanks get close to needing a delivery.
- The customer can receive emails as well showing their current levels
- You can set a higher alarm (30%) as a pre-alert for:
- Customer account paid up to date
- Contact customer letting them know the status of their tank
- Letting customer know that their business in important to you
- If weather is bad, perhaps get a gas order now before a storm hits
- Keep trucks off the road in bad weather
- Deliveries on straight time, not overtime