There are many service coverages available. Jump-starting, battery replacement, unlocking, repairing, re-fuelling, flat tire changing, or pulling out a stuck vehicle. The last resort would be towing the vehicle to another location.
There are many roadside assistance providers and levels of options available to you. Some might better suit your travel lifestyle than others. Do your homework.
Smartphone technology is being used to improve access to roadside assistance. Service is generally needed from the side of the road, perhaps in a stressful emergency situation or in a remote area.
There are benefits of applying mobile app technology to roadside assistance;
- a subscriber doesn’t need to hunt for the service agent phone number,
- your contact and car detail information is already stored in the app,
- you can provide a GPS location to the service agent, and
- back and forth communication with the agent is made possible.
Depending on the roadside assistance provider, the technological advancements can differ amongst them. This article describes some of the roadside assistance smartphone options available. It also explains how the Windshieldink mobile app can play an added role in helping roadside assistance providers enhance their customer service.
Roadside assistance coverage options
Automatic coverage is provided by many car manufacturers and certain insurance companies. Some of the coverage plans provide mobile app solutions. Smartphone apps are available from manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Subaru, Volvo, Toyota, and Mazda.
Insurance providers like RBC and Desjardins combine roadside assistance with mobile app technology. There are many others out there. Be sure to check with your car dealership or insurance company to see what is readily available to you.
Subscription based coverage is provided by a third party. You purchase and pay a monthly membership fee. These can include plans from providers like the Canadian Automobile Association, AAA, AXA, Canadian Tire and Costco.
Smartphone apps are provided by CAA and AXA, however Canadian Tire and Costco do not. In the latter companies, a person must call their 1-800 phone number and describe the car issue and breakdown location to a call centre.
Pay as you go apps exist whereby you don’t need to subscribe to a prepaid or monthly plan. You simply use the app to access independent roadside assistance agents and pay for the on-demand service.
New apps working in this domain include Urgent.ly, Honk, Available Tow, and RapidTow. These apps allow you to request service, communicate with an agent, confirm a price, and track the progress. Some are fairly new and are competing with each other for market share so may not presently cover all regions.
Your last option is to use Google Maps on your smartphone. You can search out nearby service stations, give them a call, explain your situation, and take the matter from there.
Windshieldink Connects can play a role
The Windshieldink mobile app and platform plays an indirect role in roadside assistance. Windshieldink is a free app that allows you to link an email address to your license plate number.
The app provides the additional means of messaging using a simple Windshieldink Connects ID. The ID allows any business, including roadside assistance providers, to make themselves reachable to the public via the same smartphone app.
Here is a fictional roadside assistance business scenario;
Joe’s Towing Co. provides roadside assistance in the Sudbury, Ontario region. Joe’s created a Windshieldink Connects ID called #JOETOW (learn more about Connects here).
Joe’s Towing customers now know that in the event their car breaks down, they can use the Windshieldink app to contact Joe’s Towing. They simply input #JOETOW in the #ID field, Ontario as the origin and send their message directly to Joe’s Towing Co. There is no need to remember a phone number nor do an online search for their business.
The Windshieldink in-app notification pop-up contains a message from Joe’s Towing’s (see image below). The app allows the customer to email their message, contact information, and GPS location directly to Joe’s Towing Co. Joe’s Towing can call them back directly to discuss the situation. Windshieldink simply provides the avenue of connecting the two parties.
A grander vision of this concept could conceivably be to create an entire network of Ontario roadside assistance providers. They could all utilize the same Connects ID, such as “#TOW”.
Any person driving in Ontario that breaks down simply needs to remember #TOW, the origin is Ontario and send their message and GPS location. The message is received by a central dispatcher who can dispatch the nearest available service truck. The location can be Kingston, Timmins, Thunder Bay or any other location in between.
Windshieldink Connects works everywhere
An independent roadside assistance network such as this can easily function in any or all provinces across Canada. As an example, if you are travelling in Ontario and require roadside assistance, all you need to remember is #TOW (Origin = Ontario). Alberta can be #TOW (Origin = Alberta). The infographic explains the concept and how simple it is to use.
The Connects technology is already being applied in Ontario. A person can send a pet cruelty email alert to the OSPCA in three easy steps.
- Access the Send Message screen in the Windshieldink app.
- Input #SPCA in the #ID field, and Ontario as the origin.
- Complete your message and hit send. A GPS co-ordinate can be included in the message if you want to provide the exact location. The message is received by the OSPCA.
Modern technology provides opportunity to develop unique solutions to today’s problems. New apps and technologies come online regularly and people are looking at novel ways of using these platforms to grow their businesses and improve their services outreach. Windshieldink is one of these new platforms that has arrived, targeting driver road safety and convenience.
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