Press Release


UK Consumers Believe Telco & Utility Companies are Providing Disappointingly Poor Levels of Home Service

Results Reveal Alarming Discrepancy between Customer Expectations and Service Providers’ Definition of a Good Service


Standard of service is at an unacceptable level

  • 63% of consumers questioned have had bad experiences with home service providers, problems include:
  • 39% of company representatives did not turn up for appointments
  • 31% arrived more than one hour later than the agreed time slot
  • 16% were not able to fix the problem
  • 6% made the problem worse

Consumers have limited choice

  • 60% of consumers feel they have little or no choice when it comes to home service companies


Companies cite unexpected events for failing to deliver acceptable service

  • 94% of companies cited unpredictable events as the cause of problems when delivering service to their customers


Consumers must take some responsibility

  • 26% of companies also blamed customers not being there for failed appointments


FREMONT, CA & IPSWICH U.K. – Arpil 7, 2005 – @Road, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARDI), A huge gap exists between what customers expect from utility companies, telcos and other businesses, collectively known as home service providers, and the service that companies are able to offer today, according to research released today by Vidus Limited, an @Road company.

The study was commissioned to better understand the discrepancy, if any, between what customers find acceptable and what service providers’ are able to deliver, and to identify what the biggest hurdles are to closing this gap. 

Of the consumers questioned, 63% have had dreadful experiences with home service visits in the last three years, with company representatives not turning up for appointments as the most common problem (39%).  Amazingly, in 6% of cases, service providers made the problem worse. Other common causes for poor experience include the field technician turning up late (31%) or not being able to fix the problem at all (16%). 

In addition to disappointing experiences, 60% of consumers feel they have little or no choice when it comes to home delivery of goods and services. Most companies are as bad as each other by offering unreasonably long appointment windows and being late for appointments.

63% of working people in the UK have also had to make a special arrangement during the working week to accommodate the delivery of services or goods to their home, but when they cannot make an appointment, 20% of consumers would not phone before hand to cancel.

“Customers feel as though they are consistently let down by their service providers so therefore feel little or no loyalty towards them.  In a market with an increasing number of choices and high customer expectations, consumers have wrestled the control of the relationship from the service providers and expect a higher level of commitment from their chosen provider,” said Stuart Potchinsky, Vidus VP of marketing and strategy.  “Service providers who do not adopt and implement a customer-centric philosophy could find it to be a very costly decision.”  



The survey also revealed that most service providers blame an inability to cope with unpredictable events as the reason for not being able to deliver a good service.   94% cited events outside of their control as the cause of problems when its mobile workforce does not deliver the promised service to its customers at the committed time. It is primarily events that are out of service providers’ control which cause the most delays, with roadworks (63%), adverse weather (55%), employee illness (45%), unexpected traffic hold-ups/accidents (36%) and sudden new and urgent jobs (29%) as the most common unpredictable events. 

In addition, 26% of respondents claim that a customer’s absence when the workforce arrives for an appointment causes problems and delays.  These problems not only affect the service that customers receive, but also have an impact on the companies’ bottom line with 89% of them admitting that the costs of running a mobile workforces increases when unpredictable events occur.

Despite the huge impact of unplanned events, the ability of service providers to reorganise their workers quickly and efficiently is severely hampered by the systems used.  Of those questioned, 71% use a manual system, which take an average of five hours to respond when unexpected events cause problems. 

“Not surprisingly with unpredictable events hampering a good service and the inability of these companies’ systems to deal with the impact, customers are getting a raw deal and service providers are absorbing a lot of waste.  Most of these companies include time, money and people, for a problem that may not occur. Customers bear the brunt of this through the prices they pay, the service they receive and the time they are expected to sacrifice.” comments Potchinsky. “In a world where a competitor offers the same service bigger, faster and better these kind of service compromises seem archaic and just won’t cut it.”

Despite all businesses questioned believing that an efficient and reliable service can give the company a competitive advantage, 92% said that delivering an on-demand service to their customers would be challenging, with 37% citing the complexity of coordinating a mobile workforce as the primary inhibitor. 

Appointment Mismatch

The survey also indicated that a huge gap exists between the appointment windows customers believe are acceptable and the appointment windows they are offered by a home service provider.

Of the companies questioned, only 24% could offer customers an appointment window of two hours or less, despite this being the preferred option for 54% of respondents.   The majority of companies (73%) offered slots of three hours or more, with a one-day appointment window being the most common (36%).

“It is encouraging that service providers believe that providing a good customer experience can give them a competitive advantage, but many of them are not using systems which allow them to manage their field service delivery effectively.  We are fortunate to be working with a handful of those exceptions, companies who are heavily investing in their systems and processes to provide a better experience for their customers. Taking on average five hours to respond to change is a bad use of an employee’s time and ultimately affects the level of service a customer receives.  It also necessitates longer appointment windows in order to allow for greater flexibility.” said, Martin Knestrick, @Road managing director, Europe . “The human brain is only able to make a limited number of decisions per minute, so by using a fully automated system like taskforce which can make 60,000 value-based decisions a second, priorities are reorganised automatically and in real time to limit the impact on existing arrangements and to enhance customer satisfaction.”

Vidus’ taskforce software uses several form of artificial intelligence to provide an intelligent, automated field service management solution that enables companies to deliver superior customer experience, more efficiently and save money doing it.  By providing an up-to-the minute view across the entire field service resource network, the software is able to meet both fixed and unplanned commitments, creating significant operational efficiencies for both the service provider and its customers.  Because taskforce is highly automated, it enables a single operations manager to handle significant numbers of complex resources in an unpredictable field service environment.

Major service providers who are benefiting from taskforce include NTL, Centrica/British Gas and BT. Since introducing taskforce two years ago, NTL has benefited from substantial savings to its service delivery costs, a dramatic increase in percentage of service level agreements (SLAs) met and a notable increase in the number of installations from existing workforce.

The research was carried out by Dynamic Markets amongst 100 UK service providers, with mobile workforces, and 1,000 UK consumers during February and March 2005.

About Vidus, an @ROAD Company

In today’s increasingly complex and changing world, Vidus enables service providers to deliver a high quality of experience to their customers at the right time, the first time.

Vidus was created to enable home service delivery companies in newly deregulated markets to deliver high-quality service experience to their customers by providing a unified, up-to-the minute view across the field service resource network.  Through extensive operational research and development, Vidus’ technology was purpose-built to help increase customer profitability by addressing the disconnection between customer acquisition, customer satisfaction, retention and growth.

In its first 12 months, Vidus increased the adoption of software licenses by 73%.  Major customers now include BT, Centrica/British Gas, E.ON Hungary and NTL.  With more than 100 employees worldwide, the company has a presence in the U.K. , Germany , Hungary , Italy , France , Spain and North America . Visit for more information about Vidus and taskforce.

About @Road

@Road (NASDAQ: ARDI) @Road, Inc. is a global provider of solutions that intelligently automate the management of mobile resources required to optimize the service delivery process for customers across a variety of industries through real-time Mobile Resource Management infrastructure integrating wireless communications, location-based technologies, software applications, transaction processing and the Internet. @Road solutions provide a secure, scalable, upgradeable, enterprise-class platform, offered in hosted, on-premise or hybrid environments that seamlessly connect mobile workers in the field to real-time corporate data on-demand.

@Road is headquartered in Fremont , Calif. , and has a global presence with offices in North America, Europe and Asia . For more information on @Road products and services, visit


Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. These factors, risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the ability of @Road to maintain profitability; the expansion of operations in India; the ability of @Road to attract and retain qualified personnel; the ability of @Road to integrate taskforce into its solutions; the ability of @Road to develop and protect new technologies; the dependence of @Road on mobile data systems technology, cellular and satellite networks, network infrastructure and positioning systems owned and controlled by others, and general economic and political conditions. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in the @Road Report on Form 10-K dated March 15, 2005 and in its other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. @Road undertakes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained in this press release.

@Road is a registered trademark of @Road, Inc. The @Road logo and taskforce are trademarks of @Road, Inc.

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