Dale Williams has spent 30 years in the transportation industry, with roughly half of those years devoted to running his own small business. Based just south of Atlanta, Williams Charters has grown consistently since its founding in 2006 and has one of the newest motorcoach fleets in Georgia. Their modern buses, equipped with features like WiFi, electrical outlets, and reclining seats, have now provided transportation for trips throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada.
Williams Charters had no way to track buses.
Drivers adopted CoachRail's GPS tracking feature.
Williams Charters used to receive frequent phone calls from customers wondering where their buses were. The main office team then had to call the driver, get the driver to describe where they were, and call the customer back.
Drivers simply turn on the GPS tracking feature in the CoachRail mobile app. This sends an email notification to customers to let them know their bus is on the way, and it lets the main office track the driver's route. "The mobile app allows us to know where the drivers are and not have the customers have to call into the office to track the bus, to see where the driver is," Dale says.
Dale has also found the tracking feature helpful when faced with questions about what happened during a trip.
I had a situation with a military run we do on a daily basis. The driver said that he had gone and picked up people at one spot, and there was nobody there. And in turn, we kinda assumed that the driver dropped off people. But after going back and tracking the driver's route, it showed that he went to the pick-up and back to our bus yard. I was able to go back and make sure we didn't bill a customer for a trip that didn't take place.
Before, Dale would have to rely on the driver's and customer's accounts and wouldn't have any objective proof of what happened on a trip. With tracking, he can take care of his customers more quickly and fairly.
Relying on phone calls, emails or printed-out forms led to miscommunication between the office, passengers, and drivers.
CoachRail stores reservation information in one place and sends relevant updates to customers and drivers.
Dale says that CoachRail has “a grasp on the major part of running a business, and that's getting information back to the customers.” Dale and his team used to manually type up emails every time a passenger needed an update on their trip or information about their driver. Now they just assign a driver or make a requested itinerary change in CoachRail, and the customer automatically receives an email with their driver's contact information or confirmation of the changes to their trip.
CoachRail helps the office team communicate with drivers, too. “We don't have to worry about going to the yard and printing out 15 or 20 different work tickets for a job,” Dale says. “It's pretty much all right there, in the driver's app. So, in that sense, that has saved us a lot of time and energy with keeping up with all of the different work tickets for the different trips.”
He also notes that the app can be updated more quickly than paper—“even at the last minute there's updated information in there for the driver”—and that he likes being able to work on the go. “I can manage everything from the palm of my hand, no matter where I am.”
It was hard to bid on new business while out driving
CoachRail's quote-building tool makes it easy to send quotes from your phone
As an owner-operator, Dale often has to go out and drive. This used to make it difficult for him to respond to potential customers' requests for quotes.
With the way we were doing it previously, I would have to find someplace to sit down, type up a huge synopsis to the person on what I'm quoting and what they requested, it's just a lot. I would really have to find time to sit down, whether it be when I got back to the hotel that night with the group--so there were a few delays. That's what I'll say. There was a delay. With the app there's no delay.
The CoachRail quote builder includes features like preloaded company rates, the ability to automatically calculate the total cost of a trip, and personalized quote emails. Together, these features make creating and sending a quote much faster. By sending out quotes more quickly, Dale can avoid the threat of losing business to another company and impress his customers with his fast response time.
Since adopting CoachRail in 2019, Williams Charters has been able to track drivers, communicate more clearly with drivers and passengers, and quickly send quotes, all from a computer or smartphone. Their greater efficiency has let them focus on winning new business and taking care of their customers instead of formatting PDFs, answering constant phone calls, or waiting for documents to print.
CoachRail is honored to have helped a great company like Williams Charters and an accomplished owner-operator like Dale Williams.