By Beacon Software on Jun 18, 2020 1:15:57 PM
We encourage our customers to review this material in detail in order to fully understand the magnitude of industry change and the effects on your business that Agero’s new direction will have. While Beacon would have preferred to put something out sooner, we wanted to provide you with detailed and complete information.
Beacon Software has always been guided by two simple, honest principles:
We treat our customers how we would want to be treated!
We give our customers the information that we would want if our roles were reversed!
Being the leader in providing software solutions while following our core principles, has earned Beacon the trust of thousands of towing and road service professionals over the long haul. Started by a 100-year-old towing & roadside company, Beacon’s purpose & commitment is to serve “Our Industry.” Beacon’s principles require that we give our customers straight and honest information so that they can make informed business decisions.
No matter what you may have been told, Beacon Software customers will continue to receive and manage all aspects of their Agero calls digitally using Dispatch Anywhere or TowMagic. Agero invoices can still be processed through Beacon’s Motor Club Billing software. Our customers will continue to run their businesses with Beacon products without changing their operations.
Digital Dispatch works just like the cell phone network. Each person or business using the cell system pays a provider for the time & data they use. The parties on the other end of the cellular connection pay for their share of the time & data they use. No one can tell you which cellular provider you have to use to receive calls, or what software you use to manage your business.
What has changed with Agero & Beacon?
Beacon and Agero have enjoyed a business partnership dating back to 2004. This association has mutually benefited both parties and the entire towing and roadside industry.
Sixteen years ago, Agero, then Cross Country, along with Beacon Software, was on a committee consisting of 4 Motor Clubs and six software companies that started Digital Dispatch. This system was created to benefit both Service Providers and Motor Clubs alike. In the many organizational meetings, it was well understood by all in the room that both the Motor Clubs and Service Providers benefiting from the system would have to share the costs of running and maintaining Digital Dispatch.
Early on, the initial clubs realized that significant returns could be made through the cost savings that the new system would provide. Aware of these over-sized returns, Agero, along with the three other Clubs, entered into contracts with Beacon, each paying for services and digital support needed to make their digital systems work.
Digital Dispatch has become an outstanding success! For these Motor Clubs, the system has saved 10s of millions of dollars in labor, call center overhead, and record-keeping costs, adding big numbers to their bottom line. Clubs now dispatch service calls in seconds rather than the 10 minutes or more required before Digital Dispatch. With the data available from the digital system, Motor Clubs have been able to drive down ATAs while offering valuable new products to the auto and insurance industries they serve.
Today these car manufactures and insurance companies are demanding that along with the towing and roadside services provided, Motor Clubs deliver an Uber-like smartphone experience and job performance data. In response to these demands, Clubs are promoting, branding, and selling these new services to their customers.
To enable the Uber-like experience and deliver performance data, a software company must collect, filter, and format status and location information, in real-time, then deliver the data to each Club’s unique computer system. This additional layer of programming and ongoing Club system upgrades cost hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the simple digital interface that Service Providers use to get their calls. Restated, it costs a lot more to provide the services that the Clubs use than it does to support the services that Service Providers use. Remember, the original business plan for Digital Dispatch envisioned that the parties using the system would pay for their proportionate share of the costs.
Without the industry noticing, this business model has been manipulated and changed. In exchange for preferential treatment, some industry software providers are offering large concessions to Agero and others at the expense of the towing and roadside industry. These software companies are providing the digital services that Motor clubs must have to run their businesses, FREE OF CHARGE!
Common-sense leads to only one reasonable conclusion; a software provider not charging Motor Clubs for expensive services has no alternative but to transfer 100% of those costs to the Service Providers! Without being told, Service Providers get thrown under the bus, paying inflated prices for inferior products, fewer software upgrades, reduced customer support, and less data security to cover the services that are given away.
It gets worse; once a cost is transferred to your side of the balance sheet, you own that expense forever while inflation keeps pushing the cost higher over time.
Recently, Agero has approached Beacon with a new contract proposal soliciting free service.
On top of the service they have paid for over the years, Agero is asking for enhanced system performance, support for their new swoop platform, quarterly meetings, more reports, a substantial increase in insurance coverage, and higher levels of data security. In addition, Agero wants Beacon to agree to indemnify and reimburse them for call center losses that Agero may incur as a result of a digital system outage. They want Beacon to pay them for their loss of the savings (remember millions) if the digital system were to go down.
While none of these requests are unreasonable, each comes with a significant price tag. The problem is that Agero is insisting that the entire package be provided for free, forcing the significant costs to be transferred to “Someone Else”!
The only explanation they offered for this unreasonable demand is that “our other software partner doesn’t charge us.”
When presented with Agero’s new proposal, the decision to end our contract was simple; the decision had been made 20 years ago when our company was formed. Beacon followed “Our Principals” and our commitment to “Treat our customers how we would want to be treated!”
Going forward, Beacon continues to provide access to Agero’s calls through Digital Dispatch, allowing you to receive call information, provide ETAs, and get your PO #s. Beacon has discontinued providing value-added services to Agero until such time as we may negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement that does not come at the expense of our customers and the industry.
We know that transferring a Club’s share of Digital Dispatch costs to the Service Providers is a major misstep that will push inefficiencies into their Digital Dispatch systems, drive up costs, adversely affect call center operations, retard their ability to provide the Uber-like experience and make it increasingly difficult to attract quality Service Providers. When these inefficiencies show up, well-run Clubs will adjust to correct the inefficiencies and regain digital cost savings.
In Beacon’s long history, there has been only one price adjustment. We will not raise our prices or lower our quality to provide free services at someone else’s expense.
Beacon customers are receiving calls and emails from our competitors and Club representatives, giving misleading information. When you receive that call, please contact your Beacon representative, who will provide honest answers to any question that you may have.
In conclusion, we at Beacon Software hope that we are consistent in our mission to:
Treat our customers how we would want to be treated!
Give our customers the information that we would want if our roles were reversed!
CEO, Beacon Software
Support from the Industry
- "Thank you for always being there for the Towing Industry! Your company is always a step ahead. I am thankful that your amazing team was able to come up with a solution."
- "We appreciate the explanation and will continue to recommend Beacon's services whenever possible."
- "Stay your course! You have a good product."
- "Congratulations to Beacon Software for standing up for what's right. I have been with Beacon for many years and have always had great service."
- "Thank you for the information and thank you for thinking about us! I applaud your stance."