The ETA alert is part of the standard vWork Alerts feature. This alert is used to send an email, and optionally, an SMS message, with the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of your mobile worker to a customer and/or other interested parties. It can also include an optional link to view the mobile worker’s live location.
The ETA alert is really useful for keeping customers informed. Many vWork account holders combine this alert with our Three-way Message feature to enable their customers to message them back using SMS in response to this alert.
Note: SMS Alerts is an optional add-on to the alerts feature. If you want to add this to your account please email firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll get in touch to discuss your requirements.
In this article
ETA alerts work a little differently from other alerts as it is template-specific. You set up the steps in your job templates using a specific step address structure to enable the ETA alert to work. The alert settings saved in the alert setup are also a little different from other alerts.
This article explains how to get the ETA alert up and running. Topics include:
- What’s involved in setting up an ETA Alert
- Set up a job template to activate an ETA alert
- Set up the ETA alert in Alerts Setup
- Test and troubleshoot the ETA alert
- What does the ETA alert look like?
You can read this article to learn everything you need to know about the ETA alert, or click the topic link above to go directly to it.
To return to this topic list click this icon at any time - you’ll find it at the end of each topic:
What’s involved in setting up an ETA Alert
To set up an ETA Alert you need at least two steps in the job template. The first of these two steps is used to trigger the alert, and the next step is a geolocated address where they are going.
Note: An ETA alert is applied to a single job template. You create ETA alerts for each job template that you want to use to trigger an ETA alert.
To set up the ETA alert you will:
- set up the job template to include a trigger step and a geolocated destination step for the ETA alert,
- set up the ETA alert in the Alert settings.
Each of these steps is described below starting with setting up the job template.
Set up a job template to activate an ETA alert
When you create a job template that you want to use to trigger an ETA alert you will include:
- a trigger step,
- a geocoded address in a destination step.
The ETA Alert uses the shortest route between the worker’s current location, when they complete the trigger step, and the geocoded address saved in the destination step. If we don’t have a current location for the worker, but the trigger step has a geolocated address, then we use the shortest route between the two addresses.
The trigger step doesn’t need to be the first step in the job - but a step after the trigger step must include the geocoded destination address. The ETA is the most accurate if this is the step directly after the trigger step.
Let’s demonstrate this using the example of a driver making food deliveries.
Often a delivery driver goes from one location to the next leaving packages at each location in a delivery route. Each delivery in the route is one job in vWork.
We have set up the job template to include two steps for the ETA alert - these are the first and second steps in the job:
- The first step begins the job. This is the trigger step. When our delivery driver begins the job they will complete this step to show they are leaving their current location. In this example, this step is called En route.
Note: While you can include a geocoded address in the first step in the job, you don’t need to. Either the mobile worker’s GPS location or a geocoded address can be used to calculate the ETA. In this example, the driver’s GPS location is the beginning point of the route used to calculate the ETA. The mobile worker must have location tracking enabled on their mobile device for this to work.
- The second step contains the geocoded address where our delivery driver will make the delivery. This is the destination step used in the ETA calculation. It’s important that this step is geocoded as this location is needed to work out the estimated time of arrival when the previous step is completed. This is also the step we reference when setting up the ETA alert.
These are the two steps needed for the ETA Alert to work. We have included a third step that the delivery driver completes to confirm they have completed the delivery. Here is what a job based on this template will look like.
Set up the ETA alert in Alerts Setup
Once you have created the job template that you will use to trigger an ETA alert, you can then create the ETA alert in Alerts > Setup. We will demonstrate this using the same food delivery example as we used above for the ETA job template.
When you set up an ETA Alert you name the alert, select the alert type, and select filters. Then you specify the steps in the job template that are used to activate and calculate the ETA alert.
To create an ETA Alert:
- name the alert, select the ETA Alert type, and select any required alert filters,
- next, specify the template parameters for the alert,
- finally, select who will be notified and how they will be notified.
Each of these steps is explained below.
Name the alert, select the ETA Alert type, and select the alert filters
- Create a new alert.
- Go to Alerts > Setup.
- Click to open the page where you create an alert.
- Click in Alert Name and give the alert a descriptive name.
In our example, we are using this alert to notify customers when we expect to deliver their food. We have called this alert: Food delivery ETA.
- Scroll to Select an Alert Type and click to select Estimated Time of Arrival.
Note: When you select the Estimated Time of Arrival alert type, this removes Templates from the Select Your Filters section. This is because each ETA alert applies to a single job template. We explain more about this below.
- Next, scroll back up to Select Your Filters and select the Group, Customers, and Workers you want this ETA Alert to apply to.
Note: If you make no selections in these filters the alert will apply to all Groups, Customers, and Workers where jobs are created using the job template created for this alert.
In our example, this job template is only used in the Food delivery group. It will apply to all customers with a food delivery job booked and all drivers belonging to the Food delivery group. We have selected Food delivery in Select a Group and have left Select a Customer and Select a Worker unchanged.
Specify the template parameters for the alert
- Scroll down to the Template parameter selection area at the bottom of Select Alert Type. This is where you define the step to trigger the ETA alert and the step to calculate the estimated time of arrival.
- Click Template and select the job template you set up for the ETA Alert.
In our example, this is Food Delivery.
- Click Please select which step completion should send this alert and select the step that will trigger the ETA alert when it is completed.
In our example, this is Step1. En Route.
- Click Please select which step contains the destination you need an ETA to and select the destination step that the alert will provide the ETA for.
In our example, this is Step 2. Delivery address.
- To add a link in the alert that enables the alert recipient to view the location of your worker on a map, click to add a checkmark next to Include link in alert that lets the recipient view driver location.
Note: You can use this option on its own, or combine it with the worker’s name option to include the worker’s user name on the map with their location.
We have enabled this option in our ETA Alert example.
- To add the worker’s user name to the alert message, click to add a checkmark to Include worker information in driver location view or SMS alerts.
Note: You can use this option on its own, or include it with the worker location option to also add the worker’s vWork user name to their location on the map.
We have enabled this option in our ETA Alert example.
Select who will be notified and how they will be notified
Once you have finished creating the ETA Alert parameters you can set who you want to send the alert to and how they will be notified: by email, SMS, or both. This process is no different from any other alert. You can find out more about this in the article: How to set up an Alert.
Test and troubleshoot the ETA alert
Once you have created a job template for an ETA alert and set up the ETA alert in the Alert Setup, it is a good idea to test it to see how it works. Here are some tips for testing. Most of these tips are also useful for troubleshooting an ETA alert that doesn’t work.
To set up the test for the ETA alert test:
- Make sure you have created a test customer profile in your account, and saved an email address and mobile number (if you plan to use the SMS notification option), to send the ETA alert notification to and then view it.
If you use an ad hoc email address or custom phone number you must also enter a valid email address or phone number in the add Ad Hoc Alert Recipient section for the test job.
- It is best to test the ETA alert by completing the steps through the mobile app. Make sure you have a mobile device you can log in to as a mobile app user.
- Make sure the test mobile app user is set up with the correct user permissions and profile to enable them to complete the job that you will use to test the alert.
- Make sure that location tracking is enabled for the vWork app in the mobile device settings and in the vWork mobile app settings so that the mobile device’s GPS location can be used to trigger the alert.
- Make sure the test mobile device has a strong and working data connection.
- Create a job and save a geocoded address that is not near the location of the mobile device that you will use to test the ETA alert. You need to have a different trigger location (the location of your mobile device) from the ETA destination step location.
Run the test
To run the test:
- Create and publish a test job to your test worker’s mobile app.
- Wait a few minutes for the alert.
If the alert doesn’t work vWork, we will send an email describing the error to the vWork user who created the alert.
💡Tip: If the alert recipient doesn’t receive the email alert, ask them to check their spam folder. Also, check that their email address is correct.
What does the ETA alert look like?
Here is what our example food delivery alert looks like as an SMS alert. It includes both the location tracking link and the name of the delivery driver.
When the alert recipient taps the location link this is what they see on an Android mobile device. This link has been designed to display correctly on both mobile devices and desktop web browsers.
They can get more information by tapping this in the banner at the bottom of the map.
Here you can see that Bindi, the delivery driver, has only just begun her journey to the delivery address.
The email alert looks like this. In the Grey area, it has clickable links that the alert recipient can use to see where the delivery driver is on the map.