The best of times and worst of times?

For vehicle fleet leasing

Let data help you nurture the customer experience

According to recent reports from Berg Insight, Deloitte and others, these are the best of times and worst of times for fleet leasing.

Markets are changing and there’s uncertainty in the air, particularly with BREXIT looming, the frequency with which the unexpected has become real and the evolution from vehicle ownership to “usership”. Confidence has been shaken and leasing companies, in particular, are having to re-examine business models and open up to new practices outside their comfort zones.

Charles Dickens aptly described the best of times and worst of times in the opening paragraph of The Tale of Two Cities, published in 1859. What he wrote is spookily relevant today:

A Tale of Two Cities

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Anticipating and responding to unexpected change is something all businesses must do. But alongside great change, there is opportunity. The opportunity to do things better, faster, cheaper. To engage with customers, widen markets, communicate better. These are all things that, with the strategic implementation of technology, are easier now than ever before.

Know more about how vehicles are bought, sold and used

While we embrace mobile apps, look forward to the development of self-driving cars, government backing for electric vehicles and new technologies that are having an impact on the way in which cars are bought, sold and used, we can also look forward to having the data that enables fleet leasing providers to know customers better and build stronger relationships that create higher lifetime value.

Time more valuable than money

Digitally-savvy consumers are happy to research and execute car purchases via their mobile phone. They want to see manufacturers, OEMs and fleet managers communicating and connecting with them using real-time online systems to track patterns of usage and costs. They like to feel in control of the relationship. However, they are less inclined to waste valuable time switching from one supplier to the next just to save money. Research tells us consumers are happy to pay extra and stay loyal to a service that is not the cheapest if it continues to meet their expectations.

This is good news for leasing companies struggling to maintain profitability; being the cheapest is not the most important goal. Consistently meeting customer expectations is and in that respect, these are the best of times in terms of having the data and opportunities required to do so.

Three tips on how to make the best of these challenging times:

  • Build trust – be prepared to give things away for free. I know this seems a risky strategy when times are tough and margins tight but what customers want more than anything is reassurance that you are the one (in all this uncertainty) they can trust. We’re not talking about high value items but things that are of value to them such as your knowledge, experience and support, which will cost you a few minutes of your time but may be invaluable to customers.
  • Don’t try and compete for business purely on price – focus on adding value and doing what you do best. When times are tough if your only stance is to be the cheapest and most competitive, you may win customers but you’ll drive your business into the ground. Build relationships. A long-term customer is a higher value customer.
  • Be honest and transparent – this ties in with points 1 and 2. The more customers trust you, the more they’ll rely on you and that usually equates to putting business your way. The more they do that, they longer they’ll stay with you. This is also good for your reputation. The more willing you are to say: “Actually, no, we can’t do that.” the less likely you will be to get in too deep and end up disappointing everyone (including yourself).

If you’d like to talk to us about the subject matter of this article, of any other fleet-management-related issues, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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