– By Rob Wilson –
Over my time in the fleet management business, I have always found it interesting that there is often quite a different view of customer service performance between service providers (some say us) and the customer (some say them). What is perhaps more surprising is that often there is little or no effort made to close this divide. There are three things Fleet Managers can do right now to improve customer service.
One; identify your customer. It’s easy to lose the forest in the trees – is the customer senior management, the board, council or end users of the fleet? Think of it like a large retail outlet. There are various stakeholders, for example; executives and shareholders, whose interests need to be met, but the customers are those directly interfacing with the product or service. For a fleet manager the end user of the vehicle or plant is your customer. Pay attention to the end users of your fleet and treat them like, well, customers! Not that you can forget other stakeholders, but if you have happy end users you have more chance the other stakeholders will be happy.
Two; work out what the customer needs. A simple Service Level Agreement is a great way to define obligations and expectations for both the service provider and customer. The SLA also provides a reference point for constructive discussion and basis upon which you can build improved service.
Three; monitor and review customer service levels. Do this through simple surveys, meetings or taking the opportunity to chat with end users of your fleet about what’s working and what’s not. Criticism can be gold and whether you agree or not it is the customer’s perception. Use this information to address issues and continuously improve your service delivery.
Rob Wilson is an experienced Fleet Manager and Director of fleet consultancy company 4C MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS