Change happens. We can’t always anticipate every change that may come our way but we can prepare and manage change to the best of our abilities. The fleet management industry certainly experiences instabilities of its own. Whether you’re looking for a fleet management company for the first time, or are looking to switch to a new company, there are some important things you should be prepared to do.
Come With Questions
When you’re vetting a new fleet management company you’ll want to ask a lot of questions. What kind of questions should you ask? Well, since we’re on the topic of stability - it never hurts to ask about the company’s history and stability. You should ask how long they’ve been in business, and get references from current clients. With all of the recent consolidation in the fleet management industry, another important issue revolves around the future stability of your fleet management provider. You can do some research on your own regarding your provider’s potential for acquisition, or ask them directly about the possibility of being acquired in the future. When your fleet management provider is acquired, it can initiate a number of changes affecting your fleet that you didn’t sign up for, but with a stable provider who is in it for the long-term, this is one thing you don’t need to worry about.
Also, ask them what their net promoter score is. If they don’t have an NPS, ask them how they determine client satisfaction. Ask if you will have a dedicated customer service representative and sales manager contact for the life of your account. Ask about the tenure and experience of their sales and customer service teams. Do they experience high turnover or will you be able to get to know the person who handles your account - and will they get to know your business? Ask if you will get to talk to a real person when you have a question or if your call will be sent to an automated call center. If you get to talk to a real person – is it someone who knows the details of your account? What is their response time like? Will they respond and resolve your issue quickly? There are many important questions that need to be answered for you to determine if you are choosing the right fit in a fleet management partner, all you need to do is ask them.
- How long have you been in business? Can I talk to current clients for references?
- What is your NPS? How do you measure client satisfaction?
- Have you recently been acquired and/or is there potential for future acquisition?
- Will I have a designated customer service representative and sales manager that I can work with for the life of my account?
- What is the average tenure and experience of your customer service and sales teams?
- Do you have a lot of turnover on your customer service and sales teams?
- Will I get to talk to a real person who is empowered to address and resolve any problems quickly?
Find a Company You Trust
Finding a fleet management partner you can trust is like having an in-house team managing your transportation assets. You need a partner who will act in your best interests to keep your fleet on road, and that has to start with a trusting relationship. A trustworthy business partner will not tell you one thing, and then do another. Whether it’s a large publicly-traded company or a smaller privately-held company, you want to find a partner with whom you can build a relationship on a foundation of trust. Rather than just feeling like another account number in their sales database, you should feel that your fleet management provider values your business and has your best interests in mind. They trust you with their business, and you trust them with yours. Every fleet is different, so if your fleet management provider doesn’t get to know you and your business, then who are they really looking out for?
Find Value in Values
Finding a trustworthy fleet management partner that you can build a relationship with might seem like a formidable task, so where do you start? The mission and core values of most organizations are fodder for lip-service, but the only way to know if they have the integrity to live up to their values is by their people. Building a strong working relationship may take months or even years, but learning whether or not your fleet management company lives up to their values should be evident in every interaction with every facet of your fleet. The human side of fleet management is often overlooked, but it can never be overvalued. Look for a fleet management partner whose core values align with yours, and who lives up to those values at every opportunity.