Enterprise Rent-A-Car has undergone a business transformation in recent years.
The global short-term hire company now aims to provide any type of vehicle over any time period – through its fleet of more than 100,000 vehicles – after putting business mobility at the heart of its strategy.
It retained more than 90% of its customers last year, while expanding its broad range of services even further.
Enterprise Travel Direct (ETD) launched in September, following a 12-month pilot programme in partnership with several of the UK’s largest public sector fleets.
It was specifically developed to help organisations better manage how their employees travel for work.
The company also works collaboratively with businesses to help them move way from unmanaged grey fleets, with pool fleet utilisation improvements of up to 40%.
In the UK, Enterprise has more than 5,000 employees and operates 470 fully-staffed branch locations.
According to Experian, there is an Enterprise vehicle within 10 miles of 93% of the UK population.
Customers can access all of Enterprise’s services through one online booking platform, be it car, van or HGV.
Fleet News: How have you improved your customer service offering?
Adrian Bewley, director of Business Mobility, UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Customer service is at the forefront of everything we do. Our employees and our customers drive us forward.
The mobility landscape is changing quite rapidly. We have tried to provide greater access to all our services. It sounds easy, but it takes a significant amount of time and investment to make sure the customer can access the services that are appropriate for their circumstances as they arise.
We have also invested in technology that binds our services together.
We have a diverse range of products, including flexi rent, car club and daily rental. What we have tried to do is simplify the customer journey and create a funnel approach.
Our car club offering is, effectively, rental-on-demand and is now available in 40 of our branches. It makes those locations a 24/7 access point. That is a result of our customer demands changing.
By August next year, we will have 170 locations with Enterprise car club vehicles. Where most other providers are contracting their access points, we are investing to become closer to our customers.
In the past 12 months, we have made a huge investment in our tablet technology. It enables our staff to become a mobile office. They can see data of impending reservations and can transact with the customer at any point. It gives our customers greater choice, flexibility and convenience.
FN: How are the needs of fleet customers changing?
AB: Customers want an easy access point for all derivatives of transport. We are trying to simplify the job of the fleet manager.
It seems like the role is morphing into something that might have a different title in the future.
It seems that a fleet manager is now looking at new ways to move people and goods around – that is the way the world is going.
There has been more interaction and challenges posed to us in the past 18 months compared with the past five years.
FN: Could fleets move away from a traditional funding model towards an on-demand service?
AB: There are more signs this year than last year. It hasn’t shifted massively, but it feels like we are on an evolution that our customers will be looking for a greater breadth of choice. The ‘old’ model is definitely on the way out.
Businesses want to make sure they are making the best decision about travel and that includes cost, productivity and duty of care.
Our ETD booking tool enables any employee to not just book a car but to say ‘I’m travelling from A to B, what is the best way to get there?’ It can present various options including an hourly rental, daily rental and the cost of using their own car.
We are enabling people to choose the right method of travel, but you have to provide them with the right tools to do that as lots of different choices could lead to confusion.
The agility of Enterprise, with the huge number of access points, effectively allows our customer to be a lot more selective towards their shorter trips.
FN: How are you implementing electric and hybrid vehicles on the fleet?
AB: We’ve just doubled our hybrid fleet in the past year. There is definitely a modal shift towards different types of fuels. Driven by the diesel conundrum, our customers are looking for a greater degree of choice.
Electric vehicles are still a little bit tepid, but hybrid is a lot more prevalent than it was 18 months ago.
We see this area really galvanising over the next six-to-12 months. A hybrid vehicle is pretty straightforward to integrate into our daily rental fleet.
I think electric works well in other sectors and access points, as in via leasing companies, but not yet in the rental market.
The big elements that are driving change are the clean air zones (CAZs) and I think they will bring it all to a head in the next year or so. We are now engaging with city councils to talk about how they can create sustainable transport options, while also being a thought leader.
There is no point in a council having a CAZ if they are using vehicles that will cause them to be fined in their own zones.
FN: What else will you look at over the next 12-18 months?
AB: We do believe the way customers access our services will change. We see subscription models becoming a reality in the next year. We also see huge growth within the grey fleet market place.
We are a viable option for organisations to move people and goods around for the shorter journeys. There is a huge expenditure in private and public organisations in moving people around who do less than 10,000 miles per year.
The BVRLA research shows there was £3bn worth of grey fleet mileage last year and we see that as an opportunity for the future.
I’m incredibly optimistic about the next five years. With the introduction of new restrictions and legislation affecting vehicle emissions, we have a huge opportunity to advise fleets how to travel.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been relentless in its efforts to provide fleets with more efficient and easier to use solutions.
Its Joined Up Travel initiative, in partnership with train operator LNER, sees car club vehicles conveniently located at four major train stations – Durham, Doncaster, Peterborough and Wakefield with more to come – making it easier for business travellers to continue their onward journey.
Enterprise has also launched its own accident management service to assist companies with the efficient processing of claims and repairs.
The technology allows information to be easily shared between insurers, repairers and vehicle providers.
By further integrating its rental branch network with its car club fleet, Enterprise is giving businesses access to round-the-clock mobility.
Car club is now available in 40 major cities, with cars ready to be booked for immediate use via web or app. Due to its extensive network, Enterprise is able to offer fixed price delivery and collection or a free pick up service which helps reduce CO2 emissions and is often vital for last-minute rentals.
Customer satisfaction scores are religiously monitored and made transparent across the business.
Last year’s winner, Enterprise Rent-A-Car continues to impress with its coverage, ability to help customers cut costs, and its simple and easy-to-use tool for assessing vehicle damage.
It is supporting a joined-up approach to travel through a new partnership to provide car club vehicles at small city train stations.