Is ‘big really better’?
Often when companies expand they lose touch with the basics that made them successful in the first place.
Often big is not better, particularly when it comes to customer service at a personal level.
LeasePlan, the UK’s second biggest leasing company, has constantly strived to ensure that satisfying the customer remains a central core of its business proposition.
It believes it delivers excellent customer service and it has the awards to back up this belief.
For the second time in three years, LeasePlan collected the customer service award at the Fleet News Awards.
“We enjoy winning the customer service award,” says LeasePlan managing director David Brennan.
“When we see customers we say that we have strong prices and the best service and the award is independent proof of that. It’s a powerful message to take to customers.”
LeasePlan’s only interest is contract hire and fleet management; it has no other business to rely on for profits when times are difficult.
And, for Brennan, outstanding customer service is the key to profits.
Fleet News: Fleets are increasingly demanding transparency from their leasing supplier. How do you meet those expectations?
David Brennan: All our systems are built around open calculations so it’s always our starting point.
More and more customers are looking for transparency and more value the fact that we can give them open contracts.
For example, when we sell the vehicle at the end of the contract we share any profit with customers.
A large proportion of customers have this agreement.
We put in place programmes to reduce damage and customers are open to that because they share in the profit.
If we get it wrong then we lose out, not the customer.
And if we get it right, we share the profit. It alleviates the risk that they have overpaid.
The percentage return varies – anything from 100% to zero – but the amount obviously affects the lease rate they pay.
Some leasing companies erred on the side of caution after the big RV slump of 2008; now some are being aggressive in their forecasts. What’s your approach?
We go into a contract to try to get it absolutely right.
For certain cars, common fleet cars, RV mistakes might be just plus or minus 1%.
On less common cars, we will be out by more.
It also depends on whether the manufacturer distresses the business model in a way that we hadn’t foreseen – that affects the residual value. But we get it right most of the time.