Research analysts Datamonitor says its research highlights the need for fuel retailers to pay close attention to the business-to-business aspect of their operations.
Its European Fuel Cards Intelligence Service shows that fleet managers are demanding more detailed consumption analysis and quicker access to account management services.
A spokesman said: 'The survey revealed some disappointment at the speed with which fuel card providers currently respond to queries and instructions - 27% of respondents declared their unhappiness with the current level of service.'
Datamonitor's report notes that fuel card growth is 10 times that of fuel retailing generally, making the segment crucial to short-term business growth and increasingly important in the battle for overall market share.
The spokesman added: 'But this market is in a transitional phase, with changing customer demands and continuous product development. Success will hinge on accurately targeting high-growth markets and segments, and on a well-positioned competitive offering.'
Datamonitor claims that fleet benefits of using such cards include having the opportunity to consolidate fuel purchasing under a single invoice and securing volume-based discounts.
It added cards can also increase security against theft and abuse, and reduce the administration costs associated with fuel management. Management reports generated by their use can also allow fleet operators to improve efficiency in fuel consumption.
The problems with the speed that fuel card providers currently respond to queries and instructions could be addressed by the internet, the report added.
It said: 'It is no surprise, then, that online account management was highlighted as a priority need moving forwards, with two thirds of respondents attesting to the value of such a service.'
Datamonitor believes that by moving online, fuel card providers will improve customer satisfaction and also deliver long-term cost savings in their own administration costs.
Datamonitor said: 'As with all technologies, return on investment is highly dependent on quality implementation. Even amongst Europe's top 20 suppliers, only 65% of cards offer online account management - and many of these are limited to card stopping only'.