One company which prides itself on delivering just that is Fleet News Award winner Kwik-Fit Fleet.
The group, which secured the title of Best Fast Fit Company at the annual awards back in March, has invested more than £16.5 million in its product and services including £3.5 million re-equipping network centres to become more customer-friendly.
Centres have been given a new image, redesigned reception areas, electronic point of sale and new tyre fitting equipment in an ongoing project across the UK.
Nigel Davies, corporate accounts director at Kwik Fit Fleet, explained: ‘This year we have had a massive re-design of Kwik-Fit centres in the UK, Holland, France and Germany.
‘We have made them a friendlier environment and have seen an increase in sales as a result.
‘We now have more comfortable seats, driver education, better quality coffee machines, easier viewing and generally brighter and cleaner places to be.
‘We will continue the refurbishment programme this year, but as we have 670 centres it will take a while to complete them all.’
The group has also been developing its relationship with fleets further with its inspection service.
Kwik-Fit Fleet regularly carries out office-based inspections for some of its customers.
Davies said: ‘This year we have been working with fleets on duty of care issues. ‘We have completed several inspections where we inspect vehicles in the company car park.
‘The initial inspections showed there were a large number of tyres running on the legal limit of tread. However, after regular visits drivers become more aware, and tyres improved.’
Kwik-Fit Fleet has plenty of experience dealing with the fleet industry and the group has learned several lessons along the road to becoming the industry giant it is today.
Davies explained: ‘It is vital to get the job right the first time, deliver what you promise and maintain a personal touch with drivers, fleet managers and vehicle providers. Fleet suppliers should also continually look at how they can improve and it’s important to always realise it is a competitive market.’
Kwik-Fit Fleet has relocated its Fleet Service Centre to a new call centre in its Glasgow offices.
From here they are able to manage tyre replacement policies for 45 fleets and 900,000 vehicles.
‘We have invested in new hardware and software systems. These manage the tyre authorisation, billing, invoicing and control for fleet and contract hire companies,’ Davies said.
The new IT platform allows for faster authorisation times and greater management reporting.
It has been a busy year for Kwik-Fit Fleet, which was taken over in the summer. The European Commission cleared an £800 million takeover by French equity firm PAI Partners.
‘Since the takeover, business has been positive. PIA has continued on the investment programme and they believe in having a strong management team so it is very much business as usual for us,’ Davies said.
The coming year will also be busy for the group as it continues its drive to provide a first-class service to fleets.
Kwik-Fit Fleet already has more than 10,000 staff, including hundreds who deal exclusively with fleet needs.
The group is planning to increase the size of its fleet account management team even further this year.
It has already increased the number of people working in its Fleet Service Centre, national sales team, credit control department and fleet office.
This, Davies believes, will help fleets deal with industry issues facing them in 2006.
‘The main issues for fleets are: corporate safety, costs and the fact that no one is sure when the Chancellor will raise tax in the future,’ he added.
Having suppliers they can rely on can ease the legislative burden, improve safety and cut costs for fleets.
10 Kwik-Fit Fleet facts
1 . Kwik-Fit employs more than 9,000 people in four countries
2. The firm ran 545 training courses last year in the UK
3. It surveys up to 15,000 customers a week to assess customer satisfaction levels
4. It manages more than 900,000 vehicles on behalf of our customers.
5. It sells more than 6.5 million tyres a year
6. There is a chill-out zone for staff at the Glasgow offices with air hockey, table football and an X-Box
7. There is also a concierge service to collect shopping and run errands for staff
8. The St Albans fleet office is a converted chapel
9. The 2003 Kwik-Fit Fleet karting challenge attracted more than 400 drivers
10. Kwik-Fit used to sponsor David Coulthard in his Formula 3 days with Paul Stewart Racing
What the judges said
‘KWIK-FIT Fleet started a multi-million pound investment programme to update its centres last year, backed by an equal and ongoing investment in training and development. It rightly pointed out that it invests in an in-depth report to help fleets identify key trends for the future.
‘All this while providing exceptional service, backed by a commitment to customer feedback on an epic scale and eliminating the risk of invoice errors that has won it some of the biggest contracts in the fleet market.’
Nigel Davies, corporate accounts director
Justin Edginton, national sales manager
Yvonne Rutherford, senior corporate accounts secretary