This can cover a range of topics and is often provided in the form of glossy brochures, 24-hour telephone helplines or online support. Again most of the information is free, but not automatically offered up, so fleets must tap into this wealth of knowledge. Any information which helps run or maintain the fleet is of use and, if supported by the funding company, it can help strengthen relationships with suppliers through regular contact and networking.
Neil Davies, technical director at Car Benefit Solutions, said: ‘In order to add value to customers, fleet suppliers should provide advice and guidance regarding subjects that have an impact on the operation of fleets. These subjects include changes to health and safety legislation, consumer credit regulations and accounting standards relating to leases.’
However, funding companies must have a strong customer service package to be able to provide quality advice when fleets need it.
This includes a reputable branch network, transparent communication and efficient call centres. Fleets must make sure this structure is in place when they choose a funding provider.
Harvey Perkins, director at KPMG, said: ‘Most leasing companies now have one telephone number for all services and where this is backed up by efficient and prompt answering call centres that really understand the scheme, it can be really positive.’
The amount of advice available will depend on the individual funding companies but fleets should be able to access information on topics including risk management, environmental issues, cost savings, policy implementation and additional funding methods.
Jon Walden, managing director of Lex Vehicle Leasing, says that more funding companies are offering advice on environmental issues. He reckons fleets need to expect a little more than standard carbon dioxide figures though.
He said: ‘Contract hire suppliers should be able to not just inform customers about what cars have the best CO2 emissions, but look at the overall impact such as reducing fuel consumption, reducing mileage covered by employees, reducing local parking congestion to major sites and best use of technology such as phones and home working.’