The surveys of UK fleet managers agreed that levels of service in the leasing industry are improving, thanks to improved communication and clearer demands from customers. The 2006 Fleet Contract Hire Survey from Sewells Information and Research and APD’s Landmark Pre and Post Sale Customer Satisfaction Index have both revealed similarly positive results.
The Landmark survey, based on the responses of 380 fleet operators, found that the standards of customer service in the leasing industry have improved in nearly all aspects over the past year. APD measures how 19 leading leasing companies have performed in areas such as first contact, response and follow-up and communications.
Over the past year, the average customer satisfaction rating for the 19 leasing companies had risen by nearly 6% to 84.09% compared to the 2004 level of 78.12%.
Leasing firms have massively improved in areas such as first contact (up 9.5%), products available (up 5.6%) and initial communication (up 4%). Constant clear communication with suppliers is the key weapon for fleet managers in the battle for better service, according to APD managing director Paul Turner.
He said: ‘Customer communication is key to long-term business success and contract hire and leasing companies have improved dramatically. Whether following up an inquiry or handling in-service issues, organisations now realise that consistent communication is vital.’
The Sewells report found the number who think the relationship with their contract hire supplier is improving is three times higher than those who feel it has worsened.
A total of 912 firms took part in the annual survey, operating a quarter of a million vehicles between them. Of those, 27% thought their experience with their supplier had improved, while 10% thought it had worsened. The rest, 63%, felt it had stayed the same.
The top priority for a successful partnership, Sewells claimed, was good communication. Fleet managers expect to deal with competent senior management who make themselves readily available, understand a company’s needs and provide hassle-free back-up that lets fleets concentrate on running their own business.