A new survey has found that fleet customers still prefer the telephone to the internet for many services, and that internet provision is not necessarily enhancing customer service.
The majority of respondents (56%) said that they are happy to research options online but need the reassurance of speaking to someone before making commitments rather than completing the process online.
The survey covered fleet managers, decision-makers and drivers in around 50 companies across the spectrum of small, medium and large fleets.
Key findings include:
- Fleet customers prefer to use the telephone rather than online facilities for queries and finding general information;
- Getting the latest quotes and ordering information by phone is preferred by 66% of respondents;
- Telephone is the preferred means of actually ordering vehicles for 60% of respondents; and,
- Leadership in e-commerce is directly associated with high levels of customer service by only around half of fleet customers.
Although 84% of respondents agreed that the internet will make it easier to do business, this is not borne out by current behaviour.
Almost two-thirds of respondents said that contact with knowledgeable people is better than having to find their own way on a website.
Fifty per cent of respondents said that an efficient and proactive telephone service is more important than total internet service provision.
Just 53% thought that those businesses which lead the market in internet and e-commerce will provide a better customer experience, and notably that figure fell to 38% in the case of fleet managers.
Only 36% said that internet capability is a key consideration when selecting a new fleet supplier.
A higher proportion, 63%, said that they prefer to be able to telephone someone with a query rather than search for the answer online.
“It is clear that although the internet is a growing and in some areas already vital tool for fleet management, its use needs to be carefully considered when delivering services to customers”, said head of Lombard Vehicle Management, Rob Bailey.
“Whatever the solution, the essentials of good service need to be in place.”