New research from Thrifty Car & Van Rental has revealed that firms are upping their business mileage in response to pressure to keep customer relationships alive while operating in a fiercely competitive market.
Half (50%) of employees have increased their business mileage in the last two years with nearly a quarter (24%) driving more than 1,000 miles a month.
Staff cited the main reason for driving hundreds more miles is down to the necessity to build closer relationships with customers and clients (29%) with a further one in five (20%) recognising that since the recession it’s more important to have face-to-face contact to forge stronger working relationships, perhaps in the hope there is less chance of losing business.
While technology plays a significant part in working lives, one in five (21%) say it’s no longer enough to reply on emails and phone calls to maintain client relationships. But the pressure to grow the business also means that for 21% of staff they need to get out more to find new customers and a quarter (25%) say the geographical region they cover has expanded.
For many, the freedom of the open road presents an attractive alternative to the pressure of office life. Nearly eight out of ten (79%) enjoy being out of the office to escape the stressful environment and because they like to get and out and meet people. One in five (20%) also admit it’s good to get away from the watchful eye of the boss.
Grant Capel, fleet director at Thrifty Car and Van Rental, said: “It’s great to hear that businesses recognise how face-to-face contact can positively impact on their customer relationships, particularly in this technology driven age.
“But this does mean that the cost of running a fleet has increased. However there are ways business can reduce the associated expenditure by encouraging staff to drive more economically, utilising vehicles with smaller-sized engines and lower CO2 emissions where appropriate and opting for flexible rental terms so the business only hires vehicles as and when needed.”