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How Great Customer Service Skills impac Fleet Managers: Part 3

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“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first” – Mark Twain

How Great Customer Service Skills impac Fleet ManagersEssential skills for great customer service

Welcome to Part Three of our Six-Part Series:

Fleet Managers and customer service agents need to use their best customer service skills to effectively communicate in a way that will leave them calmer, satisfied and confident in your brand. Whether a customer simply needs a new pin number for their fleet fuel card, or they have been frustrated to the point of switching providers, quality customer service is key to the success of your company.

Part 3.1 CLEAR COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Communicate with concise and relevant information, not just a spiel of technical jargon. When communicating by email, social media, chat or SMS, use good grammar and make sure they understand what you are saying. Keep the content relevant to the customer’s needs and at the same time strive to use a natural, conversational tone whether it be verbal or written.

Be sure to check out Part 1.3 of our series if you missed it. We talk about “Old School Meets Technology” and how using technology like Skype, chat and ZOOM can create that personal touch.

TIP: Listen more than you talk. First listen to what your customer has to say. This will help you provide a more thought out answer.

Speaking clearly with your customers is an important skill. You will need to articulate policies and procedures and other aspects of your company leaving no room for error. Customers want to build lasting relationships with companies that can provide solid customer support to solve issues; therefore, if you do not articulate clearly your customer service will fail.

Speaking politely to your customer shows respect and reflects the quality of your customer service. I’m sure everyone can remember dealing with a rude employee, it doesn’t exactly make you want to return to their place of business anytime soon.

Part 3.2 TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Do you have the skills or power to slow down time? Same here! I wish I did. However, I have several tips to help you “manage time” and maximize every minute of your day.

TIP #1: Spend the last 10 or 15 minutes of your work day organizing your desk and prioritizing your projects for the next morning.

TIP #2: Keep a notebook on your desk or workstation. Every year shortly before school starts I purchase several of the one subject, 70 sheet wide ruled notebooks. Then each day I write the date at the top of the page, and as my day progresses I will take notes from phone calls, prioritize new projects and jot-down any new ideas that may pop into my head. I also write a seperate daily to-do list down the left side of the page, checking them off as I go.

At the end of the day as I mentioned in Tip #1, I will take all my unfinished projects and move them to the next page along with any additional new tasks. I will prioritize them in order of importance and begin the next day tackling the most pressing or important ones first.

TIP #3: Recharge your battery and learn to focus. We all need to take time to recharge and clear our minds. Studies show that most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 20 continuous minutes before they need a short break. I find that standing, stretching and taking a short 2-5 minute walk will keep me energized through-out the day. To stay on target for the day I plan 30 minute work increments, this is called the Pomodoro Technique. I also like to start each session with background music to help me get focused quicker.

I have been following the Team at Focus@will, a new online music service based on human neuroscience. They are working on a new large-scale trail to determine if they can establish which genres and intensities of music work best for different brain types, and which cognitive mechanisms improve as a result of focus at will exposure.

Part 3.3 FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE.

How Great Customer Service Skills impac Fleet ManagersThe (“Pareto Principle,” n.d.) also known as the 80-20 rule suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort put in. You can also apply this principle when it comes to time management. When scheduling your top most important tasks for the day, keep it to three or less and keeping with the 80-20 rule you will soon learn to scale up your efforts. Using the Pareto Principle will help you determine your most important tasks, allowing the rest to fall to the bottom or you may find yourself completely eliminating them from your list.

“Conclusion”

This concludes part three of our six part series on “How Great Customer Service Skills Impact Fleet Managers. If you enjoyed our article please share and subscribe to get email updates from this discussion as well as future articles. Please check out our blog page for real time fleet tracking, fleet fuel cards and fleet management solutions, along with other industry related articles.

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How Great Customer Service Skills impac Fleet Managers: Part 2

10Articles, Company News

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” – Bill Gates

Impac Fleet

Why are customer service skills important?

Most businesses invest a lot of resources into their marketing and advertising to bring in new customers. As we mentioned in part one of our six-part series on great customer service skills The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that “68% of customers leave because of poor customer service.” Customer service skills are important in keeping them once you bring them in.

Part Two of a Six-Part Series:

Patience is key to keeping customers calm while you understand the customers concerns, staying cool under pressure is an important quality of a great customer service representative.

TIP: Don’t take it personally. The customer is upset with the company’s product or service, and they just need someone to listen and make them feel acknowledged, this is a good time to use your best communications skills.

Be patient and hear them out. When they are done venting apologize for their dissatisfaction with your product or service, and reassure them that you are ready to solve the problem. Take this opportunity to improve your customers’ experience.

After you have solved your customer’s problem take a short walk or break to clear your mind and be prepared to be at your best for your next customer.

Part 2.2 PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE

According to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, “70 percent of people are highly annoyed when they are transferred to a representative who can’t help or is wrong.”

Product knowledge is key to problem-solving. Regular product training and knowing how your customers account is set up is crucial to your company’s success. In order to truly assist a customer when a problem arises, your reps must be up to date and knowledgeable about every aspect of your product as well as your customers’ account.

“The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph! – Marvin Phillips

TIP: When a customer asks a question you cannot answer, make sure that you know who to seek additional information from.

Take interest in the products and services your company offers and try to figure out possible difficulties a customer might experience. This will increase your knowledge and may help you present a preventative solution saving your company and the customer frustration, time and money.

Part 2.3 GOING THE EXTRA MILE – or the “WOW” Skill.

“Our customer service reps here at impacfleet.com are so excited to “wow” our customers that they can’t help but share their experience.”

Impac FleetHow exactly do you “wow” a customer? Personal touch is a great way to start while you do what you say you will do. Make sure that everyone knows what was promised to the customer when they signed on with your company.

Follow up, good will goes a long way. Pick up the phone and give your customers a call and ask how your product or service is working for them. This element of surprise adds to the wow factor and lets you know that the customer is still satisfied and that you are thinking of them.

Your customer support team is the main connection between the customer and the company. Pay attention to the customers needs and bring attention to anything that may have a potential to escalate into a more serious problem.

Personal and unexpected? Creating an Impac Fleet impac and wowing the customer on a whim starts with giving your staff the freedom to think and work creatively. Give your staff some flexibility to brainstorm while sharing ideas on how they would surprise a customer, for example, they could have a local bakery deliver fresh baked cookies to a customer that was having a down day.

Most employees want to make a positive impression and grow with their company. Given an opportunity, they will dazzle both the customer and the company. All in all, wow moments are a result of treating your customers and employees like the truly valued human beings they are.

“Conclusion”

This concludes part two of our six part series on “How Great Customer Service Skills Impact Fleet Managers. If you enjoyed our article please share and subscribe to get email updates from this discussion as well as future articles. Please check out our blog page for real time fleet tracking, fleet fuel cards and fleet management solutions, along with other industry related articles.

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How Great Customer Service Skills impac Fleet Managers: Part 1

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“89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience” – GARTNER RESEARCH

Good customer service can have a big impact on your bottom line.

There are plenty of fleet management and fleet fuel card companies, but only a few that offer top notch customer service.
You often hear it said that it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. And it’s true: The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that 68% of customers leave because they are upset with the treatment they’ve received. Over the next six weeks we are going to cover 18 of the top customer service skills in a 6 part blog series.

Part 1.1 AUTHENTIC CUSTOMER SERVICE – SKILLS

Skills required for operational and technical actions are called hard skills or skill sets. Typically, you learn hard skills in the classroom with training material or on the job experience. By contrast, soft skills are the traits that make you a good employee, such as etiquette, listening, communication and getting along with other people.

Soft skills have to do with the personal side of customer service and may affect a customers emotional side of the brain. Research shows the right side of the brain is home to emotions, intuition, creativity, art and music, whereas the left side of the brain affects language, reasoning, analysis, logic and math.

Customers can be affected by how you greet and listen to them, including the warmth and sincerity in your voice over the phone or in person. Soft skills can have positive, negative or indifferent reactions and at the end of the day, customers will definitely remember how you made them feel. The difference between a good customer service employee and a remarkable customer service employee is the ability to get raving reviews about the help and service the customer received from your company.

Part 1.2 EMPATHY

What exactly is empathy?

According to Study.com empathy is the ability to understand and connect with someone’s feelings. In customer service, empathy is the ability to affirm a customer’s feelings and indicate that you can understand their pain or frustration, even if you cannot fix it.

Our account manager here at impacfleet.com told me a story about the frustration a professional fleet driver had when their fleet fuel card was not working properly after several failed attempts to activate the fuel pump. I definitely feel the frustration thinking about the situation.

As the fleet driver holds up the line at the gas station, he is thinking about how he still needs to make the final delivery for the day and how pressed for time he is. Again, after several more failed attempts he decides to call our customer service department and in doing so he immediately receives a friendly greeting.

As the driver explains the problem with the fleet credit card our customer service representative immediately shows empathy, sensitivity and understanding and continues to listen, taking an active interest in his concerns while building rapport with the driver. Now that the fleet driver is feeling more at ease the process to gather the necessary data can begin and the problem can be quickly resolved, professionally and without incident.

“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until you show him how much you care.” -Damon Richards

Part 1.3 GETTING TO KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS

Here at impacfleet.com we really take the time to get to know our customers and learn all the details of their account and nine times out of ten we know who is calling as soon as we hear their voice on the other end of the line.

“Good, Old Fashioned Customer Service.”

Do you recall the “good old days” when the corner diner welcomed all their customers by name, doctors actually made house calls and everyone greeted you with a friendly hello? Blending old fashioned expectations with the modern customer is as simple as that. Friendly greetings, genuine interest in your customer’s well being and a true appreciation for their time and money spent with your company can go a long way.

Stay focused and present, listen to what your customers are talking about and most importantly take time to learn about their business and the services you provide. Any barista worth his stock knows his everyday customers’ preferences – from their special flavor to how much froth they prefer.

For those of you that really want to stick out from the crowd, always add a little emotional element to every interaction – a calm voice, friendly smile and of course fast, efficient and knowledgeable service.

“Old School Values Still Rule.”

Old school communication skills is good practice and good business and don’t worry about showing your appreciation. Have you ever heard anyone complain about feeling over-appreciated? And always address your customers by name, this makes them feel valued and acknowledged. If you have a hard time remembering names try using repetition. When your customer calls in or you’re introduced for the first time be sure to use their name and again during your meeting or conversation and again when you finish up your call. If you have forgotten someone’s name, instead of not using their name at all, ask him or her to remind you, and then repeat the repetition process again.

“Old School Meets Technology.”

Impac Fleet Customer ServiceIf you cannot meet in person, use technology to improve the customer experience and create that personal touch. Meeting face-to-face using platforms like Skype, Facetime, ZOOM and GoToMeeting is a great way to add that old school touch without the time and expense of travel.

You can also record live sessions with your colleagues or customers and create engaging and informative training content or review your conversation later instead of taking notes.

If you plan on using the recording for training, make sure you get permission from everyone involved in the recording. For regular face-to-face meetings simply let everyone in attendance know that you will be recording the meeting and always offer to make it available to anyone that would like a copy.

“Conclusion”

This concludes part one of our six part series on “How Great Customer Service Skills Impact Fleet Managers. If you enjoyed our article please share and subscribe to get email updates from this discussion as well as future articles. Please check out our blog page for real time fleet tracking solutions and other industry related articles.

Fleet Challenges Telematics Can Fix - Impac

Fleet Challenges Telematics Can Fix

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Fleets are used in diverse industries to fulfil various demands and purposes. This means that each fleet has unique safety and efficiency fleet challenges. However, many of these challenges can be addressed by telematics, yet few fleets have implemented this technology.

Fleet Challenges Telematics Can Fix - Impac

Here are four fleet challenges telematics can fix:

1. Safe Driving– Safe driving is high on the list of fleet challenges. With telematics, managers can not only continuously monitor driving behaviors through automatic alerts but collect data that can be used for future safe driving discussions. Telematics has been proven effective in improving driver safety on the road.

2. Fuel Economy – Driving behaviors, such as speeding and off-route driving, can lead to wasted fuel, creating various fleet challenges. Telematics help reduce or eliminate those behaviors, leading to better fuel economy and lower fuel costs. 

3. Asset Management – Other than the vehicle itself, fleets tend to have expensive equipment on board. Telematics can help track the real-time location of assets. It can also be used to review which assets are underutilized. Accurate asset tracking and management is a critical way that telematics help fleets save money.

4. Vehicle Maintenance – Most fleets perform maintenance when something breaks. Telematics proactivity alerts fleets when there’s an emerging engine issue that needs to be addressed, eliminating possible fleet challenges. Fleets can then schedule repairs during off hours to keep vehicles on the road. 

Fleet Challenges Telematics Can Fix - Impac

According to Automotive Fleet, smaller fleets reported an up to five-times return on investment, from crash reduction and better asset tracking. Larger fleets accrue more benefit from fuel economy improvements and better vehicle maintenance. However, all benefits from safer driving.

Impac offers innovative GPS systems that provide tracking and managing solutions of critical mobile resources, such as vehicles, movable assets and employees in the field. Reliable and easy-to-use, telematics data collected from these systems can increase business efficiencies and cut costs.

To learn more about our systems, contact Impac today. 

How to Avoid Impaired Drivers on the Road - Impac

How to Avoid Impaired Drivers on the Road

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How to Avoid Impaired Drivers on the Road - Impac

Impaired drivers are a continuous threat on highways around the country. Nearly 30 people a day in the United States lose their lives in drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

In the fleet industry, it is vital that drivers know how to identify and avoid impaired drivers on the road. Knowing the signs will help ensure the ultimate safety of both drivers and company assets of a fleet business. 

Commons signs of an impaired driver include hugging the center line, hitting objects near the road, making wide turns, driving under the speed limit, tailgating, excessive breaking, swerving into other lanes, inappropriate signaling and stopping for no reason.  

In addition to maintaining awareness of these signs that may identify an impaired driver, there are things fleet drivers can do to lower the risk of becoming the victim of a reckless drunk driver:

• Maintain a generous following distance

• Use extra caution at intersections 

• Never attempt to stop an impaired driver

• Do not try to pass the vehicle

• Make sure seat belts are secured

• Pull over and call the police 

To ensure fleet drivers remain safe throughout daily operations, technology, like telematics, is available for fleet managers to review and report on various driver behaviors. GPS tracking systems provide detailed reporting and remote managing of vehicles, movable assets and employees.  

How to Avoid Impaired Drivers on the Road - Impac

Impac offers a cost-effective GPS tracking solution aimed to increase business efficiencies and cut costs. Reliable, complete and easy-to-use, GPS systems from Impac provide insight to live mapping of drivers and the behaviors associated. GPS systems allow improved communication between drivers and managers, as alternate routes may need to be taken in order to avoid impaired drivers.

Drive safely every day. To learn more about Impac’s telematics solution, contact us today. 

Fuel Spend - Impac - May31

How Fleets Are Reducing Fuel Spend

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With fuel prices on the rise, it is important for fleets to find ways to reduce fuel spend within their business. In the fleet industry, effective vehicle selection, driver behavior and modern technology are major components that can impact fuel spend.

How Fleets Are Reducing Fuel Spend

Vehicle Selection 

Considering the vehicle types that a fleet incorporates into its overall operations has major impacts on fuel spend. For example, a fleet utilizing smaller vehicles may spend less on fuel as a result of mpg differences. Therefore, fuel costs rely heavily upon identifying the vehicles that are best suited for an organization’s needs and those that provide better fuel economy. 

Driver Behavior

Driver behaviors can have a significant impact on a fleet’s fuel spend, including ineffective routing, excessive idling, aggressive driving and fraudulent activity. Due to these things, many fleet managers are reviewing and altering fleet policies. Improving driver safety through company-wide programs may also have a positive effect on reducing fuel costs.

Modern Technology

How Fleets Are Reducing Fuel Spend

Telematics and fleet fuel cards have become the most effective tools to reduce fuel costs within a fleet. Fleet fuel cards provide a more detailed analysis of employee payments, while telematics provides helpful reports of driver behaviors. With a high level of technology available, a fuel management strategy should be put in place to reduce fuel spend.

In addition to these methods of reducing amounts spent on fuel, other techniques include implementing low-resistance tires, active grill shutters, smaller engines. and light weighting of frames and parts. 

Impac offers both telematics/GPS solutions and fleet fuel card programs aimed to reduce a business’ fuel costs. To modernize your fleet, contact Impac today.

Impac's Customer Service: Risk Management

Impac’s Customer Service: Risk Management

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Mitigating risk is a responsibility most employees in a management position will be tasked with handling. Running an automotive fleet company comes with its own risks. Preventative countermeasures protect a company. By enforcing risk management practices, a company can reduce or stop fraudulent behavior.

Impac's Customer Service: Risk Management

Risks Associated with the Automotive Fleet Industry

Unauthorized purchases remain the biggest threat to businesses within the automotive fleet industry. Without limits, employees are more likely to partake in fraudulent behavior, like making unnecessary purchases in the convenient store on snacks or other items. Employees might also use the fleet card to fill up their personal vehicles. These risks can be minimized through fuel card limits and restrictions.

Methods of Risk Management in the Automotive Fleet Industry

The first step to proper management within the industry is determining the limits needed for a company’s fuel cards. Impac offers account management services. This service allows Impac representatives to review current limits in place and provide personalized recommendations for a company. The first thing a representative will help decide is whether the card should be attached to a vehicle or employee. From there, restrictions like date or time limits, spending maximums and limits on types of purchases can be implemented to reduce risk.

Impac's Customer Service: Risk Management

A 24-hour review of all fleet cards also helps manage risk. Each day, Impac searches a company’s fleet cards and reports any fraudulent behavior to management. Impac also tracks every call, email and case as another form of risk management. With any claim, Impac’s personal support representatives can refer to previous conversations to quickly provide information and solutions.  

Contact us for more information on how your automotive fleet company can practice risk management.

Service - Impac - March22

Impac’s Customer Service: How to Run an Efficient Customer Service Department

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Customer service is the simplest form of risk management. However, running an efficient customer service department becomes difficult without the right tools and vision. Done right, a customer service department benefits the company by keeping customers satisfied, collecting valuable data and encouraging repeat business.

Why an Efficient Customer Service Department Matters

According to data collected by BusinessWire, 54% of U.S. adults said quality customer service would encourage customers to spend more. In saturated markets, customers are looking for more than a quality product or service. Providing a memorable and positive experience helps exceed expectations and win over competition.

Determine the Purpose

First, a company should create structure by determining the role of the the department. Once the role is identified, management can implement structure. By knowing the purpose of a company’s service department, management can implement strategies that set the company up for success.

Get the Right Tools

Access to technology makes it easier for departments to respond to customers. There are a variety of ways for customers to seek help. Impac customers can reach support by filling out the contact form on the website or calling the support line. Other methods of communication for assistance include email, online chat systems and social media. Management should choose methods to best fit the structure of the company’s service department. Once the tools are implemented, management should designate employees to monitor those systems for increased efficiency and shorter response times. 

Analyze and Adapt

Another way to increase efficiency is to analyze feedback. Impac helps its customers by offering account and risk management. Representatives monitor transactions on a company’s fuel cards and notifies management about unauthorized purchases. Impac’s customer service representatives are equipped to train and inform automotive fleet companies about fuel card implementation. As Impac representatives update fleets in real-time, companies can handle issues in a timely manner. 

In the next article of our series, “Impac’s Customer Service: Tracking Relationships”, you can discover how Impac tracks and maintains relationships with customer service.