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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.

How Limits - Impac - March14

Mitigating Fleet Risk: How to Set Fuel Card Limits

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Setting fuel card limits can increase business productivity and help mitigate fleet risk. The automotive fleet industry benefits from implementing company regulations on driver purchases. Below are steps to choosing and setting up fuel card limits to best fit a company’s needs.

Determine How to Assign the Fuel Cards

A company can either assign the fleet card to an individual driver or to a vehicle. If employees drive different vehicles each day or a company has high turnover rates, it might be best to assign fuel cards to a vehicle. To do this effectively, the company should assign each employee a unique pin number usable on every company card. This identifies what driver fueled the vehicle registered to the card.

If an employee drives the same vehicle daily, it is best to assign the fuel card to the driver. Assigning the fuel card to a driver allows management to easily monitor spending habits of employees.

Setting Up Fuel Card Controls

Making sure a fuel card has limits set in place keeps drivers from making unnecessary purchases and expenditures. A company can enforce limits to restrict suspicious activity but still allow drivers to travel efficiently.

First, ensure the fuel card is only able to purchase fuel. This keeps employees from purchasing convenience store items with company money. 

Other basic fueling controls include gallon or dollar limits per transaction, time of day or day of week, limits number of transactions per day and fuel type. Controls should reflect the needs of a company, giving management to impose stricter or relaxed limits based on employee spending habits.

It is important to note the controls are tied to the driver, regardless of if the card is attached to the driver or vehicle. Management is responsible for enrolling all drivers in the program with correct controls to mitigate risk.  

Get Access to Purchase Information

How is the Fleet Industry Changing in the New Year?-Impac

Purchase alerts allow a company to stay updated with a driver’s spending. These alerts send notifications if a driver attempts to make an unauthorized purchase. For example, if a driver tries to purchase more gallons than assigned, Impac’s customer service team notifies management with text and email alerts.

Being able to monitor all purchases online is also crucial. This allows a company to check spending in real time, taking action to increase productivity and cut unnecessary costs. 

The Bottom Line

Fuels cards are an easy and effective way to mitigate risks associated with money. At Impac, our comprehensive fuel card program offers customizable limits for fleet companies and notifies managers of unauthorized behavior. Impac’s customer service team helps determine ideal limits of individual companies and customizes restrictions based on need. 

In the next article of our series, “How to Run an Efficient Customer Service Department”, you can discover how to implement strategies within the customer service department to increase efficiency. 

Safety Programs for a Better Fleet - Impac

Safety Programs for a Better Fleet

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Establishing an effective safety program is key to ensuring the protection of all drivers, vehicles and assets within a fleet company.

Because safety is an ongoing effort in the fleet industry, there is always a reason to improve company safety programs to reduce driver accidents while increasing overall fleet productivity and efficiency. 

Safety Programs for a Better Fleet - Impac Fleet

Solidify the Policy

For every safety program, there is a well-established policy put into place that lays the groundwork for enhanced fleet management. Fleet owners must create a clear policy as to what is expected behavior from their fleet drivers. With that being said, manager-to-employee communication is of upmost importance when attempting to improve safety programs. 

Stay Active

When it comes to safety programs, it is important for fleet drivers to consistently review and analyze all company policies and documents pertaining to safety. Fleet policies should never remain static. The fleet policy in place needs to stay up-to-date to address new safety challenges as the years move forward. 

Using Technology 

Safety Programs for a Better Fleet - Impac Fleet

Today, fleet safety programs have been transformed through innovative technology. Technologies can be used to review driver performance, such as fleet fuel cards and GPS tracking and reporting systems. When fleet owners use telematics data to monitor their drivers and provide feedback, improved safety programs become a dual effort.

Unfortunately, accidents will happen in the industry. However, a company can reduce their number of preventable accidents to reduce their largest exposure. 

Impac offers a fleet fuel card program, and GPS tracking and reporting system aimed to all-around improve the safety programs of fleet companies, small or large. 

If you’re looking to take your fleet to the next level of safety, contact Impac today. 

Fleet Management Explained-Impac

Fleet Management Explained

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Fleet Management Explained-ImpacFor a fleet manager new to the industry or looking to expand their current services, understanding the ins and outs of fleet management is the first step in optimizing costs, risks and efficiency within fleet operations.

Many fleet organizations rely on fleet management tactics–typically serviced by the fleet manager–to control company costs, maximize profitability, and mitigate risks of their fleet vehicles. Here a few ways effective fleet management can influence the overall success rate of the fleet:

Vehicle Safety – To reduce distracted driving and decrease the amount of injury claims within a fleet, implementing a reliable GPS system tool can provide safe road routing and signs of needed vehicle maintenance.

Operational Efficiency – When it comes to vehicle and asset utilization, GPS tracking systems as an effective management tool. Fleet businesses are able then to know when a truck arrives at its destination.

Driver Regulation – Implementing a GPS tracking and report system into daily operations can detect unauthorized driver behavior like vehicle idling. Fleet Management Explained-Impac

Fuel Management – Fleet managers can help eliminate drivers from abusing company fuel spend through fuel fleet cards. These cards can be integrated with GPS systems to match fuel purchases with real-time vehicle locations–verifying fuel usage.

Impac offers both a comprehensive fleet fuel card program and a cost-effective GPS tracking solution to allow improved fleet management within companies of any size in the industry.

At Impac, our fleet cards provide online system access and purchase controls to prevent criminal behaviors like fuel theft. In addition, these cards will save time wasted on rummaging through purchase receipts–ultimately allowing a shift of focus to company profitability. Our GPS systems are convenient through its web-based software that offers real-time tracking for both in-vehicle hardware as well as handheld devices of all kinds.

Call us today to learn more about how we can improve your fleet management.