Reducing vehicles by sharing can save tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but don't underestimate the impact of customer service on the bottom line, too. Mike Hardesty, former fleet manager for Indiana University, agrees. “Personally I don’t purchase a product or service without the expectation of great customer service. If I have an issue and feel as though the organization or business doesn’t really care about me as a customer, I will find an alternative. I brought that attitude to managing a motor pool. Even though the customers are internal to the organization, they have every right to expect great customer service. We never operated a monopoly. Our daily rental customers always had choices. I have found most universities like to encourage behavior instead of mandating behavior particularly with support services like the motor pool. Our customers could drive their own vehicle and receive a reimbursement (usually at a higher cost to the department) or rent from any of the commercial rental agencies in town.”
Hardesty said he kept his customers coming back by providing similar or better- equipped vehicles, maintaining a cost advantage, and providing great customer service. Even when vehicles weren’t similar, but close enough, costs were lower. Indiana University has excelled at customer service, making renting a vehicle at the motor pool an easy and a pleasurable experience.
A good FMIS will have a customer feedback tool that enables the shared vehicle fleet to keep a pulse on customer service. Unique to the FleetCommander motor pool solution is a handy customer satisfaction tool that enables motor pool managers to collect customer service feedback regularly. The customer satisfaction widget on the motor pool dashboard displays satisfaction levels at all times. If there’s an issue, you’ll know quickly so you can address it. You can run reports to see how you are doing in important areas such as reliability, promptness, comfort, cleanliness, and more. Free-form fields enable drivers to offer specific comments for more in-depth assessments.
Hardesty said his fleet used the feedback tool within the FleetCommander system to always allow customers to provide feedback, and then immediately responded to any negative feedback. All feedback was shared with upper management. The transparency was appreciated by all stakeholders. The consistent positive customer feedback was great for helping the University’s management teams understand the “above-and-beyond” service that was being provided by fleet staff. Everyone can understand the metrics.
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