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Small changes can net profits from fleets

Small changes and a shift in perception could be all it takes for franchised dealers to net substantial business from fleets, according to Simon English, managing director of Fleet Assist.

Fleet Assist provides leasing companies with a managed network of both independent and franchised repairers to fulfil service, maintenance and repair work for their fleets. With 80 per cent of the company’s work already finding its way to the franchised network, many are already taking advantage of the opportunity.

However, English is quick to point out benefitting from fleet business does require a different mindset to which some in the franchised network are likely to find difficulty adjusting.

English will share the tips and realities of netting fleet business when he speaks at AM’s Aftersales Conference at the Hilton Hotel, located in the complex of the newly opened national football training centre St George’s Park in Burton on Trent, East Midlands on April 24, 2013.

English said: “When you think of how many stakeholders there are in the fleet chain – driver, fleet manager, end user and leasing company, it’s not surprising many dealers struggle to manage all these interested parties for each job.”

However, those who do can often attract a high level of fleet business but English warns it should not be considered as a ‘given’ and aftersales managers and their management team need to accept discounts need to be provided along with assurances to turn the work around quickly.

Added English: “It’s a question of knowing your customer and understanding the platforms from which they operate while delivering the service they require.

“The independents are generally very adept at delivering this – it’s often the owner that deals with the customer side, it’s their only business so the continuation of a certain standard of service and workmanship is assured.

"With the franchised sector this level of service often comes down to one person such as a service manager and if that person leaves to take up another post, sometimes the service can diminish. Fleets want consistency and while manufacturers can’t guarantee this “franchise wide” those repairers that want to, can; and being consistent with all stakeholders will inevitably bring increased volumes."

English maintains that while dealers need to ensure certain criteria are in place to attract fleet business, the fundamentals of maintaining that work, as well as attracting more, are simple.

He said: “As long as dealers treat the fleet customer in the same way they would a retail customer whilst adhering to fleet processes, fleet business can form a vital part of the aftersales department’s turnover.

“There’s no denying the average invoice for a fleet customer is going to be lower once reduced labour rates and parts discounts have been factored in but it is important for dealers to have that mix, especially as around half of new registrations are fleet and the majority of a franchised dealer’s aftersales business comes from vehicles under four-years-old; it is complete madness to ignore such a substantial segment of the market.”

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale. To book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468289, email nicola.baxter@bauermedia.co.uk or visit www.aftersalesconference.co.uk

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