Three Ways Fleets Can Be More Competitive in the New Era of Hired Drivers
By: Miles Paschini
The on-demand car industry is booming, with companies like Uber and Lyft competing with traditional cab, car service and limo companies – and each other – for passengers and even drivers. In a day and age where ordinary car owners can double as part-time drivers at night, and mobile apps are changing the way people get a ride, it has become increasingly important for fleet owners to find innovative ways to remain competitive. Here are three ways to remain relevant in this competitive market.
- Update payments processes to streamline internal operations: Many fleets have more than 100 cars, so it can be costly and inefficient for a company to pay drivers through manual paper processes. Updating to a corporate payments program with a prepaid card is a good alternative to paper checks, saving the company time and money. By paying drivers on a prepaid card, fleet owners can also save themselves the expense and hassle of fraud and theft that is associated with manual payments.
- Maintain and increase driver retention: Drivers are the lifeblood of the fleet business, and turnover is time consuming, costly, and just bad for business. There are many ways to improve driver satisfaction and retention, including:
- Treat drivers as the valuable asset that they are. You know you can’t afford to lose drivers, but are you really making the most of what they have to offer? Drivers have their finger on the pulse of your market. They are, quite literally, closer to the customer than anyone else in your organization. Think of all of the things they see and hear in a given day. Think of the trends they see unfolding on the street before it starts to show up in your business results. What are you doing with all these valuable insights? Give your drivers the opportunity to provide regular feedback on what they see in the market, encourage them to suggest and road test new technologies, processes and solutions, and keep your fleet ahead of the competition.
- Just as it’s important to receive quick payment turnaround from terminal companies, a better payments experience is essential for drivers. One of the most effective methods also saves the fleet owner time and money: stop paying drivers with paper checks or ACH deposits, both of which require more manual processes and expense than necessary. Instead, offer drivers a prepaid card that allows them to get paid instantly and gives them the ability to manage their account online or via mobile app. Drivers no longer have to pick up their check, deal with costly check-cashing services, or carry cash.
- Include drivers in your customer service and operations strategies. If drivers have to jump through hoops to get things done, for themselves or for your customers, they are far less likely to deliver the excellent customer experience you count on. Remember that all operational and service changes, even if they are designed to be improvements, can impact drivers and ultimately your customers negatively. Communication and training programs are key to ensure that drivers can easily prepare for and manage changes as they occur. Ensuring a smooth transition reduces driver distractions, complaints and customer service issues.
- Integrate new and existing technology for customers: Customers are using technology to find and select a car service, drivers use smart phones to communicate with you and, well pretty much everyone else, and most fleet companies are already using digital terminals to manage some elements of the operation.